This weekend was the Black Sheep Gathering, one of the biggest west coast sheep and wool shows which happens to be right here in Eugene. The Gathering is the reason I first visited Eugene and as we all know I fell in love with the city and found a new home here so I am thankful to the Gathering for many things. But most importantly, Black Sheep is fun! This year I taught a class on stranded colorwork for socks. I had 12 lovely students and we all had a good time laughing and knitting.
After my class, I browsed the marketplace checking out what the vendors had to offer. Since it was recently my birthday, I found a lot of rationalizations for little purchases at the marketplace in each booth I said "maybe I'll buy myself a birthday present..." DANGER! Luckily I didn't have a lot of time so I didn't completely burn up my wallet. However, I did splurge on a fantastic spindle. This is from Michael and Sheila Ernst's glassworks. Isn't it handsome?
I love the flames spurting out from the sides. I need to find the perfect name for this spindle - something fiery perhaps.
and these little niblets at the bottom are not only beautiful, but they provide a perfect lever for applying finger torque.
Ah, "but how does it spin?" you may ask...... perfectly
This beauty is a work of art and a functional tool all at the same time. The best of all worlds.
There are lots of things to see at Black Sheep besides the vendors. Unfortunately, due some airline hijinx I didn't make it in time to see the fleeces at the wool show. I heard it was like a horde of locusts went through gobbling up all the fine, gorgeous fleece. The wool show at Black Sheep is the best I've seen, and every year I usually end up with at least one fleece. This year I didn't, but I might have some fiber lying around my workroom to tide me over until next year... haha. As my friend Beth Smith likes to say, "don't worry, the sheep are growing more for you right now!"
I did go and visit the fleece growers though! I love to look at the sheep at the show. Look at this beautiful Wensleydale, so contendedly staring back at my camera. Don't you wonder how he can see behind those ringlets in his eyes? Ah, those kids with their long hair these days... hahahaha. I love the way his ears stick out at right angles and I really want to feel those lustrous locks.
Right across the way from the Wensleydale, was Roosevelt the Romney. Doesn't he look like he's saying "hey kid, ya wanna hit the big time someday? you need some of these blue ribbons like i've got hanging on my crib. stick with me and I'll show you how it's done" Don't you just want to pinch his cheek? (or pet his nose?)
Black Sheep Gathering was started by these folks. This is the Black Sheep Newsletter and you can subscribe to it to find out more about the colored sheep and the gathering. The show was started as a place for breeders of colored sheep to gather and show their sheep, discuss breeding and genetics and sell stock. Eventually it evolved into a fiber festival as well, but the business of the Black Sheep Gathering still goes on today at the shows.
This year we had an honored visitor come and check out the Gathering. Yep, on the right that's Amy Clarke Moore, the editor of Spin-Off chatting with Rolly Thompson of Fox Hollow farm at the show, and the littlest Moore, Sarah was learning all the important stuff - how to pick the good fiber and where to get the best spindles.
Speaking of the best spindles - Steve and Connie Paulsen of Spindlewood were there with all of their gorgeous spindles of course. Even though I love them dearly, I stayed out of their booth this year because I already have more spindlewoods than any other spindle maker, (and really more than this girl deserves) and I already KNOW I can't resist their spindles. Now, of course, I'm suffering a little pang of regret that I didn't come home with a new baby from them, but I'm saving my pennies for some book printing that has to happen.
I did get a few other things at the show, a bit of yarn, a bit of fiber - I'll show you those next time. Although I didn't get to attend all 3 days, still I left the show on Sunday evening contented that I got enough sheepy goodness to see me through to next year's show when I plan to be in town and more involved. Already I can't wait!