Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Move to Maine, Common Ground Country Fair and Getting the Shop Going Again!

Hello fellow fiber addicts!
Or maybe you're here because you enjoy my witty prose? (Okay I'm reaching, it's the fiber activities right?)

Gosh it's been a while since my last post. That was 2 weeks before we moved from NC to ME and I've been in ME almost a month now. So many things to update with, but I'll try to keep the move information brief and get on to the good stuff about attending the Common Grounds Country Fair.

The move was possibly one of the worst moves I've ever had in my life. That sounds dramatic, but it started off with our rental car not being able to tow our boat (why rent us a rental SUV with a tailor hitch if you won't let us tow something?) Driving around trying to find something on a Sunday morning, and ended up with a 14 foot Uhaul truck. It was more than we needed, but the smallest we could find on a one way move. Honestly, I'm not a fan of Uhaul but we had zero issues the entire 2 days with that truck, and for that I am grateful. Once we finally got going it was me driving our Corolla with Loki and Odin in the back seat, and June with G in the Uhaul.
Within a few hours we were already stranded on the side of the I 81 somewhere in Virginia because one of the BRAND NEW tires we'd just had put on the boat trailer literally exploded. AAA doesn't help with boat trailers, but after a few hours we managed to find a tow truck and stayed in that town for the night. No clue what it was called. Up early the next morning, new tires on the trailer (again) and off we went. We ended up stopping in CT for gas, and low and behold? The corolla wouldn't start! Thankfully we were at a gas station and AAA does indeed cover our Toyota (heaven). The battery was spewing acid! Thankfully a battery change had us on the road again. By this time it was late and we were just going to stay in a hotel in CT, but because of Hurricane Irene and mass power outages, all hotels were booked. We continued on to Maine and arrived at around 2am. Whew!
What I haven't mentioned is that somewhere halfway through day 2 Loki decided he was totally over being in the car and spent the majority of the time trying to crawl his way into my lap in the front seat. Have I mentioned he's a 60lb Husky cross? We managed to fashion a dog gate out of a white board and some bungee cords, but he still continually tried to climb it. At one point near Boston (midnight) I had some jerk in a truck with his high beams blinding me, a dog freaking out and crawling over a white board divider, and trying to change lanes.
We survived though, and I'm completely and utterly in love with Portland Maine, and our new house. Oh and we lived in it for over a week before our furniture arrived.... some of which wasn't even close to being in one piece.
I LOVE IT HERE! I've never felt so comfortable in a house before. It's massive, and I actually have a studio room which I'm setting up slowly as I gain items for it. Currently it's a great space with a table, bins of my fibers and yarns, and my carder all ready to get batts going. I've also got a dyeing/fleece washing space in the basement that is absolutely perfect. That is set up with a table, sink, heating elements, a shelf with all my pots etc. and a drying area. LOVE.

Portland itself is wonderful. I love the coast line, the restaurants are amazing and while it's clear we're not in the south anymore, the weather has been perfect (in my opinion.) It gets chilly at night, and warms up during the day. The streets (as my friend Ebil told me she'd heard) "look like someone let a cow loose and then paved where it walked", and make for some interesting driving practices by people (driving down the middle of a 2 lane because people have parked all up the sides).

Okay, wow. That summary was way too long. I understand if you zipped by that and went straight to the photos. I went to the fair! Common Ground Country Fair to be exact. How to describe it? Hmm, it's a very crunchy environmental sort of fair, with lots of information on social issues, organic gardening, folk arts, crafts and environmental design and practice. It had a huge number of people willing to walk around in the muddy, animal feces laden, grass completely barefoot. I loved every second of it! I drove the 1 hour 45 by myself and stayed about 5 hours walking around and taking everything in. I took tons of cell phone pics! My favorite part was the fleece tent and fiber arts areas. I was able to learn about how they judge a fleece, pick out a few myself and meet some great spinners who gave me information on groups in my area. One of the fleece show judges checked out my fleeces when I was done, and I'd actually bought one of her's without knowing it! I'm proud to say I apparently have an eye for good fleeces. But then again I did go through every single darn fleece there for a few hours. I bet they were getting tired of me. (Not really, they were all wonderful people in the fleece tent. Customers and volunteers alike!)

