Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting on with Life: Lambtown USA 2010



Several weeks ago, I made a trip to Oceanside with some friends. It was Walter and My Wedding Anniversary. I feel I survived this well enough to feel confident to attempt a trip a little further away from home.

Lambtown in Dixon, CA is an Annual Sheep and Fiber Festival. I asked a friend to go with me this year. This was also a festival that Walter and I enjoyed going to. He liked the animals and I liked the fiber competitions. One year, I had been bold enough to compete myself and came in a decent 3rd out of about a 10 contestants in the Spinning Contest the first year they had this contest. My friend C, is a widow, too, and I felt it would do us both some good to get away and do something enjoyable. Although she wasn’t as interested in fibercrafts as much as I, I think she enjoyed some of it. We were a little disappointed that some regular events such as Mutton Bustin’, Sheep Dog Herding Trials, and Sheep Shearing Competition were cancelled. However, there was still a lot going on and I hope you will bear with my commentary on some of the events.

Lovely Gentle Alpacas

Sheep Ready for Competition

Ungroomed sheep: Ready for Mischief
Jacob sheep
There were a Sheep Show and an Alpaca show. Several breeds of sheep were competing. I especially liked the Jacob sheep that had brown, black and white spots with horns. These are called Jacob sheep because of the Bible passage in Genesis 30, where Abraham agreed to only claim the spotted sheep from his father-in-law, Laban’s, flock to build his own wealth.

My friend liked the Alpacas. They were very cute and gentle. They make such gentle cooing sounds, nothing like the baa-ing of a sheep. There were two or three barns of the alpacas in various black, browns, tans and white colors. Their fur is one of the softest, warmest fiber and is used to make nice comfortable garments.

Weaving a Shawl in the Sheep to Shawl Competition

Judging the winning Shawl: I love the colors
The Sheep to Shawl competition had three groups competing. Only two groups finished on time in 4 ½ hours. The wool this year was CVM (California Varigated Mutant). They created a beautiful shawl. It was fun watch the seven team members, card the dyed fiber, spin it, ply it and weave it on a loom.

A Very Fine Orenburg Lace Shawl: Amazingly Fine
The Vendor hall was full with a variety of Fibers, yarns and accessories for sale. There wer e also some beautiful fleeces to buy and it was very hard to control myself from buying another fleece. I still have some fleeces I purchased a year ago that need to be processed. I may have to send them to get processed professionally. I ended up getting some beautiful BFL/silk blend roving and 2 ropes in the colors of reds and blues of merino/silk and merino/bamboo roving to spin. I was simply fascinated with the Carding demonstration of a Patrick Green production Supercard carding machine. If I ever wanted to process fiber in great qualities, this would be ideal. Alas, I will have to be content with my Patrick Green Deb’s Deluxe for small projects.

There was a Best Spinner Contest this year made up of 5 contestants. The prize this year was a Spinolution Spinning Wheel. We watched as the contestants were given different mystery fibers and demonstrated their spinning abilities. We didn’t stay for all the competition but enjoyed watching what we saw.

Handspinning Competition
videoThe music on the Stage was very enjoyable. They had some Christian, Dixieland, Blues and Bluegrass groups, as well as demos from children’s Dance studio and Karate clubs. We spent a lot of time listening to them.

One of the best things this year was the Food. There were several vendors and a rule this year was that each one had to sell at least one lamb product. After watching a Lamb cooking demonstration, we dug in and bought a BBQ Lamb Sampler: loin, chop & ribs from Superior Farms Vendor. It was absolutely delicious.

A Very Creative Display of Dyed Skeins of Handspun Yarn
Lambtown was a nice weekend get away. We survived it and enjoyed each other’s company. I feel like another hurdle has been crossed. I am still alive and look forward to the next adventure.

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