Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend buzz

Made good use of the long weekend starting with a sheep-to-shawl competition at the Sacramento County Fair on Saturday.

The fair had a lot of cute critters including these goats:

We were stationed next to this unlucky sheep who despite the dye job, still had faith in humanity and gamely greeted all the excited kids.
In a sheep-to-shawl contest, a team starts out with a warped loom and a sheep fleece. In this case, we were sent the fleece ahead of time so we could wash and dye it. Once the starting bell rang, we carded the fleece into rolags, spun it into yarn and wove it into a shawl. The team consisted of three spinners, a plyer (combines two single yarn plies into a double ply yarn), a weaver and a gofer. I was one of the spinners. The goal is to finish a shawl in five hours. Our team has been pushing the limits of the contest for a while, not only trying to finish a shawl, but trying to make more and more complex, fine and beautiful shawls within the time alotted.

Me madly spinning on a borrowed Lendrum, probably one of the best wheels out there...at least three people on the team have Lendrums. My wheel is a Kromski; I love it and the company that imports them is wonderful, but since I have a saxony wheel, it's not very portable.

Working on the loom with plying in the background
Frantically working on the fringe.

More finishing work. We cut it too close and didn't turn the shawl in until 3 minutes after time. We didn't have time to twist the fringes, though that could be done later. The warp was handspun suri alpaca, which has a lovely drape and nice soft feel but is much less elastic and less forgiving than wool. The pattern alternated plain weave with areas of huck lace, so it was much more complicated than previous shawls and the weaver had trouble with the warp. We finished third out of three but were proud of our effort. The other two shawls were lovely and technically perfect, but much less complex. Overall, much fun.

Monday, Aaron and I took advantage of the long weekend by going out to the Palisades in Napa Valley for a hike. The weather was beautiful, having finally cooled down, but not being too cold. We passed through such varied terrain and the poison oak was gorgeous and lush with inviting berries. So far, no one is itchy.

The flowers were blooming:
The saprolite was weathering:The sun was shining, the wind was blowing:
And the view was beautiful:


Shannon said...

Oh man, your posts always make me so desperately pine for California. Still waiting for this house to sell. We'll get there eventually.

The shawl your team turned out looks beautiful, btw!

Mel said...

Love the shawl (and the rainbow sheep!) I am surprised that s2s competitions do not take complexity of the weaving into consideration? Ah well.

The scrubby brush in your mtn pictures makes me want CA, but then I would be giving up the lush green areas that WA has to offer me :)