Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oil's well that ends well.

The oil that came with my spinning wheel ran out. I had to use a lot, because she always started squeaking after each hour of yarn creation. Matt talked me into using Triflon, a firearm oil that contains Teflon. HOLY COW is that wheel smooth and silent now! Spinners, pick some up at your local gun shop.

While we're on the topic, avocado oil is fantastic for massage and other personal uses. Like other oils, it's not compatible with latex, but it leaves your skin feeling wonderful and even works under water. Find it in the salad dressing / olive oil section of your high-end gourmet grocery stores.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

2006 Black Sheep Gathering = Girl Heaven

For you non-fiberaddicts, the Black Sheep Gathering is an annual festival in Eugene, OR for farmers (with goats, rabbits, alpacas, and of course sheep), people who turn raw fleeces into carded roving, dyers, spinners, weavers, knitters, and all the folks who sell our toys (wheels, looms, etc). There are tons of animals and vendors, and it's downright easy to find something you can't live without at every single table.

This year I drove Wendolene (living up to her yarn-shop proprietess namesake) and filled her with eager fiber artists Holly, AJ, Joy, and Amy. Amanda and Alex had to back out at the last minute, which was fortunate since we filled every cubic centimeter with our purchases! Pictured are my finds: The only sheep wool I got was 6 oz of Wensleydale in dark mallard green, brown and a tremendous glowing copper. It seemed to be the year for mohair: Those are the curly locks, and they come from Angora goats. I bought silver-gray, cobalt blue, and a watery mix of blue and green that actually matches the other blue beautifully. The seller tossed in some of that deep scarlet and the buff colored roving (that's what mohair looks like when carded). I'll dye the buff and maybe the silver. The black is teenage alpaca and is SOOOOOO soft. I also got a little white silk. Overall, a nice mix of textures and colors to play with. I'm expecting some white bunny Angora from an Internet friend, so I have to figure out what fibers I want to pair up before I start dyeing.

AJ, being a smart crocheter, chose some roving that I'll spin for her. It's a win-win: She gets cheap yarn and I get to spin more without having to pay for it. She selected a cherry mohair and black merino that I'll blend into a varigated blood red two-ply. Add all this to the spinning I'll be doing for Heather, and you've got a very happy Needlegirl. I'm not even jealous of the portable wheel Holly bought. Okay, I am. But at least I didn't buy that gray Angora bunny boy with the black face and ears. He was adorable, and only $20. I am the queen of willpower!

Other highlights of the trip: Visiting Weaving Works in Seattle with Amanda. Harvesting lavender with Holly (grown in her back yard). Giggling at the Wallace & Gromit movies yet again, and enjoying my friends' first exposure to them. Getting a foot rub from AJ. Having a cold shower after a blistering drive through record-setting temps ... with the heater on to keep the old diesel cool. Holly gleefully shouting "I've got crabs!" Best: Having my dream car filled with girlfriends whooping and laughing on the way to Spinner Heaven. I love my life!

"You keep doing what you're doing - I'll get the firecrackers!"

This is Heather. Doesn't she have a wonderful smile?