A scaled back OFFF

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A plan to spend the weekend at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby was reduced to just Saturday afternoon.  One friend was ill, one on her way to illness and one was sent out of town on a business trip.

So it was just a couple hours with my friend Paige, but enjoyable still. We’ve been enough times that we pretty much have memorized the booth offerings from return vendors, but nothing makes fondling yarn and fiber and petting sheep get old.

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So much color everywhere!  And yet I managed to buy the plainest yarn and fiber I saw.

But, what it lacks in pigment it makes up in content – the yarn is yak and merino and silk, and the fiber has enough angora that it is going to get a wonderful halo when it is made into yarn.

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The barn where the sheep and goats wait to be judged is, as always, a highlight.

The wildly varying pelts always intrigue me.  So much variation in what are basically close cousins.

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All of those are sheep fleece, except the bunny in the middle of the top row.  It is hard to tell, but the brown tipped locks on the lower left were brown on the ends and then went through cream to become gray where it is newly growing out.  My sister pays huge amounts of money to get that many colors into her hair!

The colors llamas come in are also impressive.

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The angora rabbits are another favorite. Dust bunnies come to life.

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When we weren’t shopping or petting we watched the llama obstacle course trials – very dignified – and then the goats at their course as well – defiant and needing to be carried.

And then OFFF was done for another year.

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Back to OFFF

Each year a couple of my friends and I get together and go to a fiber festival.  It used to be Blacksheep, in Eugene, but the spring pollen combined with the straw dust made it impossible for one of my more allergic friends to survive happily.  So now we go to OFFF each September in Canby.

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I actually prefer Blacksheep, because the arrangements for viewing sheep judging and other displays are better for knitting/spinning while watching.  OFFF doesn’t seem to think that people might want to sit in stands for a while to watch the events – maybe they believe only the people showing animals will sit there for long periods?  There are little to no seating arrangements most of the time.  But I always liked learning what made a Romney or BFL a really good example of its breed, or why one bunny was top over another that looks equally fluffy to me.  The announcers were good at filling in the info gaps for those of us who could probably tell a sheep from a goat, but not always.  At OFFF, even the llama obstacle course was moved to the opposite end of the barn this year, away from the stands we used to be able to sit in to watch.  And the judges aren’t wired for sound, so it isn’t possible to hear much of what they are saying.

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Also, I miss the evening parade of fiber fashions that Blacksheep had each year.  And the Shetland sheep costume parade.  And the wood fired pizza at the restaurant nearby.

Those complaints aside, OFFF is a good time.  We bring our camp chairs to the lawn under the giant shade trees, wander the booths and barns for two days, and always go for Thai food for lunch.  We knit and spin and shop and catch up, and then go back to one friend’s house on the river to talk and craft some more.

Last Saturday, my sister and niece came along to check out the animals, and later in the afternoon my husband and kids showed up to do the same.  The animals cover the range of fiber creatures, including angora and cashmere goats, tiny Shetlands and massive Romney sheep, alpacas and llamas, and the bundles of fluff angora rabbits.

The weather was also perfect – blue skies but not too hot, and nothing like the windstorm that blew vendors canopies away a couple years ago.  Speckle dyed yarn and yarn felting seemed to be the new crazes with a lot more booths devoted to them, and I spent a lot of time wandering looking at wheels, because despite the fact that I have a perfectly good wheel, I can’t help lusting after the beautiful alternatives I don’t need but still want.  I definitely have wooley winder envy!

There is also always a fiber craft project display.  My favorites this year were both felted octopuses (octopi?)

I was VERY restrained in my shopping this year.  That 27 pounds of fiber already in the stash stayed in the forefront of my mind, and I bought just two luxury spinning tops, one of yak and silk and one a combo of angora, silk and cormo wool.  I got only one skein of sock yarn, because those bins at home are also rather full and a pottery soap dish to replace the plexiglass one in my bathroom I’ve always hated.  For me, it was the equivalent of coming home empty handed.  I just kept reminding myself that I’d bought most of it before, it would be there again, and I have a very busy life and way too many hobbies.  It kept the credit card in my wallet.

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Now there is nothing to do but rest up for next year.

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OFFF

This past weekend was the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon.  I’ve been going the past few years with my fiber friends and it is the highlight of my fall.  So much going on at the fair grounds!

Fair warning – this is a very picture intensive post.

The booths catch us first.  Must touch all the yarn! Fondle all the fiber!

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Leslie, wondering if she went overboard at the hand painted merino sale rack:

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Then there are the animal barns.  The llamas have their own show, the alpacas are next door, there is a lot of sheep judging, and then there are the angora bunnies. 
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This poor sheep had to endure both the shearing and then having to watch its fleece be bundled up and then carted away.

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The difference in the fleeces of different sheep breeds is always astounding to me.

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And it is amazing how many colors llamas come in:

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There is also a finished project display, with judges awarding ribbons to the various garments, skeins and art projects.  Some I loved, some I wondered about, and some I looked at from six angles and still couldn’t quite understand.  A very small sampling:

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When we weren’t wandering and shopping and petting both animals and fiber, we ate a lot of Thai food (lunch both days at different Thai restaurants).  There aren’t a lot of leftovers!

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Overall, it is an amazing weekend.  The best part might be getting time to knit and spin with friends.  Paige came down from Seattle to join Leslie and I in our own mini crafting circle.
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Camping chairs are a must.  That is my Kromski spinning wheel, which though not small, does fold into a big back pack to make it more portable.  I haven’t been spinning a lot since I started quilting, but this weekend reminded me how much I love it.  And more green!

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There was so much else.  Lamb cook-offs, a wolf hound dog show, long distance spinning competitions, weavers, lace makers, people in enormous crocheted ponchos. Goat agility races! You can see it all at OFFF.  I was sad, and tired, when it was over.  I made it home in time to pile all my new goodies in a corner, hug my family, watch the lunar eclipse, and then headed to bed.  I can’t wait until next year.