Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rock Day

Yesterday was Rock Day and I was invited to attend a spinning event/potluck at Jean Franklin's who owns Spin Web. For my non fibery friends Rock Day or St. Distaff Day is historically the day after 12th Day (Epiphany, end of Christmas holiday celebrations) when women returned back to their work, which at one time was spinning for their weaving. Apparently "Rocken" meant distaff in German and a lady at the event yesterday told us "Rock" is the Danish word for spinning wheel. Since English is a Germanic language with many similarities between old English and old German, that must be how it started. Also a distaff is the vertical piece of some spinning wheels upon which the flax was tied and spun from. Apparently the men went back to work the following week, so many pranks were played against the women on that day. (No pranks yesterday...that I know of!) In the pictures above you can see two of the spinners and one man who teaches Navajo weaving. Most of the people know each other from guild. I have not joined any of the guilds because they all meet in the daytime and I cannot afford babysitting for something like that. But I did find out there is Hangtown Fibers which is in Placerville. They meet in the day as well, however they have a spinning day on every third Saturday. I am going to find out about doing that.

The event was held at Jean's house in El Dorado Hills, CA which is just up the hwy from us. One of the things I will miss when we leave CA is the beautiful oak trees. This is a young oak, but I have seen some that are said to be up to 500 years old. They are gnarled and twist and look incredible. In my teen years when I was drawing and painting some, I used to draw trees like that. They came from my imagination...I didn't know they actually existed. This tree was next to the sheep pasture.

After the majority of people
left (there had been 30+), I was able to get up and stretch my legs and visit around the room. I was surprised to meet 4 other Lendrum owners. It was neat to see all the different wheels. There was a Schacht, several Lendrums, a few Ashford Traditionals, an Ashford Elizabeth 2, a couple Ashford Travelers, a Grace and an old parlor wheel of unknown maker. It was also neat to see what people were making. There were a couple beginners like me but several very experienced spinners and several sheep owners, mostly Shetland and also Cotswold and Merino and crosses. One lady had the most beautiful champagne colored silk, another and a soft light denim/white colored cotton, wool blends with Angelina and I got several compliments on my dyed BFL roving from Winderwood Farm on eBay.

At first I was very frustrated because I had a lot of fits and starts. I love the Lendrum, but I am still getting used to the feel. It seems like I have to work harder to get the twist in it than I did with my Traditional. So I have adjusted to a smaller whorl and treadle faster and still end up with soft spots that pull apart and leave whispy "caterpillars" (what my girls call them). Some of it I think was nervousness and also since I got there late, the only place to sit was in the walkway to the kitchen. When people settled and were done eating and going back and forth, I was able to get into a rhythm and do better. People took a look at what I had spun and said it looked fine. One lady was spinning 2 ply lace weight on her Lendrum and said that since I was going to be able to do fine with laceweight once I get more confident because I was able to do fairly fine on the regular flyer. She had ordered the very fast flyer which is about $140 and is meant for spinning lace weight, but she didn't feel it was necessary and said she probably will only use the fast flyer. That was a relief to hear. I have the fast flyer which was considerably lower at about $40. I am very excited about this because I hope to spin wool and silk in the future to use in my shawl ministry.

One of the nice people I met there shares my name and is a knit blogger too. She is an awesome knitter and was wearing some beautiful autumn colored socks in Trekking XXL. We found out we are both on the Six Socks KAL, which I have not been actively doing for some time...but I loved her pattern and will have to look it up. She also likes lace and was working on a feather and fan shawl (Shoalwater from Fiber Trends) and had the most gorgeous Noro Silk Garden entrelac scarf I have ever seen! Did I take a picture? NO! What was I thinking! I missed the boat on that one. She and I may be taking lessons together from Jean. She lives north of town and I live on the way to Jean's so she may drive to my house and I will drive to Jean's. Hopefully that will work out. We seem to be in about the same place...a bit of knowledge on spinning, but needing help to put it all together!

At the end of the day, a family came to pick up some Shetland sheep that they purchased from Jean. Here she is sitting in the feeding pen and also talking to the sheep and blowing into its face to communicate. There were two lucky girls there getting Shetland sheep for their 4-H project! One thing I forgot to ask Jean was how these sheep survive in the heat that we get in California!
This was my first time seeing Shetland sheep in
person. I fell in love! Now I know what my friends Beth and Cary love about them. First of all I have only seen pictures and as in these pictures it is difficult to see their size, but they are about knee height. And they seem very friendly. I had to laugh as they jumped and bounced...they were like Tiggers on springs...boing! boing! boing! How could you not smile watching them?!

It's funny too...I had
just heard on tv that the sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than any of our other senses. I know I used to drive my Mom crazy saying, "What smells?" or "What stinks?" when I was a kid. I don't know if she even remembers that. Well, it must be genetic as my son does the same thing! :o) Anyway, there was fresh hay in the holding pen where the sheep had been herded so that they could pick out the girls' sheep. The moment I smelled it, I was taken back in time more than 30 years to being in the horse stalls as a young girl and was flooded with memories! I'm surprised it didn't make me wheeze since I'm allergic to most grasses, but it was also about 32* and the mercury was starting to drop, so that probably helped! Anyway, suffice it to say I enjoyed the sheep!
For a few brief moments we had some sunlight shining on them which was good for pictures. I can't wait to go back when I have my new camera! She will be having a shearing the second Saturday of March and I am hoping to go to that as well. I have never seen that in person and would love to take photos.

When the selection and identification process was finished, the sheep were happy to charge back into the pasture. They went so fast that I hardly got this photo! You can see it is in a bit of a blur! LOL They were so funny in their mad dash it made me laugh.

We ended the day at Jean's with the beginnings of a sunset and another old oak tree. I am so thankful for her hospitality and I am so glad I found her in an ad in a magazine and emailed her, almost a year ago!

Unfortunately I came home with a migraine and I am staying home from church this morning, which makes me sad. I want the fellowship, but my head can't stand to be around people, all my nerves feel like they are on active duty on the surface of my skin. And it is super cold and we are having a plumbing problem. I left the sheepy/fibery day and came back to reality! LOL

Uncle Dick is holding his own. He is being cared for in a "comfort room" at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. Jack says Dick is getting the best of care and that everyone has been really good. This is a blessing! So many times we hear negative hospital stories and during such difficult times as this, we all need all the kindness we can get. Grandma is holding up well. Mom has been able to be there with her. And Fawnda is doing as well as you can when you are losing your Daddy. Please pray for those who wait!

As I wait and pray I am finishing up chemo hats. Not thrilled about the Fun Fur, but it's such a wonderful cause. Having worked in peds for ten years and having a couple very special cancer patients, especially, my little Elisha, who went to the arms of Jesus, I really have a heart for these kids. And it felt good to knit from my stash too! :o)

1 comment:

Carissa said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed Roc Day. It looked like fun, and the sheep are cute!