Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting Close...

T-minus 9 days until Estes Park Wool Market!

I'm super excited.  Nervous and kinda stressed-out, but excited.  Being the superintendent for the Handspun Contest has been interesting so far, to say the least.  I'm loving interacting with contestants on Ravelry, answering questions and trying to make this contest run as smoothly as possible.  However, it's been a bit bumpy because I'm effectively the middleman between the contestants and the judge.  There's been some minor drama, but nothing terrible, and I'm looking forward to a fantastic contest filled with gorgeous yarn.  Because, really?  It's all about the yarn.  SO MUCH YARN.  :D

I volunteered to be Superintendent as sort of a favor, not exactly realizing what I was getting myself into, and boy howdy, now I know.  The biggest bummer is that I don't get to attend much of the festival at all.  However, I get to be surrounded by yarn all day both days, and should be able to shop Friday night with the class attendees, so we're good.  :) On Saturday, I'll collect yarn from contestants from 8:00-8:45 am in the Demo Tent, then will be  inside the judging room assisting the judge until her comments at 4 p.m.  At least, we sincerely hope the judging will be completed by 4 p.m.  There are 23 categories this year...23! finishing on time might be a daunting task.  On Sunday, I'll have a display up of all of the entries, and will stay with the display most of the day to answer questions and brag about contestants.  :)

We did a "dry run" of sorts last Sunday, with her judging a few skeins spun by me and one other spinner, and it was really successful.  I do have to say this...the judge this year is extremely fair.  I threw in some skeins that had some wonky spots (not skeined correctly, underspun bits) and she caught everything and had interesting and educational things to say.  I'm hoping that the contestants view this contest as a learning experience, because that is essentially the point of the whole thing.  Prizes and ribbons are great, but the information gleaned from the experience is what is truly valuable and leads to becoming a better spinner.   

One thing we noticed on the dry run was that a spot for describing HOW the yarn was spun was inadvertently left off the judging card.  Whoops!  The judge would really like to have this information, so she requested that I ask contestants to include this info when they turn in their skeins for judging.  It would be fantastic if this info (i.e. "This yarn was spun worsted from commercial combed top," or "This yarn was spun woolen from rolags," or "This yarn was corespun around a cotton thread,") could be included somewhere on the card, possibly under "Fiber History" if you can squeeze it in there, or on the back of the card.  It will just help the judge form a fuller picture of the yarn. 

I think that's about it!  To avoid having to drive round-trip from Boulder to Estes Park three times, I'll be treating myself and staying in a little cottage on Friday and Saturday nights. YEAH!! :)   Unfortunately, I couldn't manage to finagle Thursday off from my day job, but will be at the high school on Friday morning to collect skeins/money/entry forms from contestants who are taking Wool Market classes and seminars.  Here's hoping the contest is a great experience for all!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Estes Park Wool Market Announcement!

So as it turns out, I'll be the superintendent at this year's Estes Park Wool Market Handspun Yarn Contest!  Wahoo!!  It was an interesting turn of events that led me to this position, but I am pumped and rarin' to go! 

Prior to the publishing of this year's standards, the standards committee (me, Jill Graham - this year's judge, Sue Dowgiert, Barb Day, and Maggie Casey) tried to hash out what spinners in our area wanted out of a contest.  We decided to vastly expand the categories, which now includes a whopping 23 classes, in order to cater to both modern and traditional spinners.  I am so excited about this expansion, y'all.  It means that you are no longer banned from having a little glitz in the skein (two categories now allow glitz!).  It means that people who really enjoy spinning cellulose-only yarns can enter this year.  It takes - in essence - a HUGE leap in encouraging creative spinning.  Hooray!!

If you are a spinner and are planning to attend the festival, PLEASE enter your gorgeous skeins!  That's plural!  We're looking forward to an amazing contest this year, complete with some great prizes.  And I mean great.  :)

The website can be tricky to navigate, so if you click here and scroll down to Skein Contest Information, you can find the standards (plus entry form and judging form).  You only need one Entry Form (please sign it at the bottom), but be sure to print multiple judging forms, if you're entering multiple skeins...each skein needs a judging form attached to it with strong thread, such as perle cotton.  The cost for entry is $3 a skein. 

