Saturday, October 24, 2009
Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival adventure
After getting home at midnight last night from work, we slept in this morning and got up to find a dreary and overcast day outside with intermittent rain showers. However, it was the weekend of the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, Virginia. I'd never been to this event even though Jenn had told me about it years ago, so I wanted to go and check this festival out. I was sorry I hadn't been able to go to Rhinebeck, but I thought I wouldn't spend as much going to this fairly local festival than a big one like NY.
We headed out to the west towards the Shenandoah mountains and though the leaves were now past their peak color, they were still beautiful. Because of the overcast, it was hard to get a photograph that showed how pretty it was despite the weather.
We began to see the hills and mountains as we continued to drive West and then South.
The Potomac river goes under the highway as you approach Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The rivers in the area are the Potomac and the Shenandoah and at their confluence sits the very quaint and historic town of Harper's Ferry, which is a National Park. It's full of history, and though I won't bore you with the history of the area, it's also a crossing of the Appalacian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, and the C & O trail which goes from Georgetown to Cumberland.
The River runs along the right side of the road along the way back into Virginia. It's beautiful along this road, but treacherous in the wintertime.
Another River shot. The river has many rocks in it and flows slowly in some places. It's a great place to go canoeing, kayaking, and rafting in the summer months.
We arrived in Berryville and the festival in a torrential downpour but there were many other cars parked at the Festival so we knew there were other hardy fiber lovers there before us. The Llama barn was set up to allow kids to walk the llamas through a course. Llamas are very smart and also very sweet. Many people get them to be companion animals to their sheep and alpacas, they've got a sweet dog personality.
There were other Llamas and Alpacas in the barn being sold or exhibited. There was a lot of fiber available for sale, but I've got plenty of Llama and Alpaca at home to spin, should the mood strike. :) There was also a rabbit barn and one for sheep too.
There were a few barns with vendors, as well as a few vendors out in the outside area. Here are a couple of shots of the vendor barns.
I did not succumb to my great love of raw fleeces and did not buy any fleece today, I certainly have enough of various breeds of fleece to spin back at home. But I still had to touch and pet the fleeces and look at the breeds and prices of them all. They did have a judging here and some of the fleeces were absolutely yummy!
I felt so badly for these nice Angora goats that had to be standing in this tiny pen in the rain, their locks of fiber were a muddy and wet mess. I think they were for sale, and their owner had mohair yarn and fiber for sale in her tent right next to the goats.
We drove back into Maryland and I saw many other places were the leaves were beautiful. It continued to be rainy, but the sky began to get just a little bit brighter as we then made our way to do an errand in Gettysburg, PA.
We drove over the bridge again into West Virginia for a short time and again over the river. I kept busy along the way with a few things I spent my month's allowance on at the festival.
I got this neat spindle from the Serendipitous Ewe's booth. It's Jade that has been carved into a flower and it's just the right weight to spin this lovely roving that I got at another vendor's booth. The roving is made of Merino, Mohair and a small amount of Alpaca. I'm spinning it very fine, hoping to make something laceweight, perhaps to do a lace shawl. The mohair is blooming out from the singles already so it has a slightly fuzzy look. It's turning out pretty soft despite spinning it so finely.
Of course, I was also knitting along the way. This is the one of the socks I worked on for awhile on the way back from the festival. It's a bit of a challenge to spindle my roving in the car, so I went back and forth between knitting and spinning.
This sock yarn was an "Ewepsie" oopsie dyeing mistake from the Serendipitous Ewe. I thought it was really neat. The colorway is called "Secret Garden" and it's fingering weight so I could use it for a lace project or a pair of socks. Right now it's going into my stash.
Ok, I probably need a 12 step program to break my addiction to sock yarn, but I really liked this one that I got from Y2 Knit. It's called "Crazy Zauberball" and they had several colorways that I thought were fantastic but this is the one I chose. I also got a "K2tog" and a "ssk" oval magnet for my car from Y2 knit.
Here's a better picture of the flower petals carved on the whorl of the new spindle. It was really inexpensive compared to similar spindles I've seen in the past at other festivals, and that added to why I loved it so much!
We continued to make our way through Maryland and then into Pennsylvania and it was beautiful as usual as we drove into Gettysburg. I do volunteer work at the Museum in the Visitor's Center at the National Park, but I don't get out into the park itself very much.
Here's a monument along Taneytown Road. As you can see it was still overcast and dreary. Considering how many people died on these lands, it's pretty fitting to have it be dark and overcast.
The statue on top of the dome is the Pennsylvania monument which is one of the biggest monuments (and a beautiful one) on the battlefield.
A view from the road toward the high water mark.
This is the high water mark/bloody angle and there were plenty of people up there walking up where Pickett's charge had been. We were on the way to pick up some clothing for Mark that we didn't get to the shop in time to get.
I was very glad to find these apples because I wanted to make applesauce tomorrow. These are Jonogolds, a hybrid of the Jonathan apples that are my very favorites for sauce and pies. We got them at the festival. The orchard owner said that Jonathans and MacIntoshes (also a favorite) grow further north and don't do as well in Virginia.
I got out my Ashford Joy to spin some more of the fiber that I got today, and Belle decided that she needed to supervise.
It's really hard to spin with a cat on your lap trying to grab the fiber as you draft. I'm lucky that she has a very short attention span.
Here's some of the fiber spun on the wheel, still in singles. I have enough to do a full shawl and I'm planning on doing a two ply in lace to fingering weight. So far it's reading mostly red with brown, blue, and white undertones.