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Archive for the ‘Wool Festival’ Category

After weeks of “waffling” about whether or not I was going to attend the local wool festival, I decided to go ahead and try it again. Last year, both my friend, Melanie, and I went and both did really well. But this year, I only had fleeces to sell.

Mel and her husband, Mark, putting together her dyed yarn displays.

One rack up and one to go…

Both yarn racks up. Aren’t her yarns beautiful?

A shot across the table with some of my yarns in the foreground in the basket.

A basket of Mel’s beautiful, bright, space-dyed rovings.

While we were located in the same spot as last year, next time we/I go we’ll move to the other side of the building where more booths are set up. I only got the chance to really walk about once and noticed that, while we were very protected from the winds where we were located, most of the activities were elsewhere. The were quite a few alpaca people with booths. I think ours was the only “sheep only” booth in the whole place. But, we had more traffic on Saturday when the festival had the sheep herding demonstrations across from us. Sunday the sheepdogs weren’t there for some reason.
I can’t complain about sales. My fleeces sold out within the fist two hours of the show on Saturday. The bobbin lace makers having a display on Saturday could not believe that someone in Arizona actually had real, honest-to-goodness Shetland fleece. One of them called her sister in Phoenix as she was standing at the booth wondering how many they wanted to split together. Plus I had repeat customers seeking out more Shetland for their “wooly-habits”.
Now I have a quandary. I had planned on sending this year’s fleeces out to be processed into combed top and roving to have available at next year’s wool festival. But since they all sold so quickly I will only have fleece available next year if I go. With customers looking for Shetland fleece now coming to the farm to get it right off the sheep at shearing, I won’t have surplus to sell at the festival. Hmm. To be honest, I like the farm sales much better. I think the customers do as well. They actually get to see their fleece come off the sheep of their choosing.
While I like going to festivals and shows and getting our name “out there”, I also have to admit I don’t have the energy I once had to keep up the pace of the summer shows. Now I have come to a time to reflect and find the balance between promoting the farm, getting the jobs done at the farm, and spending my time doing pursuits I enjoy.

Maybe it’s time to have a bit of a “wool festival” here at Sheep Thrills. I know Hizzoner, the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits, wouldn’t mind burning a few hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. And with this summer’s more mild temperatures the sheep have been growing in fleece both thick and long already.
(Or are my fluffy sheep a portent of things to come?)

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Colin says:

The Shepherdess said she was going to sell our wool tomorrow! She kept singing, “Yes, Sir, yes, Sir…three bags full…” around the barn this afternoon as she took big black bags with our beautiful fleece in them from the shed to the barn she lives in. She said she was leaving me in charge! Woo-Hoo!

We just can’t figure out what this big, pink ball is for. As she gave it to us she said it would keep us busy while she was gone. Geez…we have plenty to do around this place. Who needs a big, pink ball?

Skittles chimes in:
Hey! She didn’t give me anything but a few cookies tonight! Where’s my ball? Don’t I get a ball?

Shaun adds:
Don’t look now, Guys. I think Ole and Sven just killed the ball before the Shepherdess even left! I think I hear my mother calling me. See ya…

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I know, I know…you’ve been wondering what I have been up to. Well, in the midst of kittens up to my eyeballs, a sick momma cat (from her shots) and an assortment of other daily life occurrences, I found out that our local wool festival was going to be held this past weekend. That started a flurry of activity around here – checking fleeces over to make sure they were ready for sale, gathering balls of roving, weighing them out, tagging them with pricing, and all other manner of things to prepare for the show. My DH loaded his truck with a pen for some sheep, tables, umbrellas and other accoutrement to accompany us as we merrily went from south of Flagstaff to north of Flagstaff for the Wool Festival.
We’ve had this festival for 14 years, but it never really has become very big. Advertising hasn’t been great, so usually there are only a few people there demonstrating and selling wool goods. There is now a new director and from hearing what he has had to say, I’m jazzed that this could grow into something much bigger.
To the right here is one of the Navajo-Churro rams that was attending the Festival on Sunday. He came with wool and left naked (and a bit nicked much to the dismay of many festival-goers. Note to self: tell them about Penny, our wonderful shearer!)
The first day we took Shaun the Sheep and Ole who were brats the whole day. My DH was the “Sheep Sitter”. With him taking care of the sheep and answering questions there, I was open to field the hundreds of questions we got about Shetland sheep, their wonderful wool, and what to do with that wonderful wool! I also conscripted, er….uh…asked my friend Melanie to come enjoy the Festival with me. After all…Misery does indeed love company! 🙂 When she saw how much I sold the first day, Mel hectically gathered her own “woolly shit” to sell on Sunday.
For a small festival I was very surprised! I sold ALL of my fleeces and rovings of Shetland wool for the year!!!!! As well as that, we made a few contacts with regards to selling some of the critters too.
By Sunday, I was almost sold out. People even bought some of the yarn I had spun up to weave a blanket for us. The price I got was top-dollar for the work. I couldn’t say no.
And then, close to the end of the Festival, Joe Meehan (who owns the above Churro ram and his buddies) serenaded my little Scottish sheep with Fireside Bagpipes! I was wonderful! Lacey and her lambs, Elvis and Jerry Lee, took to piping like ducks to water! Do they know they’re Scottish? I really wondered as I watch their reaction to Joe’s melodies played just for them. And I have to thank him for the beautiful gesture towards my sheep.
All in all, we had a very tiring, but great, time. And we didn’t do too badly for a first try at this event.

So today I took some of the money I made from the sales of the fleeces to the feed store to buy more feed to feed the sheep to grow the wool to be shorn to sell to feed the sheep…and so it goes. 🙂

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