Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fiber Fair

Several weeks ago I had a booth at a local fiber fair. This is my third year to attend, and the booth fees are very low, and it is less than an hour from where I live. The first year I went I was ready to pack everything back up in the truck the minute I started unloading. That year I had mostly raw fleeces and some grey Shetland roving. The fleeces looked horribly dirty in that unfamiliar setting! Finally I calmed down and we (my Mom went with me) got unloaded and the table set up and fleeces arranged. I was still sick, but as people started passing by, checking the fleeces and roving, I began to relax. I had many compliments on how 'clean' the fleeces looked and sold several as well as all the roving. Even after my third year, I still get that sick feeling when I unload those unwashed, smelly fleeces! They look fine at home...but out in public?

Last year I had a great year. I had more fleeces than the previous year and five different varieties of roving---I sold several fleeces and lots of roving. This year wasn't so great, although I sold close to 30 oz of roving, and I think 4 fleeces. The crowds were good, just not as many folks buying.

However this getting out and putting the fleeces under 'public' eye so to speak is very informative to me. I am a shepherd who doesn't spin (Gasp! I know!!) so I am somewhat hindered by that fact when spinners--especially newbies---ask me questions I haven't a clue to what the answer is. At times there will be other spinners feeling fleeces and roving and they can educate both of us. Other times, I just tell them that I don't know the answer. Or I can pass on information that other spinners have told me. I've learned allot and the booth area is nice and roomy. All booths are under roof, in open air livestock barns, so its a very good set up. One only has to bring tables and any other display items and of course your goods. (and lots of snacks and sodas! ;-)

This year my friend, Allena, from forced, er, urged me to enter one of the Merino girls fleeces in the fleece competition. She is a spinner and looked through the fleeces I had brought and picked Suzy's. The year before I had a fleece picked out to enter, but couldn't quite work up the nerve to take it down there. Now it will be easier to pick a nice fleece and enter it next year! Allena even took the fleece down there for me. Later I walked down and it had a cute red ribbon and had gotten second place and had a critique card on it. I can't remember all it said, but it was 90 out of 100 points. Again the information is very useful and continues my education. Allena got a nice blue on her fleece from "Lucy" a lovely little 1/2 Shetland 1/2 Merino she bought from me last year--and that was with only half a years growth on her fleece. (She shears twice per year).

All in all in was a good day. My Mom came for part of the day and 'booth watched' when I had to step away. She is good help and seems to enjoy 'crowd watching'. The above pictures are just several different angles of the booth/display. I need a better way to display the fleeces (as in a shelf or something) but this works okay for now. I have no idea who that lady is in the third photo! Even though she looks like she belongs, I think she was just a passers-by.
So anyway, once you do this sort of thing you get a bit revved up and want to go to another one. Well, I missed any sort of deadline on the next event that was about two weeks later. I dabbled with the idea of going up there and checking things out. However its an almost two hour drive and with gas being so incredibly expensive, I decided not to. Instead I had a heart to heart talk with myself, about using ones website and getting ones-self into gear and getting said website updated with the goods on hand. Instead of spending the day away, I stayed home, took pictures of roving, updated the website and did some other projects that needed doing. If I had been really excited about going to the event, I would have went anyway, but I was indecisive so took a better recourse I think.
I have lots of roving available and have updated quite a bit on my website I still have a few that I need to put on there but I've been having computer problems and much frustration on that front for the past week. Check it out though if you are interested in roving. I have grey, moorit and black Shetland, as well as white Dorset, and Merino/Dorset cross . If you see duplicates posted those are places that I'm still working on, and while I've updated the tables, I haven't updated the info.
I'll try and dig out my little card I got with the ribbon on the fleece, and let you know what it said. Have a good one.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I think it's GREAT that you're going out and doing this! My remaining big goal for this year (the first was entering my fleeces in a show and getting feedback) is to take Bella and Rechel to the state fair or the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival to show Bella and market both of them....

Tina T-P said...

Hi Tammy - Good for you getting all those fleeces out to sell - my DH is the shepherd and I'm "just along for the ride" - but I am learning to spin (slowly) Maybe if there is a local spinner's guild you could take in a fleece and have some of them critique it for you? We donated one to my guild for the Sheep to Shawl that they did at the Highland Games last summer - it was so very fun to have everyone working with the fleece and saying how wonderful it was. Have a great weekend. Tina