This year the kids and I went to the holy grail of all things fiber oriented. Lambtown USA, which is held in Dixon, CA every year as a celebration of sheep, rabbits, and other fiber animals and a showcase of all their beautiful bounty. Its a small down home festival where fiber geeks like myself congregate and dream of throwing themselves in a pile of yarn from fauna of all kinds. Okay, well maybe not everyone thinks like I do. Okay, maybe nobody thinks like I do but there were lots of people there just as excited as I was about the whole thing.
Of course I forgot my camera (it was the day after Tuesday was hospitalized and I was barely able to have a clear thought) so you will have to deal with my "file' footage. Sorry.
The first place we visited was the angora rabbit building. Can I just tell you that I think my husband is so mean for not letting me start my own angora rabbit operation? I mean they are much smaller than most fiber animals and so dang cute. They come in the English
varieties which is quite European if I do say so myself. I swear some of those rabbits were nothing but ginormous fluffballs with eyes and ears. The kids thought they were absolutely adorable and loved petting their ultrasoft fur. Next time you look at that angora sweater you own think of those cuddly little bunnies who donated their fur to your beautification and think about how Sharlene really should own a dozen or so...
Next we hit up the sheep, the cornerstone of the fiber market. You know, those silly lanolin and wool covered lemmings who love nothing more than to be part of the group. There are so many varieties of sheep and I won't bother you with all of them (Merino, Navajo Churro Jacob's, Rambouillet, Shropshire, Romney... okay I will stop) but I will say they are gorgeous. I think most of us can thank this animal for providing us with a sweater or two.
My kids enjoyed saying "baaahhh" back to the sheep and feeling their thick wool. I enjoy spinning said wool into yarn and creating a wide variety of crocheted items. I really want to own sheep but my completely unfair husband says we can't fit sheep in our backyard. He never lets me do anything.
The sheep dog trials are always a big hit with children and adults alike. I think it is so amazing to watch these animals at work. They are so incredibly skilled and intense. And they love their jobs. Now I have rounded up sheep into corrals and let me tell you, its no easy feet. The sheep dog is truly an amazing animal. Creeping low along the ground and making a quick move at just the right time. One day I will own one. My border collie will drive in my sheep and my kids. There will be no late night teenage escapades with old Trixie (that's her name in my head) on the watch.
I must mention that they not only celebrated the wool that the sheep produces but also the meat. I have nothing much to really say about that aspect since I don't eat sheep! Okay- I may have been talked into having a bit of lamb in a Greek dish while intoxicated on New Years Eve some years back and it may have been delicious but I swear I haven't had any since. I just can't bear the thought of eating those poor little lambs. I know, I am weird. I think ever since I pulled a lamb out of its mama in college I have not been able to look at them the same way. But for those of you who love to eat lamb, there is a lamb eating contest and meat preparation booths. So you can enjoy that while visions of wooly little creatures coming to get you in the middle of the night dance in my head. Whaa ha ha haaaa.....
Yet another building we visited was the fiber building. It was a moment in time I wish I could have had to myself. Alas, I had children who did not want to spend hours going through roving (that the raw fiber you use for spinning) and yarn of all colors and fibers and weights. It was truly a veritable yarnicopia. It was probably a good thing I couldn't waste the day away ina sea of yarn because most of those fancy yarns are very expensive and a yarn binge would have forced me to start selling myself on the streets to cover the cost. It was fun to walk through the aisles and dream a little dream when I would one day have my own booth of alpaca, angora, cashmere, and merino yarns. They also had plenty of spinning wheels (why oh why did I not buy one when we could afford it pre-children?) and weaving looms (why oh why don't I know how to weave yet?) to buy. It was a blissful 15 minutes.
I do want to finally mention that in addition to all we saw there is a Sheep to Shawl Competition in which teams compete to create a shawl from shearing of the sheep to spinning of the yarn to weaving of a shawl, all in the span of 4.5 hours. Amazing stuff. There are also plenty of classes where you can learn to spin, knit, felt, dye, and even start your own angora rabbit business. It really is a great event and something anyone into fiber arts or someone would love to learn more should really look into attending. Plus its a great way to teach children where their knit sweater came from and prove to them that scarves don't grow on trees in the back of the Gap. Perhaps its even a great way to prove that to yourself....
This post is dedicated to my dear friend JK. She is the only person I have ever met who shares the same fantasies of road side yarn stands and acres of fiber animals that I do. Love you girl!
Note: picture of french angora courtesy of http://www.germanangora.net