Okay on to the fair photos!

 I wanted to jump in all that roving and roll around a bit.

 Lovely hand dyed yarns
 Some great naturally dyed (if I recall correctly) handspun.

 Bunnies! (I took this one for Chris in VT.)

 Fleece tent! I got to the fair right as it opened, but apparently they had sold quite a bit on Friday. I was still able to find some great fleeces.

 Dreamy show fleeces!
 They had this great stand with information on each type of fiber/wool and little knit and spun swatches. Such an amazing resource.
 They even had Shrek wool!

 This was the fleece they were judging and taught us what to look for. It was a great lesson!

 I caught some of the sheep dog show, but honestly it was so packed I couldn't see a lot. Odin would have a blast doing that though.

 The Wednesday Spinners. They all had castle wheels set up in a row with some great demonstration materials behind them. This is also where they taught the natural dyeing lesson and dyeing with indigo.

 Weaving station for kids. (I asked permission before taking this photo. I didn't want to be creepy taking a photo of someone's children.)

 Just a general photo to show how the fair was set up. This is in the morning, it got PACKED by lunchtime. Huge grounds. In fact it took almost 20 minutes just to hike (yup) to the fair grounds from the parking lot.

 A photo to show how packed the sheep dog area got just by 10am (it opened at 9)

 Lovely patchwork blanket I thought Chris may enjoy.

 More Shrek! He's such a celebrity. <3 May he RIP

 Morris Dancers! I swear they were following me.

 On to the live stock area. I have at least a dozen photos of Turkeys. They really don't like to stand still. On the drive to the fair I came around a corner and there were 6 right in the middle of the road. I didn't hit them (thankfully!), and waited patiently for them to cross. Then I get to the fair and there are all these show turkeys. Too amusing.

 These sheep were shaking and visibly upset. I felt so bad for them. :(

 I tried to get photos with their breed type sign, but it's hard to make out.

 This sheep was my favorite. It sat like people! Then it started to gnaw on it's foot. I'm pretty sure people thought I was a loony for staying by it so long.

 I almost came home with a guinea pig. True story, I even texted my husband. But I knew it wouldn't be fair to the poor guy with Loki in the house. (He has a high prey drive.) I love guinea pigs though. <3

 Show bunnies!

 Animals were all over the place, and so was their poop- which is why the 2/10 people with bare feet puzzled me. It had been raining really hard and the ground with all mud as well.

 Babies (I know, kids is the correct term...). So adorable. Nigerian goats are tiny to begin with, and the babies (kids?) look like dolls.

 If you drink Horizon Milk (G does, I don't drink milk) then here are some of the cows who provide milk for you :)

 Huge bulls.

 Oxen pull

 Folk Music
I had a bunch of photos not turn out. Things like the social activism tent, the recycling area, the environmental resources and food areas.

My eventual haul. Haul literally, I had to carry those over 1.5 hours trying to find my car! I ended up with a gorgeous white Romney fleece, a black Border Leicester and a grey Navajo Churro. You know those are going to making their way into my dye pots and batts soon right? Let me tell you, they are HEAVEN as far as fleeces go. I was very lucky. So will you be if you choose to buy a batt eventually. ;)

Now if you've managed to make it this far- thank you! I have an exciting announcement. Dyeing For Ewe should be opening again soon! I have a bunch of things to prep, all my stocks went down the drain in the move, I'm waiting on a fiber order and washing fleeces- I still haven't located my camera.... but I'm getting ready! Thank you so much for being patient with me. I'm sincerely hoping people still remember my little shop when they're looking for fiber. For those that have been asking me about when I'm opening- It's soon! In between knitting commissions, job hunting and job interviews I'll be washing fleece and dyeing like a mad woman. I'm so inspired!
Thank you for keeping on me about getting going again. <3