FIBERUARY – THE LEAD LINE

FIBERUARY

                                           THE LEAD LINE

Most sheep shows have one.  It is an event which shows the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep.  It usually involves children but can also include adults.  It also  involves a young Ewe or a Whether or other fiber animal.

 

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A most well behaved Sheep great outfits

Contestants in most shows have to halter train their sheep or in some cases llamas or Angora Goats.  Not an easy feat in most cases.   The handler needs to wear an outfit made of wool.  Points are added for home made garments.  The garments can be woven, knitted, crocheted or sewn.

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A well behaved Llama and handwoven garments

The contestant leads his or her sheep around a ring and points are given for appearance, handling , outfit and more.

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What a great costume  and such a sweet lamb

This is a not to be missed contest as you never know what will happen when kids and sheep are involved.  Many times you will see a crowd of people chasing after a an unwilling sheep.  The wonderful lessons that a child learns can bee seen at the event.  I encourage all of you to be sure and catch The Lead Line at your favorite sheep show.

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These pictures were taken at The Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair of 2016

 

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THE MASSACHUSETTS SHEEP AND WOOLCRAFT FAIR-FIBERUARY

FIBERUARY      MASSACHUSETTS SHEEP AND WOOLCRAFT FAIR  MAY 27 & 28, 2017

 

Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair :: May 27 & 28, 2017

 

Shepherds are getting their sheep and fleeces ready, vendors are getting wool, yarns and crafts ready for you  to see and workshops are now in place.  Come and join us at the fair.  Located in the beautiful town of Cummington, Massachusetts, at the fairgrounds.   Good food will be available bring the family for a day of fun.  Sheep shows, Dog trails and lots of demos will await you.

WORKSHOPS

We are pleased to present our workshop schedule for 2017. We host great teachers from near and far. Bruce Engebretson writes for Spin Off Magazine, and teaches at Marshfield School of Weaving. He was trained in the Scandinavian tradition of fiber work. Katherine Johnson will teach us about Naalbinding, spelled variously: in English it is needle binding. Emily Gwynn enlightens us on using charts for knitting! Dotty Taft will be bringing her fleet of drum carder for us to experiment on.
On Saturday the cotton expert Joan Ruane of Bisbee AZ will be demonstrating how to spin cotton. On Sunday, Bruce Engebretson will demonstrate. Other guests will be joining us for various demonstrations.. Check out the Website for times and days.  masheepwool.org

 

Potluck Supper

A potluck supper will be held on the fairgrounds dining room at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Everyone is welcome. Please bring a prepared dish or salad sufficient to feed your family to the kitchen by 4:00 p.m. NO BREAD PLEASE! Rolls, beverages, and place settings will be provided.  Both refrigerators and a warming are available on the grounds.

Fleece Judging

The Dog Trials are always an exciting event

See you there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIBERuary UPCOMING EVENTS

Hello FIBERuary Friends

From time to time I will be letting you know of happenings in our local and New England area.

Classes at Sheep and Shawl

Fiber Arts Classes at Sheep & Shawl in South Deerfield:

Beginning & Refresher Knitting – Short Course, Linda Forget – Wed. 6 – 8 pm  Mar 30, Apr 6, 13  (3 sessions) $60 plus materials
Crochet Refresher – Heather McQueen  – Sun. 1 – 3:30 April 3 (1 session)  $25 plus materials   Not a beginner’s class.
Knit Your Dog a Sweater  –  Susan Wright – Sun. 2 – 4 pm April 3 & 10  (2 sessions)  $40 plus materials
Sock Knitting for Beginners – Emily Gwynn – Thurs. 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm April 7, 14, & 21 (3 sessions) $60 plus materials
Learn to Spin on your own wheel – Carole Adams – Sat. afternoons 1:00 – 3:00  April 9, 16 & 23 (3 session) $60 plus materials
Rughooking with Yarn – Carole Adams – Sun. afternoons 1:00 – 3:00 April 10 & 17 (2 session) $40 plus materials  No experience needed.
Helping Hands Project Class (knitting)– Emily Gwynn – Wed. 6-8pm April 13 & 20 (2 sessions)  $40 plus materials
Sweet Marguerites! (fine crochet) – Heather McQueen – Sun. 1 – 3:30 April 17 (1 session)  $25 plus materials
Two-color Brioche (knitting) – Linda Forget – Wed. and Thur. 1:00 – 3:00 April 20 & 21 (2 sessions) $40 plus materials
Helping Hands Project Class (knitting) – Emily Gwynn – Wed. 6-8pm May 4 & 11 (2 sessions)  $40 plus materials
Entrelac for Beginners (knitting) – Beth Altemari   We hope to offer this again in May.  (3 sessions) $60 plus materials

For more information please see the website atwww.sheepandshawl.com/community. Call 413-397-3680 to register.

