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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Knitting and Camping

So, no one who knows me thought I was serious when I said I was going to camp at the Michigan Fiber Festival. But serious I was.

My weekend at the Fiber Festival could not have been more different than last weekend at Stitches. Here are a few reasons why:
  • I slept on a 1" "air mattress" instead of a pillow-top King-size bed. (Note to self: buy Aero bed before Wisconsin.)
  • No cell signal.
  • Bugs.
  • Making peanut butter sandwiches in the trunk of my car.
  • More spinners. Weavers, too.

  • Sheep and goats.

  • Sheep herding.

  • Manure.
  • Tractors. (They were running one of the tractor engines all day Saturday--I don't quite know why--and the smell of the oil fumes took me right back to my grandparents' farm. My grandparents had three big tractors and I think at least two were red International Harvesters. My grandma can't drive a car, but she could sure drive a tractor.)

  • Small tufts of sheep fiber blowing around like little, tiny tumbleweeds everywhere.
  • Rain. And the concern that the dead tree I pitched my tent near would come crashing down in the middle of the night. (Note to self: don't do that again.)
  • Staying up past midnight knitting under the pavilion with fellow campers. (Instead of staying up past midnight watching cable tv.)

Being a city girl now (for nearly half my life at this point), it was interesting to go to this Festival and be reminded of so many things from my childhood. It had a county fair quality to it. I met a number of people (including my neighbor from the tent next-door) who had farms and raised their own animals. Lots of really nice, down-to-earth people.

I didn't take any classes (I might consider that the next time I go) but I did attend the dinner and fashion show Saturday night. Instead of tall, leggy models in 5" heels there was a rag-tag band of teenagers, most of whom were related to someone associated with the festival. Instead of stilettoes they wore flip flops and sneakers. Jeans stood in for color-coordinated separates. Make-up? Who needs make-up? This fashion show had its own homespun charm. Oh, and Rick Mondragon was nowhere to be found.

The stash enhancement was somewhat restrained on this trip. (Sorry about the disorganized heap of stuff.)

Briar Rose (who sponsor Cast-On) did cause me to part with some significant funds. (They will be at Wisconsin, too.) I bought yarn to make two of these vests. Some really cute buttons, too. I got a kit and extra materials to make a felted silk scarf. Fun, fun, fun. I was enticed by one of these ladies to get a drop spindle.

It was kind of like the crack dealer who gives you your first hit for free--and then you're hooked. She first taught me how to use a drop spindle using one of hers, and then she went with me to help me buy my own. It was so kind of her to be so generous with her time. (She also gave me her email address in case I have problems.) I bought the blue/green roving with the spindle from Toni of The Fold and another 8 oz. of roving from a guy from Harvest, AL. (I just had to get something from him with my Alabama connections and all.) I picked up a really charming jacket pattern from a woman whose last name is Pufpaff. (I found her name so interesting.) Lastly, I bought my mother's Christmas present: two Santa hooked rug kits. This isn't the rug hooking that uses pre-cut yarn bits; this is the technique that uses strips of woolen fabrics and look like lovely fabric paintings when they are finished. She took a class sometime last year so I think she'll like them. And, it also fits the bill for the annual addition to her extensive and, I might add, really lovely Santa collection. (No motorized, red plush jolly old elves here; most are handmade and quite special.)

Two weekends off, then to Wisconsin. Now I wish I could go to Rhinebeck...

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