a day for showing off

the best way to kick off summer around here has to be a trip to our regional sheep and wool—the great lakes fiber show, which is held every year over memorial day weekend. it’s a small event, but a good one, with a genuine flavor of the area in which we live.

the great lakes region is chock full of fiber producers—someone once told me that ohio has the largest output of alpaca fiber east of the rocky mountains; i’m not sure if that’s still the case, but it has to be close. it is also the biggest wool-producing state east of the mississippi river. in other words it is a knitter’s paradise, heh (i didn’t know all that when we moved here, so go figure).

candy, erica, and i got up early saturday and leaving buddy in david’s capable hands, we drove out to wooster  loaded with patterns to deliver to the knitting notions booth and the briar rose booth, where i had volunteered to help out during the day.

as we zoomed through the buildings on our first pass to get the patterns delivered, we couldn’t help stopping to say hello to kathy from kirkwood farms and get an early look at her delightful booth filled with felted critters; it’s one of my fair favorites for stocking up on gifts for kids and new moms. oh and i might have purchased a couple to put in the guest room upstairs (i’ll show you my fair takeaways in the next post).

in addition to fiber producers, our area is home to a wealth of artisans who work in every imaginable related discipline, from dyeing and weaving to woodworking, pottery, and felting.

 

being mamas themselves, chris and catherine had each prepared a little gift for erica—an adorable hat from chris in nate’s sock yarn and from catherine, a little baby sweater in (i think!) classic merino sport and one in her organic cotton.

i love that catherine’s cardigan is a pretty, gray/lavender; the bulk of the gifts erica has received are boy-oriented and she thinks it will be a boy, but just in case, it’s nice to have a couple of girlier items, too.

can i just interject to say—look how baby knitspot has grown! i almost fell over when erica told me that the baby is already fifteen inches long. she looks great though, doesn’t she?

chris’s booth was hopping all day long and the hours just flew by—i know i saw more than a few readers there and was thrilled that so many stopped by to say hi, look at yarn, and ask for help picking out something to go with a pattern. i just love helping someone find the right yarn and color.

things really quieted down after 3 pm, so i took the opportunity to fit in a spin around the show floor before it was time to leave for the day. gorgeous fleeces at several booths gave me pause, but considering i have not yet spun the ones i purchased one, two, and three years ago, i was careful not to get sucked in (but there was one that i’m still drooling over . . .)

instead, i focused on enjoying fleeces on the hoof, by spending some time touring through the sheep barns and the alpaca tents outside. it was a hot, hot day out in the sun, believe me, but the animal and retail barns were surprisingly cooler.

these border leicesters are sitting pretty while a devoted friend watches over them. thesis a popular breed in our region and a whole barn is devoted just to them.

here are a pair that got sheared during the show—probably a good thing considering the heat this weekend.

hats off to the faithful dogs who stood guard, but made no startling noises that would upset the hushed atmosphere inside the barn.

the brown one was pretty shy but this spotted one was quite amenable to being photographed.

in the building at the end, a little dorset lamb was being sheared—she’s about three months old, despite being the size of many adult sheep of different breeds. yes, she’s big, but then again, look what she could grow into

at first glance he looks like he belongs in the cattle family, not in the sheep barn, haha. or maybe he wants to be a pony when he grows up?

he says y-u-u-up.

judging starts early and goes on all day and throughout the weekend. when i walked through, i believe they were looking at tunis ewes.

i spent a little more time walking around and wanted to ask a ton of questions, but the farmers seemed busy and i felt shy about bothering them. so i went to hunt down candy and erica instead—i suddenly realized i hadn’t seen much of them all day—hopefully a good sign.

turns out, they were done shopping and had found a nice place to sit and put their feet up out of the sun, with some company to chat with to boot. have i mentioned that people in ohio are super friendly?

we had a dinner date with chris’s family at the south market bistro, our favorite after-show place to eat. with an hour to kill, we decided that we should go ahead and settle in at our table with our knitting and a local beer or two.

it was a terrific meal—so good that i totally forgot to take pictures.

since i skipped dessert at the restaurant and erica had just a wee bit of ice cream, we thought it prudent to top off at the dalton dariette on the way home—a fiber show tradition and one of the few times i give in to ice cream (which agrees with my mouth, but not so much with my stomach). soft ice cream, mmmm.

we got home in time to sit around chatting and knitting a little, catching up with david at the end of the day. he and buddy had a nice quiet day at home—a little hot though.

he seems to like the felted dog bone and ball i bought for him to keep at our house (i just couldn’t resist). haha, the bone is a little too big for him to toss around, but i love that he’s using it as a body pillow instead.

tomorrow, we’ll tell you all about the other cool finds (just a few, mostly non-wooly ones) we brought home, won’t we  buddy?

