Sunday, April 19, 2015

Smoky Mountain Fiber Art Festival

Last summer (while still living in California), my mama and I went on a girl date to a fiber festival near Oceanside that had the most wonderful assortment of fibers and yarn and spindles and wheels and accessories for all your fiber art needs, I was in heaven!

There we ran into vendors that moved to California from Knoxville (where we live now) and told me that here (Knoxville) they have many fiber festivals, some big and some small... as this kind of craft is a huge deal in East Tennessee! I was going to be surrounded by "my people"! Woohoo!

 I've been waiting for this weekend to come since last summer... at last... it came!!!

 The festival was south of us about an hour, and the drive there was absolutely breathtaking! So much bright green and flowers blooming, I felt as if I died and gone to heaven! Though I could do without the humidity... my hair became my mane! No worries, I was going on a fun trip!

 My beloved came with me, he and I are inseparable,  we are best friends and love to do things together!!! The deal was that I drive as he sleeps as he has an odd work schedule, but I didn't mind at all!

I am my beloved and my beloved is mine!

 Arriving to the festival, it was in a little town called Townsend which was pretty much at the feet of the Smoky Mountains! When we got there, I felt like I was somewhere in Rivendale or the Shire from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy! I was off on an adventure... One Spinning Wheel to rule them all...  Ha Ha!

one of the cabins in townsend that the vendors used to show off their items!

The festival was surprisingly small, but had top quality vendors with their assortment of goodies to sell! The festival was set in the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, The Heritage Center is home to 13 historic buildings that have been furnished according to the period in which they were built. Including a wheelwright shop, a set-off house, cantilever barns, log cabins, a smokehouse, and even an outhouse!

Some of the vendors had tents outside and some set up shop in one of the cabins! It was so rustic and quaint that one of the cabins had an old mattress made out of feathers! 

Inside one of the cabins! So charming!

 My favorite part of the whole festival was seeing the sheep and alpaca from a local sheep farmer! Dustin and my dream is to have a small homestead and have sheep one day. So seeing them there, my husband had to go and have a chat with him! 

He had angora sheep, a ewe and her little lamb and a rare breed that he is breeding and conserving called Romeldale. So far this is what I learned about them that I find fascinating! - The Romedale  is an American fine wool breed, and the California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, is its multi-colored derivative. Both the CVM and the Romeldale are unique to the United States and are endangered. This group of Romney-Rambouillet crosses were bred for several years and selected for both wool and meat quality. The CVM and Romeldale sheep have never been numerous, and today they are quite rare.The breed’s fleece quality and performance characteristics, however, make them useful for many production systems and valuable to handspinners and other fiber artists.

Two brown sheep are the Romeldale's and a ewe with her lamb!

 My husband had a good discussion about the breed of sheep and other information and the sheep farmer gave dustin his card for future questions/information, which we are excited about! Slowly we are figuring out what kind of sheep would be suitable for us to raise! The fun part is the journey to the destination, don't you think?

My hottie-hot-hottie!

 It was a wonderful day, and the weather was nice, though it was humid there was awesome cloud cover! I was inspired by all that I have seen and learned quite a lot of different techniques and dyes and how others created their own small businesses! So much to do and so little time! 

A mama and her baby!

My husband talking about this shepherd's sheep

a HUGE dog keeping watch over his charge.

Angora sheep... that face. Ha Ha!

Angora Rabbit, i've seen spinners place these gentle rabbits on their lap and spin it's fur into yarn directly off the rabbit (when the rabbit is shedding), how cool!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finally mastering the Drop Spindle!!!!

I absolutely LOVE my Kiwi spinning wheel, I love the feeling of pedaling and hearing the soft "whir" it omits when I spin, and feeling the fiber drafting from my fingers onto the flyer... and another thing I love about it, is how fast I can spin the yarn and ply it!

But sometimes, I'd rather spin in a way I can move around my home or I can take my fiber to a local coffee shop or at barnes and noble (as my husband is studying), but bringing my spinning wheel would be not only difficult but would look rather silly! So what is a girl to do?

 A drop spindle is such a simply little thing, isn't it? All it has is a hook attached to the shaft with a whorl! I can put into my purse wherever I go and when I feel like spinning, I just whip it out with the small amount of fiber and begin to spin! Even in our vehicle when we are driving long distance!

One thing I just could not master with the drop spindle was allowing it drop in the air while spinning and drafting at the same time! Each time I practiced, it would stop spinning, or begin to spin backwards, or the fiber would break completely!

But finally! After practicing more, I have now mastered not just standing while spinning on my drop spindle, but I can walk around the house while it is spinning!

When I finally got it right, I was so tense!!!! I was so excited that I was finally doing it, that I didn't want to break my rhythm by breathing! Ha ha!

After relaxing (a little), I asked my hubby to record me actually doing it! I look a bit tense (as I just finally mastered it) but please... rejoice with me... I did it!!!!!

Sorry for the bad hair and lack of makeup! It was a lazy day at home with the husband, and wanted him to quickly video tape it while I still had it! Ha Ha!