Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Road Trip!

Well . . . . the road trip was about two and a half weeks ago.  But nonetheless, we took a road trip, and it wasn't for a scale model show.  I was cruising the web about a month ago and saw that there was a fiber festival in Montgomery, Alabama at the end of April.  Montgomery isn't exactly next door--but neither is it across the country.  It's about a 4-hour drive away--just at the outer limit of what we'll do for a day trip.  But I haven't been out of town since August, and I haven't been to a fiber festival in three years (well--not quite.  There have been a couple of small alpaca festivals in town).  So I cajoled Bob, and with the promise of barbeque we hit the road.  He even took Friday off so we wouldn't have to go on a busy Saturday.

It was a little tricky finding the festival.  Montgomery apparently saves money by not having road signs, so we took a few side trips.  The fairgrounds also didn't have a sign, nor did it post its address anywhere.  So there was another bypass and turnaround and we decided the large coliseum building was probably it.  There wasn't . . . um . . much going on.  The coliseum was empty.  We walked around back and there was some other buildings--still no signs.  I was starting to apologize to Bob when we walked into one and voila!  Fiber Festival!

Not huge, but big enough.  While it is possible to order fiber through the mail, you never know what you're going to get.  Fiber is tactile--you not only see it but feel it, letting it slip between your fingers.  It satisfies the hunter-gatherer need that no click of the mouse can.  And being as we had driven all that way, I had to buy enough to make the trip worthwhile, right?

And there were some cute animals, of course.  At first I thought the green bunny had just been in the humid south for too long, but it turned out to be food coloring (there was an orange and a pink one also--the owner had let her grandkids dye them for Easter).  And some alpacas that just looked silly after being sheared.

And there was the fiber.  This show was small enough that I could shop the way that I like--go around and look at everything, then go back around a second time and gather.  So here's my swag:

A blend of camel down and silk.  As always, pictures don't do justice.  This looks (and feels!) like caramel whipped cream and I just want to roll around in it.

This is a merino/tencel (a type of rayon) blend.  Soft and shiny--and a gradient muddy green.  I love mud greens--olive, khaki.  I keep thinking I'll break away, and it keeps being the first color I reach for.  The woman who dyed this said the inspiration was pond scum--but she couldn't call it "Pond Scum" so it's officially "Asparagus."  Personally, I like Pond Scum.
This is bamboo (rayon made from bamboo).  Again, soft and shiny (when it comes to fiber I'm part magpie).  I love the copper color.

This is an alpaca/wool blend from Chasing Rainbows dyeworks.  She does amazing colors.  I purposely put down the muddy green rovings (that's what combed fiber is called) and got some red (but it's a shade that will go nicely with green . . .)
And just for fun, some sari silk.  This comes from sari factories--to be honest, it's probably floor sweepings.  All the leftover silk thread is heavily carded to break it back down into fiber.  It will make a lumpy-bumpy yarn, but it's still silk and it's colorful.
And finally, a tool that I didn't need.  When you're measuring your yarn, it's done as "wraps per inch" (WPI).  Wrapping it around a ruler works just fine.  But some woodworkers make  WPI tools--a turned piece of wood with an inch-long indentation in it.  As I said--a ruler works just as well.  But look at this wood--silver spalted maple.  Just so beautiful.  And it feels nice.

And what will I do with all this?  Put it in the stash.  I have now reached a condition called "SABLE" - Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.  It will be admired, and fondled, and samples spun.  And maybe it will get spun and turned into something--or not.  I'm rather like a miser who enjoys playing with his pretty gold coins more that he would buying anything with them.  I have luxury literally at my fingertips.  My precious  . . .

Back to reality--Bob was promised barbeque on the way home.  We had passed a likely possibility on our way to the festival.  There are hints about a place that good barbeque will be found inside.   It should look a bit lived-in (a nice way of saying slightly run-down), and there should be a patriotic saying somewhere (note the "We Support Our Troops on the wall).
There should be a happy pig somewhere:

And it should be world famous.

And when we walked in, the waitress had big hair, called us "Honey," and all the side dishes except for the cole slaw were deep fried.  It met expectations--the ribs just sort of slid off the bones, and the corn nuggets and fried okra were crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside.

And we got home safe and sound.  And a week later we got tiny Wilhem, who is looking oddly mature in this picture--a hint of the fine cat he will become (but not yet--it's time for his bottle).

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