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18 June 2005 @ 09:56 pm
Estes Park Wool Festival Report & skein results  
Ahhhh - finally home from 3 glorious days up in Estes. 3 whole days of fiber geeking. It was goodness.

Thursday started with a fun drive up the hill. Always a beautiful drive, and that early in the morning there is no one on the road to impede my mad driving sk1ls *smile*

Estes Park remains one of my absolutely favorite places in the world. It's always more breathtaking than I remember. It makes my soul sing. I really must find a way to retire up there - preferably next week.

Thursday's class was fun - got to hang out with my companion in crime, a few other people I know locally, as well as a few people I only get to see once or twice a year. Learned some good tips I didn't know, got to talk with some of the very knowledgeable people in the area, and was given some fun stuff to play with. Lunch during workshop days is always amazing - a cafeteria full of wildly creative people all talking fiber.

We made the very wise choice to stay in one of the cute little cabins - so we would have plenty of room to spin and such ;) It was lovely, right up by the entrance to the park. Sitting on the little porch for an hour with the evening sun streaming over the mountain, watching the chipmunks and ground squirrels play in the grass was magical and enchanting. I might have dozed a bit in the warmth and quiet.

Friday's class was *fabulous*. If any of y'all ever get a chance to take a class from Linda Shelhamer do so! She is extremely knowledgeable and her classes are packed full of wonderful information. I was fortunate enough to attend her Spinning Self-Striping Yarns class – it covered not only the mechanics of self-striping yarns, but also had a lot of good color theory information. And she gave us tons of fun colored rovings to play with too.

Friday night is everyone's very favorite part of the show – preview shopping for workshop participants! I scored 3 magnificent white Clyde fleeces, 1 gorgeous silver Clyde fleece, and a stunning moorit fleece out of the fleece show which fades from medium brown to light cream down the length of the staple. The last one was in very close contention for Res. G Ch. Colored fleece, and it was very interesting to watch the judge take 10 mins to make his final choice. His comments were very illuminating. I still haven't, however, worked up the courage to ask any of the handspinning fleece judges the question I always want to – 'Do you spin?'. I wonder how many of the commercial wool classers/wool judges do?

Saturday was tons of fun. My fiber buddy and I had a moment of silly craziness after our spinning mentor was so prominently displayed in the latest issue of Spin-Off (see the fabulous drop-spindle article) and decided we needed to be groupies. So C** drew up this really cute sheep and we had a couple of shirts made that say 'Maggie taught me to spin' with the sheep on it. She was overwhelmed when we snuck into the vendor barn and showed up at the booth in our shirts *smile* The amazing thing is just how many other people learned to spin from Maggie. I must have been stopped by more than 20 people over the course of the day. I got to hear many wonderful stories about people's first spinning experiences, and it seemed everyone wanted a shirt too. We shall see what happens with that.

The skein competition was also Saturday, and I am very pleased with my results. The judge was Deb Robson, who was the editor of Spin-Off for a few years and is a life-long spinner herself. Not counting the Professional class (which is only for comments – no ribbons or anything) I entered 5 skeins and came away with 3 blue ribbons and Reserve Grand Champion Skein. Including 2 scores of 59 (out of 60 possible). It was pretty tough competition, with 72 skeins entered. I was really happy to see that 30 some-odd people showed up for the judge's comments. She took the time to talk about all of the skeins which placed, and her commentary was both insightful and helpful. There were some really wonderful skeins entered, including some stuff from the juniors that absolutely kicked butt.

Now I'm happy, tired, and my living room smells of raw fleece – good stuff.

-the redhead-