Who says adults can't go on fieldtrips?! My friend, Michelle, bought a spinning wheel when we were at MDSW earlier in May, and she wanted to go to the Mannings for their Annual Spinning Seminar. Willow and I came along, and we had such a fun time (even if the GPS was trying to dump us off somewhere in Maryland!) When we arrived, one of the first things we saw was this huge teepee covered with afgans. Willow wanted to go inside, but the entrance was blocked. Wouldn't this be cool to have in your backyard as a playhouse?
We also saw some Moorit sheep. I don't know much about sheep, but these ones seemed to be very docile, small creatures.
Angora bunnies! The one of the right was a 12 week old female, and the owner was having a contest for someone to name the bunny. All of her bunnies have names from children's books. Each person was allowed two suggestions - Willow suggested Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) and Jasmine (from Aladdin), I suggested Olivia (from the Olivia the Pig series), and Michelle suggested Jo (from Little Women). The winner wins 4oz of angora fiber!
A little later in the afternoon the owner demonstrated how she clips the angora bunnies' fur - they are actually very compliant, just sitting on her lap as she trims them.
These next two pictures show Willow's favourite part of the day - the Cormo sheep (who is wearing a jacket to keep his fleece from getting dirty with nature matter):
And the Border Leister Sheep shearing:
Again, I was quite taken how well-behaved these animals are when you trim them. Cutting my cat's claws takes two people, a towel to wrap the cat in, and the ability to clip at a land-speed record.
We also met Joan Ruane, who had come to the Mannings all the way from Arizona, and she demonstrated how easy it was to spin with cotton. She grows cotton in her garden and can pluck the blossoms right off the bushes and spin with it right off the blossom. When she was done, she says she likes to give cotton seeds to her students so the can plant it - and she gave me one, plied to the seed:
All of the above was outside - when I got into the shop, I was amazed to see what had to be the biggest yarn store I had ever been in. It encompassed 3-4 rooms, and that didn't even include the room with the spinning wheels you could try, or the room with the looms to weave on. I ended up with seven skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in Cobalt Heather for my Ravelympics project:
I am making the Paprika hooded vest for Willow as my Ravelympics project, but I bought enough yarn to make Piper one with the same yarn. I told you I was going to milk this dressing Willow and Piper alike as long as I could! The pattern is quite amazing - it has sizes 6 months through size 12/14. I am going to cast on for Piper's vest soon - I figure that way it will help to familiarize myself with the pattern before I am on the clock.
I also bought a single skein of Mendocino in Red Rainbow to make a hat for Piper:
I love how it looks from the top of the skein:
Willow, Michelle, and I had a wonderful time at the Mannings - I could gave spent oh-so-much-more money. At some point in the future, if I decide that I want a spinning wheel, I know absolutely where I am going for a test drive.