Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bear Paw update!

Lovely "throw-down" yarn!
 Well, I finally took a photo of the yarn I am spinning from the picker throw down.  Isn't it beautiful?

Here are some more!:

I'll post more when it is plied.  Currently, I am torn between plying these singles together or plying them with something a little less wild!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bear Paw Spin In

Ok, so the spin-in was almost 3 weeks ago.  What can I say?  I've been busy enjoying this beautiful fall weather.

For those who don't know, a "spin-in" is not like a "sit-in" or anything.  It is an opportunity to spend time with a bunch of other fiber fanatics doing whatever fiber activity you were able to cram into the car that brought you there.  Depending on the size of your vehicle, this ranges from knitting (you can even bring this on your bike!) to needle felting (also highly portable) to weaving (definitely need something a little bigger than a bike...) to the main featured activity at this event: spinning! Yay!

This is Kristie weaving on painted warp

Look at all the different kinds of wheels!

Oh yeah, shopping opportunities as well!
This yearly spinner's retreat is organized by the Pend Oreille Fiberarts Guild of Newport, WA.  It is super fun and is held at a camp (I told you I was going to summer camp!) right on the Pend Oreille river.  The setting is simply fantastic and you don't have to actually camp, there are cabins and dorms with bunk beds.  
You can stay for the whole weekend for $50!  This includes meals from Friday dinner (potluck) through Sunday brunch.  Yes, truly a screaming deal and sooooo worth it.  You do need to bring your own sleeping paraphernalia (I brought my summer weight sleeping bag and favorite pillow- worked perfectly) and the bathrooms are campground bathrooms (yes, hot showers!!) meaning communal. To clarify, the bathrooms are communal, not the actual showers.  Unless you want to share, but we don't need to talk about that here...

This particular spinning event also promised something mysterious:

with equally mysterious instructions:

I had no idea what any of it meant, but imagine how delighted I was to find out it meant this:
silver, white and purple...

two shades of blue...

fluffing the fiber- I helped at this table for a couple hours and it was so delightful.
Isn't it lovely?
and finally- the picker!
 I found out the way the throw down works is you bring CLEAN, ready to spin fiber which gets weighed and added to the appropriate pile (purple/white/silver or blues).  Then the big piles are fluffed some more and the picker is used to gently blend them all together!

One of the many boxes filled between picker and scale.
Then everyone who put in some fiber, gets the same weight of mix back to spin.  Luckily, I had some freshly washed and picked white fleece from Snowball, so I was able to participate.  I have started to spin my take and it looks great (even if I do say so myself...)  I would show you a photo, but I forgot to take one (yeah, I know -BIG surprise)
I am not positive this is Snowflake (photo was taken at Skylines), but she looks just like this.  But dirtier now.
 All in all, it was a great weekend and I met lots of friendly and interesting women.  I would highly recommend this for anyone who has even the slightest interest in spinning or knitting or felting.  I am definitely going back next year!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I love our sheep...

Really, how could I not?  They are the peaceful trimmers of lawn, providers of wool and they come when I call them. Such beautiful and elegant animals.  And sometimes silly too- sproinking around and fake head butting each other, they really are a delight.

We felt bad for them in the spring and fall with no run in to get out of the rain. They do have a small house (in which Jasper was born) and a small stand of evergreen trees, but the house is only big enough for one or two at a time and while the trees provide shelter from the rain, they are less effective at blocking the wind.  The snow seems much less of a problem for them- they can shake it off.  The rain soaks in.

Snowy sheep (that's their little house in the background)
So plans were launched to build a sheep shelter.  Nothing extravagant...

Hand built (by Brian) log hay barn
But somewhere they could get out of the weather.

Maybe a little better than that... (besides sheep get tired holding umbrellas)

How about this?

Northern side
Western side (actually the back) Brian cut these big planks on his sawmill!

Front- facing east

Keepin' it tidy!

He's so cute that he gets another photo!
Brian and I spent one day this summer augering holes and putting in the 4 enormous corner posts.  Then it sat for a few weeks.  It was kind of fun, because people kept asking "What is that?!"  Sheep toys...

Finally we put up all the roof timbers and plywood for the roof and side boards, and when I came home from work one day, Brian had all the big timbers in back and the plywood and wire for the feeders done!!!

So cool!
The next step was getting the tin for the roof and sides.

We chose white and green. Very pretty.

Here, Brian explains how to put the trim on, instead of standing there with a camera...
See?  Like this.
Well now it is all finished and the sheep LOVE it!!  Of course, now it is raining and I don't have a photo of them enjoying it...  When I get one, I will share.

Mud season Fall has officially begun with a 10 day forecast full of rain.  In celebration, I am taking the weekend off and going to the spin-in at Bear Paw Camp!  I feel like I am going to summer camp!!