                   MASSACHUSETTS SHEEP AND WOOLCRAFT FAIR

Click on below for information on entering your woolcraft items

http://www.masheepwool.org/woolcraft.html

You still have time to make or finish you item for the contest.  Lets make the tables overflow with wonderful handmade items.

NEW FOOD VENDOR AT THE SHOW

The Wheelhouse Farm Truck from Brookfield Farm in Amherst will be at the fair serving up great food.  Those of you from the Amherst area know how good their food is.

The fair is held Saturday and SUnday of Memorial Day weekend.  COme and join us to celebrate  fiber and sheep.  Lots of vendors, dog trails, sheep contests, lead line good food and lots to see  No Dogs please. 

 

THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

The Linen Symposium is full with a waiting list.  I am gong to be a volunteer and will report on this highly successful event.    

RUG REGISTRY

This program is put on by the local ATHA group.   A unique program to keep informaion on your rugs for the future.

A.T.H.A.

REGION 1 RUG REGISTRY

August 20, 2016

10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Shelburne/Buckland Community Center

53 Main Street

Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts  01370

 

 

The 4th Annual Region 1 Rug Registry will be held in August

in the picturesque village of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

 

Region 1 of A.T.H.A. has undertaken this service so that

rug hooking artists can preserve and document their heirlooms of the future.

 

The Registry is not limited to A.T.H.A. members.

It is available to all rug hookers and owners of hooked items.

 

The form below should be used to make your appointment.

Return it to:      Diana O’Brien,   PO Box 310,   Shelburne Falls, MA  01370-0310

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Region 1 Rug Registry Appointment Request

 

Name ____________________________________________ Tel _________________

Address ____________________________,______________________,____,_______

E-Mail ________________________________________________________________

 

___ Number of Items to be Registered    (Fee is $10.00 per item.)

 

AGAIN THIS YEAR !!!

A Hook-In will be held at the same time & in the same facility as the Rug Registry.

The fee will be $10 per person; beverages and goodies will be provided;

bring your own brown bag lunch or order something delicious from a local establishment.

 

___ I will be attending the Region 1 Hook-In (A prepaid $10 reservation is required)

___ I will not be attending the Region 1 Hook-In, only the Rug Registry

 

Upon receipt of your appointment request, a Rug Registration Form will be emailed to you.

Fill out as completely as possible.  A trained volunteer will review the form with you at your appointment.

 

The item(s) must be physically present.  Digital photos will be taken.

 

The fee per item is $10.00 payable to Region 1 of A.T.H.A. due at the time of registration.

Thank you so much for reading and following FIBERuary.  You have made this a successful event.  I will keep you informed of wonderful events in our area.  Happy Fiber hunting.  Carole-Whispering Pines Farm

 

FIBERuary-AARON LOUX SHEARER

HELLO

FIBERuary Day 9  Aaron Loux – Shearer, Sheep Breeder

Learning to shear sheep

Living in a culture that has become removed from its agricultural roots, how does anyone get started in sheep shearing? Some say it’s a calling, which I would not disagree with. But even though I have been a professional shearer for my entire working life, I still find myself explaining exactly what it is I do to ordinary citizens. I can’t say simply, “I’m a shearer”, as perhaps I’d be able to say as an introduction in a place like New Zealand. People who are connected to the sheep world in one way or another, understand the importance of getting the wool from the sheep’s body to the processing stages. These people probably see shearing as an important piece of the equation. Yet, they may not grasp the difficulty of the learning process.

I’ve heard it said that it takes a beginner shearer 1,000 sheep to “get the hang of it”, and 10,000 sheep to “be experienced”. Although that sounds daunting to someone trying to learn, I’d even argue those figures are on the low end. There are so many variables to learning, in regards to the learners’ aptitude, the kind of experience available, access to good training, and so on. The challenge of teaching the next generation of shearers is a continuous problem for the sheep industry. Furthermore, most who attempt learning will quit before reaching any of those milestones. As evidence of this, consider that a large number of sheep in the USA are shorn by migrant foreigners. Though much of learning to shear comes down to experience, it is only good quality experience that makes a good shearer. You can practice doing something the wrong way ad nauseum, but you may still be doing it the wrong way. Since shearing is generally piece work, efficiency becomes important. The more efficient you are, the more sheep you’ll shear, with less stress on the sheep. As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. I’d argue that it is more like, “perfect practice makes perfect”.

