A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, July 30, 2006


I had been debating for the past six weeks, since going to Estes Park, whether I would brave the heat to make it to Lambtown.. after all, it is the closest fiber festival to my home, kinda in my own backyard, so I really should attend.

However, with the temps in the 115 range last weekend, it was looking doubtful. Then, the heat wave finally broke, and the Lambtown website was promoting that the fair would open at noon on Friday, for the first year (this was the 20th year!). Since I had also been putting off the trip to Sacramento to get a certified copy of my birth certificate (suffice it to say that 2003 laws to protect us from identity theft have made appearing in person to buy one much more practical, and look to see if you have yours stashed somewhere), I jumped at the chance to go and shop for spinning fibers!

Unfortunately, although the organizers had wanted the fair to be open an extra day, they didn't get everyone else in on the program, and most of the animals hadn't arrived, and only about 2/3rds of the vendors... it was enough to keep me entertained for the afternoon, and the temperatures stayed below 100... almost balmy after the previous week and a half.

In order to get spinning fibers, first you must have animals:

Look at the lovely, curly wool on this sweetie!

My favorite breed, the Shetland... they have so much personality.

All of the vendors were housed in a building with huge fans circulating the air... although the light was not all that good:

Got wheels? This big pile was awaiting fancier display by the Carolina Homespun staff, who also consider this their "backyard" fiber fair. They had the space of about three booths , and over the course of the afternoon, put lots and lots on display.

One advantage of the mostly empty vendor building (of shoppers, anyway), was that I got to browse comfortably, without elbowing from competing buyers, and to have some lovely conversations... of course there were disadvantages as well. Renee, of Ren-Con Ranch and my guild, wasn't going to set up until Saturday morning, so we couldn't connect, and I also missed seeing Robin Lynde of Meridian Road Jacobs, who I had camped with last year at Black Sheep Gathering. Darn!

I came upon a wonderful deal - an oak spindle for $5 that came with my own private spinning lesson from Lisa, who I noticed was spinning left-handed! Tomorrow's post will contain the saga of my spinning learning curve and exquisite fiber purchases...

After my bag was loaded to capacity with new treasures, I came upon the spinning competition, about to start. There are six parts, including something called the Triathalon that includes spinning blindfolded for a stretch, then with gloves, and a third way that the contestant I asked couldn't remember. I sat through two of them while working on my Lily of the Valley shawl... This photo is of the long thread competition in progress. The six competitors were given 10 grams of the same prepared Cormo/Angora rabbit crimson roving, and their task was to spin the longest thread over the course of 20 minutes.

Annie, the only spindle entrant, got extra points, and also managed to produce 28 yards; she came in second.

She needed to climb up on a chair for the strategic spinning contest, which provided each contestant with a "mystery" fiber to produce the most, as well as best use, of over a 30 minute period. Annie was adding slubs to hers at very regular intervals; she is my idol.

Annie's dog must attend these events regularly, and knew there would be a wait!

I am hoping to return next year, weather permitting, and to also visit the Dixon fairgrounds September 23rd for the Scottish Games. The weekend before that, from September 15-17, will mark the 9th annual California Wool & Fiber Festival, a part of the Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show, in Boonville. A few vendors told me that this festival, and the Redway one October 1 and 2 at the Mateel Community Center, are both on the small side, but well worth attending if you are nearby, or want to take a fall vacation through the California North Coast and redwoods.

Myself, I will probably have to content myself with waiting until October to go over to the Yolo Wool Mill-In, at the mill in Woodland, about 70 miles from here. Keep ya posted!


Blogger Jennifer said...

It looks like it was small but fun! If it's not too hot, I think I may try to make it next year.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Amy and I went last year. The lamb gyros were great but the heat was horrible. Yolo has potential - Hmmmmm....

4:43 PM  
Blogger margene said...

Love the curly sheepy...so cute and almost cuddley.
Shall we turn into spindle advocates? Once you 'get it' you'll love it and find it comforting, soothing work. It was well worth the trip for you to go. Enjoy your fiber and spinning practice.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Imbrium said...

Looks like a wonderful time!

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Bev said...

Wow Birdsong. It looks like you had fun even though it was still quite hot and not everybody was there yet. I'm happy you got a spindle and I'm looking forward to pictures of you competing with Annie next year. I like Shetlands too.

9:04 AM  
Blogger SheKnits said...

Why? WHy?? WHY??? Did I move from Cali?!!!!!!!!

Oh, yes. To meet the man of my dreams...

Fiber, Man, Fiber, Man... *sighs* There needs to be a Fiber Fair here. I'm jealous of everyone else who gets these things!!

It looks like you had fun though. Cant wait to see progress pics of your shawl!

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Sounds like a great little festival! I prefer smaller gatherings since I don't do crowds real well and can get overwhelmed pretty easy. Plus, often the small ones have smaller businesses that don't make it to the others which can be real fun.

A $5 spindle?? That is a deal! I can't wait to hear more about your spinning!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

It went two days??? Darn. I almost drove straight there from Carmel on Saturday since the weather was so nice, except for, you know, the drive.

Oh rats. I'm gong to be back east when the CA W&F Festival is going on.

Nice pictures! I love the curly wooled one.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Abigale said...

I went on Saturday too - I got there a bit later in the day, so I'm not sure if I was too late for all the competitions or I just didn't notice them! It was a great little festival - really not too crowded, and I came away with some great stuff!

Thanks for posting your report - I totally neglected to get any pics of the shetlands and the angora goats - who were just the most adorable things ever!


2:16 PM  
Blogger SpiderWomanKnits said...

That looks like it was such a lovely fiber filled day :-)

6:14 PM  
Blogger beadlizard said...

My favorite parts of Lambtown, other than seeing friends, are watching the mutton busting and the sheepdog trials. Wish I could have gone this year! Bet I would have done well in the blindfolded spinning contest... --Syl, eager to see your lily shawl.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Becca said...

How cool that you found someone to set your spinning on the right foot, er, hand. Sounds like Lambtown was fun.

I'm going to spend a long weekend at my parents' cabin near Portola (at Lake Davis) in a couple of weeks (8/12-8/14) and I was wondering if you'd want to meet for coffee then. I am destined to get a bit of cabin fever, so I don't mind driving a bit.

7:13 AM  

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