One does not waste beautiful September days when one lives in Central Oregon. The snow is just around the corner–I make the most of warm autumn days.
For West Coast fiber enthusiasts, attending a premier sheep and wool show often seems out of reach. With high-profile shows such as the Maryland and New York State Sheep and Wool Shows taking place in the east coast, where is a Oregonian spinner and knitter to find the latest information, tools, and fibers in one convenient venue?
Why, it’s at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival!!!
Over the past few days, there have been many laments–written, spoken…and I imagine somehow even gestured–about getting on with normal life.
Everyone seems at least a little saddened to go back to their normal routines, with the excitement of OFFF behind us all, as nothing but a soon-to-be distant memory.
I can feel all you non-spinners rolling your eyes, but just stop it! It was awesome.
OFFF is also a great way to introduce your nonknitting/spinning loved ones to the craft(s). No cult and deprogramming. But at OFFF?
At OFFF, you may bring the family through the barn and pet all the animals.
You may feed your loved ones brownies and lamb stew while they guard your yarn purchases.
You may have them watch those amazing dogs do their things, herding ducks this year. You may make a detour to Saturday’s Irish Wolfhound Show (which I missed again.)
Thought it’s absolutely nothing to do with spinning or knitting, it’s quite nifty and a good way to get non-spinners to attend.
You may just finish up the day by hearing a non-spinner says That was pretty cool. And, that’s in itself priceless. As is having a second, third and fourth person around to lug your extra purchases, your loved ones really don’t need to know that part until they’re there.
Today started cool enough to wear a sweater for most of the morning. By mid-morning, it poured like a son of a gun here in Canby, complete with thunder!! The wind was fierce. We still had an awesome day though.
Actually, it was phenomenal.
Sunshiny faces and bright smiles to start my day off right!
This year’s featured breed is handy, hardy Gotland sheep, also known as Swedish Fur, Swedish Pelt, Pälsfår. The featured handcraft is spindling.
I got neither as I vowed not to bring home any fleece, spindle, or wheel this time.
OFFF is probably my all-time favorite fiber event, anywhere. They’ve got it all: Animals. Yarn. Classes. Great food. Yes, eating lamb kebabs outside the sheep barn is a little weird. Only a little and you’ll get over it fast. Spinning gear. Books. Weaving notions. You name…it’s here.
One day was enough for my pocketbook, seriously. I was fairly restrained. My friends LeAnn and Nancy were up bright and early this morning for the parking lot fleece sale, which ended up in the barn. I didn’t dare.
My haul is ridiculously tiny this year, but, so was my wallet. Really really pooped from all the jollity at OFFF. Another big success–despite the rain–thanks to everyone that came and made it the super-fun party all weekend long!
This year was a better experience for me than last time.
My feet are tired but not painful and no blisters. My body is exhausted from a combination of walking all morning. I hope all of this even makes sense.
My brain feels like a pile of mashed potatoes right now. My inner knitter (and shopper) has been sufficiently drained!
For those shoppers who crave a flash of color, there were plenty of goods on display.
Abstract Fiber stole the show with this breathtaking display of jewel-toned handpainted roving and knitting yarns,
as well as a line of knitted samples—including this stunning lace shawl on display.
I came home with some qiviut/silk, hand-dyed pygora roving straight from the grower, shetland combed tops spinning fiber, chocolate rainbow alpaca/silk, some hand-painted/dyed bombyx silk roving for spinning, 1000 yards of merino/silk lace yarn, nearly 900 yard of alpaca lace yarn, a couple of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon and a mill ends, a 70-yard (1 ounce) 3-ply hand-spun pygora–all within my budget, and believe it or not I still had some cash in my wallet when I left. The problem now is, I want to drop everything already on the needles and start right in with the new projects. I am doomed. Can anyone here help me with strength of character?
The past few years have seen an explosion in textile and fiber arts publishing, with a corresponding increase in retail and online availability of yarn and fibers for spinners, knitters, and weavers. Yet for true textile enthusiasts, there’s still nothing quite like attending a sheep and wool show.
Seeing the fibers at their source, on the animals themselves—and the progression from raw fleece to prepared rovings, from yarn to finished fabric—brings the magazine and Internet photos to life.
After three days at OFFF, I left with a mind full of new ideas for my textile pursuits and the hope of returning next year with my own creations in hand.
Many thanks to the organizers, volunteers, friends, and all the attendees who gave OFFF such a great sense of community!
I, along with so many other OFFFers, left the fairgrounds having had a mountaintop experience. While it could be disappointing to come down to sea level, I decided to try to live through my first week back in real life in a happier state overall–to remember each day that I learned a lot and am richer for the experience, thus salving the sting of the loss.
I have a few more that will have their own posts, plus a couple of finished fun knits, in coming days. For now, that’s the wrap, folks. Sorry I didn’t get more pictures of the whole festival…hope it gives you a bit of an idea of what went on. So awesome to see all the people (including below is my friend Katie) out there in spite of the weather! We can’t wait for next year!
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!
(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)