Monday, October 24, 2005

Marvelous SAFF Weekend

What I Bought
SAFF Riches!

What a wonderful weekend we had to travel down to Asheville for SAFF. Chris Morgan of Woolybuns came in Friday evening bringing a handsome senior buck. Very senior; he's five but looks to be in excellent health and condition. Given the longevity issues I've heard about and seen with Germans, I'm glad to see a fellow this old still going strong. When the sun comes out I'm going to try him with a couple of does, just in case he has a rough time with the winter. I plan to seriously coddle him, though!

After a nice dinner at the local nice restaurant, Chris and I sat up awhile and caught up with bunny news, family news and shared interests. Then we were up early, for more talking and then packing up to head south for our fibery adventure. The day was bright, clear and cool, totally different from the forecasted rain. We had a lovely trip that flew by in such good company, and when we reached the festival we were ready to shop until the billfolds were crying for mercy. Our first visit was to Mary Ellen of ISeeSpots Farm. She always has a great selection and since she's a former bunny lady that was wonderfully helpful to me when I was starting out, it's always a pleasure to visit with her. She is always very busy in her booth; she does a super job with selecting good merchandise. I replaced my broken ball winder, the third since I started with fiber. I also bought a Brittany crochet hook and a nice box of crochet patterns for scarves and hats. It's always nice to learn some new techniques and ideas, and my crochet skills are a bit dated, I think.

Walking around the vendors once again reminded me how many wonderfully talented people there are in the fiber world. Felting seemed to be big this year, with lovely scarves, hats, vests and other items done in many beautiful techniques. Chris is a big felter; I'm not so keen. Although after seeing such marvelous work I'm tempted to join in!

I think our next buying stop was at Rising Meadow Farm. I had two goals when I went down to SAFF. I needed to replace the ball winder and I wanted a light gray fleece to blend with my black angora for a mill-spun yarn. Last year Chris and I split a wonderful moorit fleece from this vendor and I was happy to see a lovely gray Corriedale fleece that looked exactly like it would suit my purposes. So Marian's fleece came home with me, seven pounds of lovely gray wool. I've already washed a little and handcarded it with my angora; have to spin it up to see how I like the color. It looks great so far.

I don't remember the vendor where I picked up the two prettiest dyed silk caps I've seen in awhile. But I do remember the amazing display of gorgeous yarns at Brooks Farm. Every color and combination was absolutely beautiful in a selection to delight the eye and charm the hand with wonderful softness. I had to buy three skeins, although I knew that I did NOT need more yarn.

My First Knitting
My First Knitting

In the meantime, of course, Chris had been shopping as well, and just as hard right beside me. We made several trips to the car and finally stopped for lunch. Then Chris decided to fulfill my long-expressed wish and teach me to knit. And SHE DID IT. Before half an hour went by I was actually making stitches with the lovely Brooks Farm yarn that looked like knitting. Chris is an excellent teacher; she can get right to the point you need to know and makes everything so clear. I tried knitting along off and on all weekend, going astray several times. But Chris patiently corrected my messes and got me back on track with a minimum of frustration. On my side, at least! We went back down to show the Brooks Farm vendor my accomplishment; she really seemed thrilled for me!

Believe it or not, I think that was everything I bought the first day. It only took a couple of hours to strain my pocketbook's resources. And I already have so much stuff in my stash; I was trying to be conservative and only buy what I really needed for the fiber business. But it was tough to by-pass so many tempting goodies as we made our way down to see Elaina of Avillion Farm. It was fun to visit with Elaina and Joy, her friend that shares a booth with her each year at SAFF. They had some beautiful rabbits for sale and other items from the farms. Elaina is a delightfully knowledgable young woman who knows a lot about the medical side of raising rabbits. I learn something from her each time we visit. While we were chatting Cathy Robinson of Perfect Spot Farm came by and it was terrific to catch up with her news as well. Cathy also raises German Angora along with lovely Jacob sheep. I have a couple of wonderful fleeces from her now and keep thinking about more! Cathy is very busy with family and farm and I don't see nearly as much of her as I would like.

We made arrangements to meet Elaina and Joy for dinner and kept wandering through the festival, looking at all the wonderful merchandise and encouraging each other not to buy too much. The hours flew by and things started winding down at the end, but we made one more stop at the booth of a young couple that we had met the year before. They make and sell wonderful crochet hooks. I had purchased one last year and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Keep watching my sidebar; when their site is finally up there will be a link to Hooked on Needles. They had wonderful knitting needles, too. I'm eyeing them in case my knitting skills ever warrant good tools!

We stopped in at the Felters' Guild meeting, to be impressed with more wonderful creativity and skill. There were glorious felted dolls, scarves, an amazing leather bag that was somehow felted, and many more beautiful pieces. Chris had to try to get us in trouble playing with some charming little felted bowls, making alternate suggestions for their use that might have suited Madonna. Or Wonder Woman!

Knitting at SAFF
Knitting at Day's Inn

We had a wonderful dinner with Elaina and Joy, catching up on bunny news, discussing bunny issues and personalities and just enjoying good company. After a full day of festival, though, we all were soon ready to retreat to warm motel rooms to relax. Elaina wanted to try out her new electric spinner and Chris and I were ready to do some knitting. I started a shawl under Chris's tutelage and she started working on one of her own. At least, that was the plan. A snarled skein of yarn soon changed the situation.

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and we headed back to SAFF, mainly with the intention of purchasing a swift for Chris. The first person we saw when we came in that we knew was Connie Delameter of Delly's Delight Farm. She's another bunny lady, of course, and it was wonderful to see her and share some stories. She had to dash but we caught up with her in her booth a little later. I had to have some gorgeous painted mohair roving in green and crimson from her. I swear that was my last purchase! One of my best bucks is Connie's breeding, and a lot of my good stock comes from her lines. It's always a treat to be able to visit with her. She's always very busy, too; someday we'll just have to all get together somehow so we can really talk!

Home again under sunny skies; a nice trip that seemed short with all the ideas our heads were filled with and all the lovely fiber to look forward to playing with. We got back early enough to tend to the rabbits and visit Sue in the craft tent to see how her day went. My mom and Wendell were visiting as well so we had a nice time catching up on things and Chris was able to meet the family. Sue had some beautiful new gourd pieces to admire. While we were there an old friend came by and ordered a shawl from me.

I thought Chris needed to experience Pancake Days, so we headed down to the community building for dinner. The line was short and it wasn't long before we were served with buttermilk pancakes, sausage and gravy. (I can't do the gravy but I wish I could!) Lots of old friends were there working or eating, so I was able to introduce Chris to a couple of people. Hopefully she will be back to do a felting workshop; the community building would be great if we can't get something put together at the farm before then.

Getting Silly
A Real Silk Cap

Late evening we settled in to knit; with me making more mistakes than correct stitches. So I switched over to crochet, figuring that I was tired and needed a break. Or it may be that I'm just an idiot at knitting. We were getting tired and a little silly; Chris put one of my silk caps on her head. You can see her pretty knitting on her lap; mine wound up frogged back almost to the beginning!

Chris left this morning under cloudy skies ahead of the possibility of rain from the hurricane. She was nice enough to offer to take a bunny back to a buyer in New York, so a German doe is along for the ride. It seems lonesome here right now; Chris is great company and we have such a good time.

house 019
Lily in her Space

Lily was so glad to see me when I went to the kennel this morning. She had to rush into the house to make sure everything was OK when we got home. Very important to make sure all the toys were there and no one had played with them!

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