Monday, October 29, 2007


Originally, I had hoped to entitle this post "Sheep To Shawl," because that's what I participated in at SAFF this year. The WNCF/H Guild hosted a Sheep to Shawl demonstration again, and this year was the first time I took part. My plan was to take photos of every step in the process, and post them in this blog post. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out that way, mostly because the crowds were so huge that good photographic opportunities were difficult (for this amateur photographer anyway.)

I started by trying to get a pic of the shearing demo, but due to the crowds I couldn't get close enough and at a good enough angle for a good shot. Then too, the area we had to spin and weave in, was long and narrow; the long part running from the public area to a door in back. That meant that it wasn't easy to set up the spinning wheels in any orderly fashion, especially as the ground wasn't level. We were set up in a crowded, hodge podge arrangement, and with the steady stream of curious onlookers, I never could figure out how to get some good shots.

I did have fun though. Besides the shearing demo, there was a fleece skirting demonstration. We had a good number of volunteers carding and spinning. We spun worsted weight singles, which were immediately wound off onto weaving bobbins. Our weaver used these as weft on a pre-warped loom, to weave a lovely shawl. No photos of that either, *sigh*.

What I can show you however, are the goodies that followed me home. Unfortunately, this won't be your typical fiber fair eye candy, as I had decided that fiber and yarn weren't at the top of my list. Consequently, my purchases are visually boring, but very useful.

Any type of fiber is usually a temptation for me, but I decided to close my eyes to all of it and focus on some items that I didn't want to have to mail order later, and pay shipping on. I used to do a lot of mail order shopping, but as shipping costs have gone up, my mail ordering has gone down. Fiberwise however, I couldn't resist this package of silk hankies.

A stack of silk hankies purchased at SAFFI had so much fun knitting them, that I wanted to dye some of my own and do that again. Or maybe try weaving with them.

What I mainly wanted to focus on were dye supplies. I have done very little dyeing these past two years, but now with the prospect of moving to a larger place where I can have room to set up and get outdoors, I want to get back into dyeing.

Dye suppliesThe tall bottle on the back right is supposed to be Synthrapol. It isn't. It's Retayne, which isn't the same thing. I just noticed this when I set up for the photo! Grrrr. Don't ya just love it when someone shelves an odd bottle without watching where they're putting it. *sigh*

The other items include a few Cushings dyes, a pound of alum, 4 ounces of cream of tartar, and a Procion Starter Set from Earth Guild. I got the Procion kit because I want to experiment painting some cotton warps. All my dye experience has been with wool and silk, so this will be something new for me.

RBS front with buttonsThe other thing I looked for and found, was buttons for my Rare Breed Sweater, which I was unable to find locally. This project has been set aside since last April, when I completed everything but the neck and front bands. I knitted the neck band last week, but had to wait until I got some buttons before I could knit the front bands.

I don't know why, but I always agonize over choosing buttons. I had something sheepy in mind, but wasn't able to find anything with this theme that I really liked. I know that buttons can either compliment or distract from a finished project, so I am usually hesitant when it comes to fancy buttons. Most of the time I opt for something plain, just to be safe. I really liked these however .....

Close-up of buttonWhat do you think? Are they a good choice for this sweater? Knitting on the button bands will commence soon.

So that's it. That's the SAFF report. It was a fun day with beautiful weather and good friends. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.


  1. Do you know where I can find out how many "Sheep to Shawl" events there are every year? Is there some sort of directory? Just thinking...

  2. You do sound to have had a good time at SAFF! I actually got to go a few years ago, the last time SOAR was at Junalusks, and I thought it was a super event. Lots going on, and definitely some good vendors.
    I look forward to seeing the paionted warps.

  3. I love the buttons, very nice pieces of art in there own right. I think your sweater will only be enhanced by them. I can't wait to see what you dye and how is turns out.

  4. I like the buttons by themselves but I think they are too busy for the sweater.

  5. Nice buttons! I think they will go-with great. I know exactly what you mean about finding the perfect button.

    I can't wait to see the sweater modeled!

    And better yet - your SAFF stuff.

  6. Well, I appreciate all the feedback. I'm still indecisive as to the color/pattern of the bands.

    Bonnie, that's a good question. It seems to me that most of the big fiber events have one, but I wouldn't have a clue as to whether or not there is any type of directory for them. My best guess would be Spin-Off Magazine, which always has a calendar of events toward the back of each issue.

  7. I think the buttons add a nice touch. Their color complements the wool well!

  8. I think the buttons go well with your knitting - and if you do find some nice "sheepy" ones later - you can always take them off and exchange! there are some fun buttons in sheep form available from injabulo (ceramic), but I think they'd stand out too much from your knitting. and I have the same problem very soon - off to dublin to a knit&stitch show... it's probably for the best that not much fibre is around for spinners - but I have no trouble overspending on other things or books either:))

  9. I agree with Bettina about the buttons - and I too am off to the Dublin K&S Show - hoping to meet up with Bettina. We'll keep an eye out for alternative buttons but I think the ones you've found look very good.

  10. That sounds like a wonderful time. And those buttons? Beautiful! They will go perfectly.

    I found synthrapol at, of all places, Michaels! I was glad to know that I didn't have to order it. However, this does not take the pain out of buying something that wasn't what it was supposed to be...

  11. i love the buttons. the pewter colortone brings out the grey in the sheepies perfectly!

    i can't wait see how the hankies turn out.

  12. I agree with the high shipping rates. Some times more than the purchas price. Great choices. I still have a pile of silk hankies, a couple of bricks and rovings I bought years ago. Stored properly they last for a very long time.
    Buttons are perfect. And again best bought when you can hold them in your hand for the weight and see them yourself.

  13. I really like the buttons - they're neutral. I think something sheepy would compete with the patterns in the knitting. I was in a sheep to shawl in Grass Valley one hot summer a couple of years ago and the building wasn't air conditioned. A member on one of the teams passed out and the paramedics were called, yet the rest of the team just kept going with the competition, working around the EMTs - crazy.

  14. Oh I wish I could have watched you participate in the Sheep to Shawl!
    It sounds as if it must have been fun. And I would have been in the front row for the fleece skirting demo!

    I love the buttons.

  15. I think the buttons are perfect! Leigh, you are going to have such a beautiful sweater to wear this winter! :)


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