17 Responses to “a day for showing off”

  1. erica says:

    aw, lovely post! mom and i had such a nice time at the festival with you. buddy never got out of bed on monday. i think he had waaaaaaaay too much fun with auntie anne and uncle david!

  2. josiekitten says:

    Oh so much loveliness to comment on. Those shorn alpacas are so skinny, I hadn’r realised quite how much of them was fleece until now. That grey fleece is special, I can quite see why you were ogling it! And as for Buddy snuggling his felt bone, well the dog has great taste!!

  3. Kat Jorgensen says:

    Cute critters. I would have wanted to take them home with me : )

    Glad you had a great day, Anne.

  4. Andrea says:

    I just love this show. My knitting group headed over from Akron and I have to admit that while I saw you over at the Briar Rose booth, I was too shy to come up and say hi! :) I have to give credit to Erica for sticking out all afternoon! Being over 6 months pregnant myself, I started crying “hunger!” by about 1:30.

  5. Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing your day with us, and all the pictures! Love the animals – especially Buddy, the shorn alpacas and the dorset sheep! Looking forward to seeing your finds!

  6. Jody says:

    How fun! That caramel alpaca looks so funny with that huge head and sheared body…lol. The dorset sheep always look like they’re ready to be saddled up–I love all of the variation among the different breeds. The border leicesters always look so noble with their roman noses.

    Buddy’s a doll. I’ll bet he loves his new ‘stuffie’.

  7. Sandra says:

    This was our first time at this festival. Kimber Baldwin of Fiberoptic in Cincinnati was doing a dyeing class on Sunday morning so we loaded up Saturday and were on our way. Great festival. Lots of fibery goodness, vendors, dyeing plants and a sheep and goat show. Saw you and your buds a couple times. So good to see someone we admire.

  8. Robin in VA says:

    GREAT pics Anne!! Looks like a great festival….maybe I can get there in the coming years. I LOVE that fleece…and the name–”Hellbitch” is awesome!!! Wonder if that says anything about the ewe it belonged to?!

  9. Dixie in Medina says:

    If you want to really experience Alpaca envy take a trip to the corner of W. Smith Road, and State Route 83 (Avon Lake Road) in Medina County Ohio and head South. To your right you will see all the fields of Magical Farms where over 1500 alpacas graze on over 400 acres. Then check out their website and see how much they get for the ones they sell….no wonder alpaca fiber is so expensive.

  10. amanda says:

    Oh, what lovely pictures from the show–which I’m especially happy to see since we didn’t go this year. (Although as hot as it was, that may not have been all a bad thing.) Of course, now I’m really tempted to head on over to the Briar Rose site and browse…

  11. DavidA says:

    The combination of meeting you and seeing Chris again really made my visit to Wooster a memorable experience. You seemed to really enjoy helping people find and pick yarns in the Briar Rose booth. And thanks for giving up that beautiful skein of sage green Kindness so that it could go home with me :)

  12. Jo Morgan says:

    All these animals have sooooooo much soul in their beautiful eyes. The show looks so fun and I love hearing about Baby Knitspot. Jo

  13. Lovely post and the contents shared here is just awesome!! I really like those interesting looking animals pretty much. Thanks for allocation. :)

  14. Kelli says:

    From your photograph, it looks like Oxford sheep in the show ring. Tunis are red/brown headed. And, I agree with the size comments. Sheep in the 70′s when my father was showing were no taller than your thigh. Very short. Now you can pretty well ride them. I have pictures of riding sheep when I was little. That’s what happens when your family raises 500 a year.

  15. Brandi says:

    What a lovely fiber fair with animals. I love looking at the animal pictures. I have 3 alpacas to shear but as I’m in maine I’ll wait till June when the black flies have calmed down. I hate exposing fresh skin to bites.

  16. Love all the shots of wool and alpaca on the hoof and off. What a fun day! Looks hot though.

    That Buddy just melts my heart!

  17. Liz in Missouri says:

    Good times! I wish there were more fiber events here in Southern Missouri!