Have questions about the contest?  I've answered a number of them on Ravelry in this thread.  If you don't use Ravelry or have any other questions, just leave a comment!  I'd be happy to answer. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Boas, Ribbons, & Fluff

Well guys, I had a weird fall and winter. A string of sadnesses, including the loss of a dear friend from a long-fought battle with thyroid cancer, blindsided me. It was a difficult time. I'm generally an optimist, but man was it hard to stay cheery in the face of everything.

There is so much to be grateful for, though. I did get to see my family both at Christmas and in October, when we celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday. Honestly, my Mimi is the cutest. Evidence:Figure 3.1. Cute, definition of.
Also, I did very well at the Boulder County Fair in August, winning four champion ribbons (including grand champ, whoo hoo!), 5 blue ribbons, 1 second-place, and 1 third-place, all for seven skeins of handspun I entered on kind of a whim. I was pretty proud!
Then I managed to get out of Dodge with my friend Stephanie and two of her friends, taking off in October for Taos, NM for the annual Taos Wool Festival. I'd never gone before, and can I just say, it was a fantastic festival. Even the drive there was spectacular.Might have fallen down and purchased a fleece. Whoops. Good thing there was Ron the Rickshaw Guy ready and waiting to rescue us. Carrying an entire fleece blocks back to the hotel would have been rough.
The whole thing is held outside (a novelty for this Estes Park Wool Market girl), and the weather was perfect, the grass was green, the air was crisp, and everything in every booth seemed like it wanted to go home with me. I showed a little restraint, I s'pose, purchasing some yummy roving of breeds I hadn't tried often, plus a few skeins of Plain and Fancy yarn. This was weird...I never purchase wool yarn (aside from sock yarn), since I should spin down my stash and yada yada. Well, this was pretty special yarn, perfectly spun singles, dyed an array of gorgeous colors. So I bought a bit. :)
Also a pair of soft and lovely gloves. :)
The most exciting thing to happen fiber-wise recently, though, has been getting handed the keys to my first fiber studio. EEEeeeee! I am beyond excited. Up until now, I've been working out of my teeny apartment, which works to a degree, but it might be nice to have a kitchen table in the breakfast nook instead of a loom. Also, handpainting roving and combed top has always been problematic, as I have to haul all the equipment and fiber outside (and downstairs) to paint on the picnic table. There's just not enough room in our apartment. So on March 2nd I spied an ad on Craigslist for an artist studio sublet. I emailed the lister, she showed me the property that afternoon, and one signed lease later, I'm the proud renter (for at least 9 months) of a sweet 187 sq. ft. studio! It's a little empty at the moment, but that will soon be remedied.It's in an "artsy" complex of similar studios in North Boulder, so there's a little community to get to know, but what I'm really looking forward to is spreading out. Having everything consolidated in one spot, but having elbow room. And the dyeing, oh, the dyeing! I'll definitely be posting more pics when I have things mostly settled. Until then...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Basket o' Fun Morph

Day One:

Much of what I spun in its original form. From top left: Rambouillet, Hobbledehoy ArtBatt, braid of silk, handful of kid mohair locks from Kai Mohair, 1 lb. of Gulf Coast Native wool.

Day Six:

TdF11 Basket o' Fun - Day 6

Starting to morph! Gulf Coast Native and Rambouillet have been carded, mohair and ArtBatt have been spun, silk still in original form.

Day Twenty-three:

TdF11 - Day 23 - Last Day

All the finished yarns. Fibers from the Basket o' Fun have been spun, plus a skein of white Targhee, another ArtBatt, a braid of superwash merino from Cloudlover fibers, and the "get it off my bobbin so I can start spinning the good stuff" pink navajo-ply. In the middle is the bobbin of alpaca/feathers that I was working on at the close of the Tour.