Monday, June 08, 2009

World's Longest Blog Post Ever, & SOCKS!

Wherein I attempt to catch you up on 2+months missing from the Velma's World timeline without boring the striped PANTS off you! Can she do it??

Somehow, I've once again slipped on the mantle of Bad Blogger of Non-Posting. When was my last post again? Oh, yeah, APRIL freakin' THIRD! How'd THAT happen?? Well, you see, life got in the way, as it is at times wont to do. So let's play catch-up, shall we?

When I left you waaay back in April, you might recall I was 3 days into a Yarn-Every-Day spinning challenge posed by my fellow yarnie Blondechicken in the Art Yarn & Novelty group on Ravelry. Although I didn't actually make it to the finish line at the end of April, I did get a good ways along, & got some quite lovely yarns from the process. Wanna see? Here's a slide show of the pics on Flickr.

Easter weekend I went with my friend Shaylin & her wee kiddo Dinon to the Table Bluff area south of Ferndale in search of the golden egg hidden by the Times-Standard. Full of about $500 worth of gift certificates from local Humboldt businesses, although we didn't find it we had a great time on a beautiful spring day. Here are some photos for our viewing pleasure. (We're standing on the overlook just above Fleener Creek, I believe. Fibery types, look for the sheep at the end!)

About that time, I got a couple of fiber yummy packages, one from Texas (why do I always think they're in Colorado?) & one from JAPAN! The former was an unsolicited, much appreciated, & very decadent sample set from Buffalo Gold, the purveyors of luxuriant bison down fibers in the US. I "met" Ron Miskin from BG on Twitter (find them there as BuffaloGold). In my package were 2, count 'em *two*!, 1oz puffs of fiber lovingly packaged in pretty organza bags: one each of 1oo% bison down & bison/alpaca roving. Scrumptious, thanks Ron! Spinning readers, you really NEED this stuff, I'm telling you.

As for the package from Japan, it came from mika, miquraffreshia on Ravelry (she knits & crochets the most amazing things, be sure to look at her projects page), who did a handspun art yarn swap with me (I am a bad swapper this year, I still haven't finished her package! Bad, bad Velma, no donut.) She sent me TWO skeins of lovely handspun, and TWO pieces of lovely red fabric, and COOOKIES! Could not have asked for a better swap. Here's the photo documentation of what she sent. Mika, I PROMISE I'll finish your swap package soon and send it off to ya.

In the middle of the yarn challenge in April (yeah, we're still only up to APRIL!), I went on a fiber-foray road trip with my friend Janet Finch, aka Aunt Janet of the FAMED Aunt Janet's Fiber Mill in Whitethorn (with whom I'll be traveling to Black Sheep Gathering in just over a week; more on that further down the page). She is a kick-ass blast o' fun, right up my alley, & we had a 5 day HOOT of a time driving around NorCal in search of fibery goodness, then washing, dyeing, carding, & spinning it up at her mill. And there were sheep, SHEEP! (Is it just me, or am I suddenly speaking in all caps?) First day we visited our friend Ace Vandenack, proprietor of Ace in the Hole Ranch in Redcrest- he breeds award-winning registered (& coated!) Romneys, & he had plenty of happy sheepies for me to photograph. (Sorry, fiberistas & fiberistos, Ace is old school & has no website. But he'll be at Black Sheep Gathering & California Wool Festival with scrumptious fleeces for sale.) Here's a sheep-filled slideshow from Day 1.

After resting up at Janet's lovely home Saturday night, we headed out early the next morning for Day 2. First stop: Wyammy Ranch in Occidental for shearing day. Unfortunately, some idiot wanted to stop for lunch rather than it in the car, so we missed the actual haircutting (um, yeah, that would be me), but it was still a great visit to a lovely woman-owned-and-run working sheep & horse ranch. JoAnn Slissman, the woman who runs the joint (who I have a wee bit of a girl-crush on, I must say), raises award-winning Romney sheep & crosses with Wensleydale and Targhee - yumm-o fiber for handspinners! I was in the market for some Wensleydale, & got a lovely small fleece that I later split with Kristy of hands on CRAFT in Arcata. Mostly what they had was LAMBS! Sweet, kick-out-their-feet-in-sheer-joy lambs! She even had THREE sets of TRIPLETS! If you can stand this much cuteness, check out the slideshow:

After we left Occidental, we headed for Covelo & my friend Janet Heppler's Nebo Rock Ranch. Another rancher without a website, Janet raises Merino & Merino-Corriedale sheep and angora goats - my favorite. Got me some GOAT LOVE!

Day 3 & part of 4 of our fiber adventure were all about washing & dyeing the fibers we purchased over the first two days. And lemme tell ya, BOY does Janet have a SWEET setup for that! Inside her cottage mill, she has an array of 4 sinks side-by-side next to a washing machine. Overhead she's rigged a residential garage door opener mounted on the ceiling, with 3 rows of sliding pulley-driven hanging bags suspended above the sinks. You just put your raw fleece into one of the mesh bags hanging above a sinkful of extremely hot & soapy water, lower the bag into the water using the pulleys, tie it off & leave it to soak. When it's 'pre-washed', you slide it to the next sink over, & you do that a total of 4 times; the final tub is a clear rinse, then into the machine to spin out the water, & voila!, you're ready to pass it outside to the dyeing tables! Here, lemme show you:

Day 4 wrapped up our sheep-to-yarn fibery adventure with us carding & spinning. But by 'carding' I don't mean some little wimpy hand-cranked carder, I mean a serious, 'Danger'-sign bedecked, bad-ass MOFO of a commercial carding machine! Check it out:

We also did a little bit of spinning, as you can see here. Janet taught me how to do the long-draw, demo'ed her great wheel, & gave my Lendrum a try. We took pics!

There were a few leftover pics from our fiber adventure that ended up stranded in a folder by themselves, & I don't want them to feel lonely, so here are some random pics, including some of amazing welded metal sculpture made from repurposed machinery parts that stand about 25 feet tall outside of Real Goods in Hopland, California.

Lessee, that wraps up April, whew! But that still leaves ALL of May, AND a week of June! However, I'm bushed, & gotta wrap it up for tonight. I've been working on this post ALL Day LONG, can you believe it? So I'll just have to use the '& Socks' part of the title as a teaser to bring you back tomorrow which is, coincidentally, my BIRTHDAY! Woot! So 'til tomorrow then...


  1. Glad to hear from you again! Thanks for catching us up on all your going ons for the last 2 months. Great pics too :)

  2. I think Bison was one of the most expensive fibers I have seen spun up and for sale. Is that true? It was scary soft and luxurious as I recall.

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  4. I'm so glad to hear you're out and about again! Shoot...I'm 5 hours from the Black Sheep Gathering. Maybe next year. I really want to go this year. Maybe I'll make it to September. Have fun!

    (the black sheep link doesn't work)

  5. Whew! I am glad all is well-- your absence was deeply felt and I, for one, am glad to have you back in the Blogverse!

  6. yay! your back and with lots of delicious pics to ogle! Love them all!


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