Friday evening, the Ravelry members at Black Sheep gathered in the camping area for a potluck "meet-up," a new term for what was basically a mixer. About 20 people showed up, lugging chairs, knitting, spinning wheels, spindles, and goodies; not bad for something completely organized via the Internet. I was struck by how much many of us have in common, whether it's kids, work, or our love of fiber. All in all, it seemed a successful event, in spite of the oppressive heat.
The heat broke late Friday night with a patter of rain on the tent. As the first drops fell, I scurried out of the tent and gathered things up to shove under the awning over the central camp area. Throughout the rest of the night, we were treated to small showers of fat drops that sounded like popcorn as they hit the tent. Near dawn, several loud booms of thunder woke the entire camp, but we soon settled back to our respective beds. I learned later than the main part of the storm front was south of us; the dry lightning ignited nearly 1,000 wild fires in Northern California, many of which are still burning a week later.
Saturday was the big wool sale. Wool judging, under Letty Price, had gone on for most of Friday, but I managed to catch the end of the judging for the Breeder's Cup. In this competition, each shepherd/shepherdess has a group of 5 fleeces representative of his/her flock. When the judge pulled out a lock from a bag of Border Leicester, I couldn't help my self. "Oooh, sexy," came out of my mouth and fell into one of those absolute silences. Even the judge looked up. Everybody laughed and agreed, so I didn't feel quite so embarrassed. The sexy Border Leicester, along with a magnificent Border Leicester/Corriedale/Merino cross, secured the Breeder's Cup for Elizabeth Hubbard of Hub Corriedales.
Once the wool show and judging was over, the shoppers were allowed in for "the viewing." For about 30 minutes, everybody has the opportunity to examine the fleeces in the show, decide which (if any) are worth trying to purchase, and make plans to be the first person to the bag of fleece. This year, I was torn between two: a beautiful black Merino that had won the Colored Fine Wools, Greater Than 60s, and the above-mentioned Border Leicester cross. My problem was solved when someone offered to drive a fleece home for me. Next problem: How can I be in two places at the same time? Both fleeces were highly desireable, and across the room from each other. Fortunately, another spinner volunteered to run for the Border Leicester cross while I ran for the Merino. With our plans made, we exited the building and got into line for the big sale.
When the doors opened, it was an orderly, but hurried, scurry into the building. Some woman, caught sitting on the ground talking on her cell phone when the doors opened, nearly got trampled, but otherwise it was orderly. I ran over and grabbed the Merino, the other woman grabbed the Border Leicester, and within a few minutes I was standing in line, waiting to write out a check for both fleeces and receiving congratulations on the fleeces in my possession. The exclamations and congratulations continued across the parking lot and into the campground as we carried my new purchases back to the camp. I pulled a couple locks from each bag and hand-washed them in the ladies' room so I could see what I had gotten: they're beautiful!
Once I finished buying all that fleece, I was pretty much "shopped out," so I spent the rest of the festival enjoying myself--spinning, talking to people, attending the annual potluck and Spinner's Lead, and hanging out. The train trip back to the Bay Area was uneventful, and now I'm facing washing a mountain of laundry and fleece.