Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Fiber Critter Fest

This weekend is the Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival in Washington County just outside St Paul. I decided to take my friend/knitting student (A) along and another friend's sister (J) who has some special needs - physical and mental. I thought J would enjoy seeing fiber critters and how yarn was made and A just needed a nice little distraction from her hectic life.

The weather was a bit cool but better than last year when it rained and left the parking areas very muddy. We got to the first building and J pooped out half way through. While she was resting on a chair A and I walked around to the other aisle and found a lady sitting their spinning. Not a big deal cause - well - its a fiber festival. There will be a lot of spinners. But the fiber in her lap was a bit different.

The fiber moved. She was spinning directly from the angora bunny! The hair she 'pulls' is the loose hair that would normally come off when the bunny is brushed and he obviously didn't mind it. The bunny sat in her lap very happy the whole time we watched. We brought J over to the bunny and she got the spinner to stop so she could feel the yarn on the bobbin.
After finishing up the first building we headed over to see some sheep sheared. Unfortunately, we got there just as the sheep was finished. Once done they let kids pet the sheep and were very good to J and let her pet the sheep too. She got a bit of the fresh fleece so was very happy. But - what made her even more happy....
They brought out another sheep and sheared it. It only took about 4-5 minutes and that sheep was all ready to go. The pile of fleece behind them is the bad bits. As they finished the fleece they did a little bit of skirting to pick off the worst of the bits and piled the fleece on the table with the others they had done today. Lots of fleece waiting to become sweaters!
Just behind the sheep shearing were a couple llamas hanging out getting a bit of fresh air So - J got to pet the llamas without having to walk over to their barn which was a bit too far for her. Looks like they had already had a bit of a hair cut!

All told it was a nice few hours. J had to stop and sit several times and got cranky a couple times but over all she enjoyed it. A got a chance to just walk around and see new things and see where her yarn comes from. And me - I managed NOT to spend a boatload of money and just enjoy the day through them. I did learn an important thing. Being a person with limited mental abilities can be a huge advantage. J would go up to people and want to pet the sheep, get a bit of fleece, stop the spinning wheel to see what the yarn felt like and everyone was very happy to let her do what she wanted. As a result, we got to see and do some things I would have been "too grown up" to ask for. So- I had more fun than I would if I went alone. Lesson learned - don't be afraid to be a kid when it comes to asking questions about things you don't know about.
All the pictures on today's blog were taken on my my cell phone. I'm impressed with the quality indoor and outdoor seem to be pretty good. My old phone was needing to be charged every night and the cost of a battery was about the same as the cost of a new phone with all my discounts. I have issues with the old phone - a blackberry with the teeny tiny keyboard that I can't see without my reading glasses. So - I got a new one. My new phone is a LG Incite. It's a touch screen, has windows mobile and all sorts of fun new features that will take me forever to learn but - the camera... easy to use and download to the computer. I like it!


dnaprice said...

The pictures are all great, I wouldn't have know they were from a cell phone. Thanks for sharing your day.

Mandella said...

There is no way my bunny would sit still on my lap long enough to spin from! But I have been tempted many times when confronted with masses of combings to see how they spin up.

Lovely photos, I wouldn't have known they were taken on your phone until you said.