Sunday, January 29, 2006

thru rain, and mud, and one heck of an infection...

I'm getting exhausted just laying out this entry in my head. Today was... overwhelming. Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Be prepared for a HUGE post... Heavy in images.

At 7 am I got up, on 5 hours of sleep (yay, infections!), and trekked out into the freezing rain to meet the students I would be "hosting" (as good a word as any) at McTavish Farm's shearing day. We arrived, in 6 - 7? different cars, and immediately the students/ UO affiliates got to work! I was amazed.

Note to new readers: I've/ we've been visiting McTavish farm for... 3 years? For the last 3 years we've used one of their fleeces for Sheep-to-Shawl, and they always invite us out to visit the new lambs and such... Tom and Tracy Livernois own the farm.

(McTavish Farm)

The UO'ers all jumped right in, and really seemed to enjoy themselves... out in the freezing rain and mud. MUD. I came home coated in it. We actually contemplated taking Em's car to a CAR WASH (in the rain!) to get rid of the mud... but, I digress.

Here is some poor ewe being sheared, from start to finished nekkedness:

(above: ha! The Register-Guard, the local newspaper, showed up to do an article...)

(above: Tracy and the nekked ewe)

From 8:30 - 12:30pm:
Here are a couple of pix of our UO students and affiliates jumping in to learn how to skirt (clean) a fleece right off the sheep. See the UO OP on the green jacket? Means University of Oregon Outdoor Program, which explains the cheerfulness in rain and driving wind...

And, at 11 am (?), here some of us are again, taking pix and helping subdue a ram about to be shorn. I think this was Chip:

During one of the lulls, Emily, Davana (is that how her name is spelled Em? - she's Em's "little sister"), and I went to visit the rams in their barn...

*This* handsome fellow is Porter. We all just loooooved his beard and mane. See them? Pure black! And it totally showed when he was shorn... which will come later.

And here is His Highness, Finnegan, who wouldn't give me a frontal view, so I shot his horns... look at the curl! They'd make FABULOUS shofars.

At 12pm, here we are, after DRAGGING (yes, me, I helped DRAG this ram to the shearer) Porter to meet his fate. Tom wanted a pic of Porter in all his glory before we took it away ;)

And here's Davana petting Porter, who was remarkably mellow about being touched. (see all those cars in the background?? yeah, those are ours...)

And here's poor Porter - nekked! Look how small he seems now! Tom and Tracy's DOG was nearly the same size... It's amazing how most of that bulk is just their wool.

During this whole affair, I helping "move" 3 rams, and skirted a dozen fleeces. It was fun, in a cold and muddy way. I certainly learned a lot more about Shetland sheep. They're so cute! And sooooooft. We kept petting the fleeces after they came off their respective owners. OOOh. I MADE myself not buy any... even tho there were some reallyreally pretty ones.

At 12:30 pm, after sitting in the warmth of their house for a while, and $100, we left to find food and set-up for Guild. Emily *made* me write a check for her - she bought a 4-harness, 15-inch/ 18-inch(?) LeClerc table loom from Tracy. She promptly paid me back, blessedly.

(After running said loom back to her house...) We went to lunch, and then up to the Guild's office and started setting up for today's meeting. Which almost no one showed up for. Okay. Jane, Gail, Claire, Em, Devana, and I. Oh, and Mr. Peabody the angora BUNNY! Jane has a bunch of bunnies, and she brought Mr Peabody to visit us today! He was sooooooo cute. At this point, I was fading out, so the pix aren't too good.

He was pretty well behaved, and let each of us hold him in our lap and pet him. He did try to explore under the couch and chew on some yarn - but he was a good little bunny. What made the whole experience even better was the fact that student reporters from the Daily Emerald (the UO's newspaper) kept walking past (their office is next to ours). At first they'd stare and then look away quickly, like they weren't staring at all or as if they might be crazy.... As if they were thinking, 'did I really just see a giant white rabbit?'

But, I think they're accoustomed to our weirdness by now (no one SAID anything, which is new). One would hope anyway. I know the Commetator (the neocon rag) guys think we're crazy (they're on the OTHER side of our office). The nice thing about liberals is they EMBRACE oddity - like having an extremely large and fuzzy rabbit hop around the student union... That, or they're just too used to pretending there isn't a 300-lb gorilla in the room ;)

And here's Mr Peabody, alias Houdini (don't even ask), after one attempt to discover new ground (for rabbits) under the couch. We caught him eventually, tho.

For the first time in WEEKS(!!!) we had a quiet and calm meeting, we taught knitting w/o craziness and we got to pet a rabbit. And, at 4 o'clock exactly (NOT 4:40!) I got to go home.

AND CRASH, face first, in bed.

On 5 hours of sleep last night, I'm amazed I could walk and talk thru today. So, I slept. Nice, deep sleep. Then, got up and decided to attack Le Cloche. Now, I know some of you are thinking - is this girl crazy? She has an infection! She ran around wrestling sheep all day! Surely, she doesn't need to go and do more hard labor...

Nope, I'm a glutton for punishment... AAAAAND I AM A GENIUS!!! (and so modest)

Here's the beginning of Le Cloche, when I cast it on last night...

And it finished, unfelted, on MY head. Needs to be shrunk a bit, eh?? It did, after 15 minutes of felting in my bathtub.

And, sadly, Picassa hates me, and didn't save these last two pix on the right angle. Here's the finished cloche! Well, not completely finished... needs a ribbon and my Deco accoutrement (which I actually stole from several '20's hats and stuff, mwahaha). But, here is the front (on it's side):

And here is the side (on it's side):

And! Here is Le Cloche on my head! Ignore the red ribbon, it's for sizing. I wanted to check and make sure it fit. My head is 23", Radioactivecrafter's is 22". If it fits me... Yay! I didn't put it on *quite* right, but I was tired and one shot was enough.

I am so pleased with myself! My genius knows no bounds. Well, not really. Trust me, I'm not THAT crazy. I am a bit loony with success right now.

But, I had this amazing idea to do the brim decrease on a mitre-like shaping. So, instead of being ROUND there are four soft corners! Which 1920's flappers fricking loved! The hat screams Art Deco. Can't you just see some broad wearing this in the Great Gatsby or Cold Comfort Farm?? The only disappointment is the streakyness of the yarn. I POURED raspberry and violet dye together, and they still striped! And even felting didn't touch it. But, I am HAPPY I got it right! (does little dance)

I think I might have to make one of these for myself...


And now, I think I can go to bed.

& Quack
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    Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

    I'm a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, a Peace Corps nominee, and trying to knit, spin, and craft up my stash before I get sent off to a foreign country for 2 years.

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