Thursday, September 30, 2010
A Fraternal Reunion, Soakum Festival, Rug Yarn & Loom, New Arrivals
Seeing Double? No, not really. Meet Apollo (in front). He is actually Cheetah's littermate and has a very similar personality. When I told my friends who had given me Cheetah almost 6 years ago about Cheetah's sad diagnoses, they offered to give me another Pyr to help him out and keep him company in his last weeks or months or however long. So, Apollo came to live with us on Monday. They are working out their relationship and seem to be getting along as brothers typically do. Apollo will in time come to mean as much to us in his own way as Cheetah has meant. Welcome to Straightfork, Apollo!
One of my favorite local fall festivals is the Soakum Festival, which is in Caldwell Ohio the last weekend in September. Caldwell was about a 1 day coach ride from Marietta in the old days and so travelers by stage coach were required to overnight there. The name "Soakum" supposedly came from highly inflated liquor prices due to the fact that travelers were at the mercy of the local proprietors and so "Soakum" became the town's nick name.
The Soakum Festival is meant to depict life in the 1800's, so most of the displays and demonstrators are dressed in period costume and using authentic tools of trade of those days. My spinning guild always demonstrates at this festival and we sit on the front porch of a log cabin which was disassembled and moved to the site on the fairgrounds and is now set up as it would have been when it was actually lived in over 100 years ago. It is a great time for us to sit and chat and tell festival attendees about spinning. And of course, since it is a festival, there is lots of food to be tried! This is me above with Bill, another of our guild members.
And to the left, Sally, JoAnn, Bill and Don (who is spinning with a drop spindle). Aren't we cute in our costumes?
Other great demonstrations at this year's festival included blacksmithing, broom-making, cider-pressing, lard-rendering, leather-making (this demonstrator and his wife spent most of the weekend scraping a moose-hide with hand-held tools), and gold-panning, just to name a few. It's just a very well-done festival. I always enjoy attending it.
On Monday, prior to picking up Apollo, I drove up to Apple Creek Ohio, which is in Ohio's Amish country, and picked up my yarns from Morningstar Fiber Mill. This is a small mill which specializes in processing alpaca. I had dropped off about 70 pounds of fiber with them at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in May, 60 pounds for rug yarn and 10 for knitting yarn. Rug yarn is made with the "seconds" or coarser fiber and the knitting yarn is made with the "prime" fiber or the softest, nicest part of the fleece.
The rug yarn is actually twisted round a "core" of twine, to give it extra strength and durability. It also gives it bulk. I am very pleased with the job they did with it. I sent black, grey, browns and white and they did some solid color "bumps" and some multi-colored. Each bump is about 150 yards of yarn and weighs about 3.5 pounds. I can hardly wait to start weaving! My loom still needs some work, although I have it cleaned up and mostly assembled. It is old, but sturdy and functional. It is in the spare room at our office, so maybe I can even get Sam to weave a rug or two!
My knitting yarn is just a natural white 2 ply sport weight and I will be dyeing some of it and selling and knitting with some of it. It is very nice, but that's what I expected since I sent in very nice fleeces.
We have had 2 new arrivals this week. On Monday, one of my boarder's alpacas, Misty gave birth to a gorgeous 20 pound male cria sired by our black herdsire, Oscuro. Misty is grey and this boy seems to have coloring from both parents. He's a looker!
Then, yesterday (Wednesday) while I was at work, Vanilla Latte had a little fawn female cria sired by Eclipse. We've had a lot of Eclipse crias this fall and most are female. Good for him!
So I got some spinning done Sunday afternoon and I have had a little knitting time, but darn little. I did block the sleeve for my sweater I was afraid I was going to have to rip out and re-do and found that it is just about perfect, so once I finish the mitten I am working on (#2 of 2), I will start the second sleeve of my cabled alpaca sweater and hopefully have it done by the time the weather warrants alpaca attire.
I have a busy couple days coming up. Maybe next week I will tell you about the truckload of cats I have to drive to Wheeling WV tomorrow. Yes, I said a truckload of cats! Check back next week!