Friday, July 14, 2006

Kumi huh?

While we were at camp last week, I wanted to bring some project to work on that would be portable, easy to put down in the event of an emergency (scraped knee, immediate need to towel off, extreme hunger, etc.), and not be something that would make me sweat just thinking about it because it's 90°F (e.g., knitting wool socks).

So, I brought my kumihimo disk and plate, pulled up a lawn chair and started braiding. I thought I could relax and catch up on a few podcasts, but every few minutes or so, some other lawn denizen would come up and ask me what I was doing.

Amazingly, there was one woman who not only recognized the disk, but said that she' d just purchased one for her son to try. How 'bout that?

In any case, for the uninitiated, the short answer was, "Google 'friendship bracelet wheel' or 'friendship wheel' when you get home and you'll find the mass-market version for kids." Maybe next year, they'll recognize what I'm doing, but wonder what the heck "Kumihimo" means.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fun with Black Sheep

This year, we once again made the trek up to Eugene, Oregon for the Black Sheep Gathering the last weekend in June.

Surprisingly, my 9-year old daughter proclaimed a few months back that she'd like to go too. Hey, maybe some of this wooly stuff does rub off on the kids! Or, maybe she just didn't want to get stuck with daddy and her evil little brother for a long weekend. In any case, while we were there, I saw this as perfect opportunity to buy a Majacraft Little Gem, which I'd been admiring for a couple of years. Much to my surprise, that was the kicker that got her interested in spinning. She was so enthusiastic that she picked up all the little bits of wool left on the floor after the show, and proceeded to spin them while we waited for the train home.

Anyway, back to the show... we hooked up with Syne Mitchell of Weavecast who camped with us on the back lawn. It was great meeting her in person, after listening to her podcast over the past few months. I offered to do some local interviews for her, so I need to work on my radio voice over the coming months. Also joining us was Sally Fox, who got the chance to take a couple of useful sheep classes. Sally's working on breeding merino sheep in colors to match her lovely cottons so that she can produce a natural color, organic wool/cotton blend. I can't wait to see what she produces!

And, it wouldn't be Black Sheep without the wool show. This year, I SWORE that I wouldn't let any fleece follow me home. And surprisingly, I managed it! But, I must say that this is the one time I really appreciated being guild president... I was able to satisfy that wool buying urge by purchasing three fleeces for the guild's 50 by '05 project -- a Black Welsh Mountain, a Targhee, and a Blue Faced Leiscster. I got the satisfaction of buying fleece, but I didn't have to lug it home, wash it, or feel guilty about not spinning it. A win-win situation.