Vermont Sheep & Wool 2019

I never posted anything about the Fair.  Let’s talk about the handspun contest.  Since the Fair theme this year was rare breeds, you got extra points for spinning a Shave ’em to Save ’em breed fleece.  Well, I was already doing that!  All I had to do was make sure I conformed to one of their categories.  I chose “medium-weight plied.”


Second place!  OK, it was tied for second.  And there may well have been only four entrants.  But even so, it came in better than third place!  You gotta be in it to win it.

OK, let’s move on to the feedback.  Turns out the judge is the same guy who buys mohair for us from Green Mountain Spinnery.  The comments say, “Color – good!  Tighter ply would be more balanced.”  This is appropriate and unsurprising feedback given my experience, as I never ply, but I dye all the time.

I got 4 points out of 5 for “Aesthetics,” “Originality,” and “Complexity”.  3 points for “Mastery of Craft,” as I suck at plying.  I got 5 points for 100% heritage breed fiber.  And I get a zillion points for participating, because that’s what it’s all about.

Speaking of “it’s participating that counts,” it wasn’t a very profitable year for my booth.  Maybe it’s because the needle felting craze has come and gone.  Maybe my Greener Shades colors weren’t so much eye-candy as my Pro Chem ones used to be.  It wasn’t lack of attendance – the gate keeps increasing every year, they report.  I’ll chalk a bit of the loss up to my location, though.  I am close to but no longer on the end – they put some bunnies there!!  And my space was miniscule.  It was so narrow that once my table was in place, you could only fit one person wide in front of it.  And unfortunately, I made a bad choice of orientation on the first day, having my mohair face away from my own pen.  That meant it was facing the next pen, which was Shetland sheep being peddled by two sweet grandmas (I believe the farm name was “Two Grandmas Farm” or something thereabouts).  Two CHATTY grandmas.  I’ve never seen people so interested in Shetland sheep.  People were constantly in my space to look at the sheep and chat chat chat with the grandmas.  At one point, one of the grandmas herself was not only in my space, but leaning on my merchandise obliviously while she chatted away.

I think this cut down on impulse buys, since nobody could see my full display or comfortably come in half the time.  I remedied the orientation on Sunday, but Saturday is the big day to sell.


As If I Can Do Anything But What I Always Do

VT Sheep & Wool is featuring the Shave ’em to Save ’em program this year, and their contests are geared towards rare breeds.  I’m ready to spin for the handspun yarn contest with my #5 project, Leicester Longwool.  Problem is the categories are “bulky single” or “medium plied yarn” or “fine plied yarn” (right out).  I do singles, but not really bulky.  So I could go either trying (and failing) to spin a lot thicker than usual, sticking with singles, or a bit finer and ply.  I didn’t enjoy trying to make bulky (ugly) so I’m going with option B.


From the Fiber Mill

Random white wool yarn Sara gave me to dye – came out really streaky.  Shave ’em to Save ’em Leicester Longwool roving out of the same dyebath.  I was aiming for a nice butterscotch color I’d gotten on the mohair recently.  I got yellow.


And I haven’t quit making my trademark one-of-a-kind 100% mohair color blends!