Thursday, October 23, 2014
RhineBeck! And it Feels More Like Novermber than October.....
I know, I should not complain about the weather, but it has been grey and gloomy and damp ever since I returned from my trip to New York for the Sheep & Wool Festival at Rhinebeck. Wow, this was a festival to be experienced for sure. Huge. It was about a 10 hour drive and the 3 of us managed to chat just about the entire way out and back. We don't all get together often. I chose not to carry my camera into the festival, which I think was a wise decision because inside the buildings it was hard to move without bumping into people. We speculated probably 40,000 people were at the fairgrounds on Saturday. I cannot seem to find any official numbers anywhere, but goodness, it was crowded! We shopped and ate and watched a herding dog demo and tasted wine and cheese and basically wore ourselves out. I had arranged ahead of time to meet a lady from New Hampshire who was selling a loom I wanted to buy and I met her in the parking lot around noon and money and loom changed hands. I am now the proud owner of a 24" Leclerc compact loon with 8 harnesses. Half the weaving size of my rug loom, but twice the number of harnesses which means I can weave more intricate designs. This loom will be kept at the house. So I now have a 4 harness 24" loom for sale. Anyone?
Here is most of my "haul" from the festival. Left to right is merino/tencel spinning fiber, 100% tencel yarn (hoping to be warp for a shawl), a spinning bat which has wool, silk and sparkle. This will be fun because you just pull from the center as you spin and it changes colors. And rug warp. Not pictured is a bottle of Cabernet Franc from a local winery. A personal favorite of mine.
Speaking of rugs, I just took my 2 latest off the loom:
Very pleased with how they came out. I will likely be re-warping the rug loom next week .
This morning, as I was getting ready to come in to the office, Sam was playing chimney sweep on the roof (I can't think of this without hearing Dick Van Dyke singing in my head). It's about time to think of lighting the wood stove and we wanted to be sure there was nothing obstructing the chimney. We had a chimney fire a few years back and don't want to have that again: chimney fire March 2010
I am sure Sam hates being up on that roof more than I hate him being up there!
Sam and I were discussing just yesterday how abundant nuts of all types seem to be this year, walnuts, acorns, hickory nuts, buckeyes, etc. The squirrels are very busy storing them away, but they don't have to look far to find them. I thought I would write a bit about the black walnuts, which are prolific here. The trees are the last to leaf out in spring and the first to lose their leaves in fall it seems.
This year, they are loaded with nuts a bit smaller than a tennis ball and about the same color. The nuts have a thick hull on them that is just full of tannins which will stain everything it touches a yellow brown color. It makes the hulls excellent for natural dyeing, if you desire a brown result. In order to use the walnuts, this hull must be removed, which is very messy, and then the nuts in their shells need to dry for a while. I think I have dried them on a screen in a cool place about 3 weeks. Then comes the hard part. Black walnut shells are extremely hard. I have yet to find an easy way to crack them. Conventional nut-crackers do not work. The best method I have found is a cement sidewalk and a hammer. Then, you have to pick the pieces of nutmeat from the resulting mess of crushed shell. Not fun and very time-consuming. This, along with the fact that black walnuts are much more bitter than English walnuts, is why I really don't bother with them and I leave them to the squirrels.
Upcoming events: Tonight I am hosting the first meeting of the Fiber and Textile Arts Group as part of the Monroe Arts Council. We are hoping this will become a monthly event for anyone who has an interest in any of the fiber and textile arts. We will see how it goes.
Saturday is my 35th high school reunion, for which I will travel over to the western side of the state. Another weekend away from home. But it will be fun to catch up with some old friends and spend some time with Mom.