As a 16 year old beginning shearer, I was fortunate enough to start with a few advantages. First, my family had been raising sheep my entire life. Eager to learn every aspect of the family tradition, I started shearing our sheep at about the time I learned to tie my shoes. I was comfortable handling sheep, and knew a few basics of shearing. I watched other shearers at every opportunity, and knew it was something that interested me. “All” I had left to do was learn the technique. Or as a shearer would say, the pattern. But it is a technique which proved to be much more difficult than I realized. Though shearing is sometimes thought of like riding a bike, where once you’ve got it you’re all set, it is actually much more in depth. It takes enormous dedication, and the humility to realize it is a lifelong learning pursuit. Another advantage I had as a youngster was that I already had a large network of sheep friends who were willing to let me practice on their flocks. At 16 I was quite stubborn, and when I picked up my handpiece for the first time, I knew I would never let myself quit.

Parts of my training were typical of any beginner. I went to shearing schools, watched videos, talked to experienced shearers, and never turned down opportunities to learn. When I realized I wanted to make it a full time job, I took my training more seriously. I went to New Zealand for a few months, where I sheared with some of the top shearers. A good friend I made in New Zealand went on to become a world record holder. I also made a few other long distance shearing trips in between jobs that were close to home. Besides the shearing skill needed, one of the hardest things is coming to terms with the lifestyle. Even if you don’t travel abroad, and decide to shear locally, the sheep population is very spread out. As a shearer, you learn to have a nomadic lifestyle. One season I looked back and realized that in a period of nine days, I had eight different sleeping arrangements. None of which were my own bed.

I have been approached by people who think they want to learn. I would love to be part of someone’s training, yet I am cautious. I need to give them realistic expectations. You will not learn in a day. Or a weekend, or a season. The equipment is expensive. Building clientele takes years. It takes several teachers to learn. Scheduling jobs can become a nightmare, since farmers’ management practices vary. The goal is to spend more time shearing and less time driving, but that does not always work. Being organized, then, is essential. Next to skill, reputation is the biggest asset. So, if you are too eager at the beginning, taking on jobs that are too big or difficult for your skill level, you risk damaging your reputation before you’ve even started.

After raising these points, you may be asking, “is trying to learn worth it?” For me, unequivocally yes. I cannot see myself doing anything else. There have been plenty of unenjoyable days; sore backs, misbehaved sheep, etc. But it’s good honest work, you can’t fake it. Whether your boss for the day has one sheep or thousands, they are appreciative of a job well done. There’s a reason they choose to hire a specialist. Maybe it’s all I know, or maybe I’m still like the stubborn 16 year old. Either way, it has been an incredible journey, and I have never found myself looking forward to retirement.

> Aaron Loux is a sheep enthusiast whose specialty is shearing. To book services, call or email. 413 230 8607. aaronshearing@gmail.com

FIBERuary-Massachusetts Sheep and WoolCraft Fair

Hello

FIBERuary – Day 5

Massachusetts Sheep  and WoolCraft Fair   Lisa Bertoldi

 

 

The 42nd annual MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair is coming up May 28th and 29th of 2016. Our fair this year is dedicated to the memory of Cliff Thayer.

This wonderful fair supports the year long efforts and activities of several Four H groups in western Massachusetts. We host sheep shows, two full days of Border Collie trials, competitions in woolcraft and fiber techniques. We are actively seeking items for our woolcraft and handspun skein competitions, and we invite people to compete in our contests! Please look at www.masheepwool.org for more information and for guidelines.

New this year will be an additional food booth, the Wheelhouse Farm Truck from South Amherst MA. Also new this year, is a 100 dollar gift certificate offered by Vavstuga Of Shelburne Falls, as a prize for the handwoven item in the woolcraft competition, winning the judge’s choice.

Our fair is a small but beloved fair. A dedicated and energetic group of volunteers work to make the fair an event of interest and delightful to the broader community. It’s a great weekend in the country, and a great way to celebrate local agriculture among friends.