Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Market at OFFF

Saturday, Sept 22nd, came in bright and shiny, if a tad cool.  The weather just got better during the day, never too hot but hot enough to burn off the heavy dew and allow us to leave our sweaters in camp.

Shopping at OFFF is something of a contact sport ~ the event officially opens at 9:00am but the crowd gets there at 8:00, growing by at least 300% by 9.  You can't walk fast from one booth to the next ~ it's more like swimming upstream, gradually insinuating yourself into the actual environs of the booth of choice while about 25 other shoppers are attempting the same thing.  In short, OFFF is very like every other fabulous fiber festival and it's all good.

Well, most of it is good.  We get there early so some other knitter or spinner doesn't buy 'our' stuff, and unfortunately sometimes we're not early enough and we see someone carrying off the exact thing that we wanted.  Darn!

In spite of that, this year we we're very happy with our shopping experience.  We did Toots, Carolina, Clouse, Michael & Sheila, Lisa, the other Lisa and then all the rest or at least most of them.  There seemed to be hundreds.  They were in two big buildings, the barns, the grassy plaza, everywhere.  It was awesome.
Michelle LeBlanc of Toots LeBlanc, purveyors of fine and rare yarns.
Sheila & Michael Ernst, makers of awesome glass needles, buttons and more.
Cheryl Newhouse of NewHue Handspuns
Lisa of Dicentra

We were buying for ourselves and also door prizes for the upcoming early November Knitters Retreat at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA.  Our plan was to not go discount but to go with quality over quantity, hence the above mentioned vendors.  It's so fun to spend other peoples money!

We did manage to find some of 'our' stuff in there, so we bought:
Mystery Fiber from Fantasy Fibers ~ P
Shetland Fleece from Whistlestop Shetlands ~ P
 This is Brandy Chastain from Whistlestop Shetlands & a good shot of the Sunday Fiber Sale
Corriedale Fleece ~ R
Cashmara Sock Yarn from Fly Designs ~ R
Corriedale Fiber dyed by Lisa of Dicentra ~ R
Merino Bamboo from NewHue ~ R

By the end of the weekend we were ready to go home.  The awful traffic at/around Tacoma is becoming an annual ritual, not something we look forward to but at least it means we're only an hour (once we get through it) from home.  Sometimes that means 90 minutes, sometimes 2 hours, but we have our books on cd, snacks from the cooler and plenty of patience. 
A very satisfactory way to spend 4 days.
We must do this again sometime.
Maybe next year. 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Camping and Koi at OFFF 2012

It's about time we went back to OFFF.  It's been a few years and during that time we gathered 'grown-up' camping equipment so that we could camp in a semblance of comfort:  largish tent and self-inflating queen-size air mattresses for starters.  We had one lantern and a few flashlights, but were lacking a stove, another lantern and, who knew we would need one, a heater.  These we borrowed from good friends and we will use the coming year to invest in our own.

We checked the 10-day and the 7-day forecast and here's what we were expecting: 75/52, mostly sunny.  Here's what we got: 64/48, heavily overcast Thursday/Friday, rain Thursday night, and then 68/50 and sunny on Saturday/Sunday.  We moved the kitchen into the tent and refreshed the  propane canisters twice, as that little heater was getting a workout.

We called my son, who lives in Portland, to meet us at the campgrounds and help us set up the new tent, which was way easier than anticipated and left plenty of time for beer after.


Friday dawned cloudy and gray, the tent dripping and the ankle-high grass soaking our jeans on the way to the outhouse about a block away.  Note to selves: consider a travel toilet...

Evanne was camping w/ Tazo about 30' away; she had minimal goals for the free day: get a pedicure, visit the dahlia gardens and get some 'hammock time'. 

 By 10:00 Friday we were all three sitting in the nail salon, Evanne with her feet in a tub and Peggy and I having our fingernails done.  In Oregon they have a law: you must buy a 'nail kit' which includes an emery board and a buffer for hands plus a callus buffer for feet.  $1 or $2.  Or you can bring your own.  We love this, for obvious reasons.
By 11:30 we were at Swan Island Dahlia Farm, which we walked through for at least two hours.  Think of the Tulip Fields in the Skagit Valley, squared.  Bigger blooms, taller flowers.  And a Koi pond!  The Koi are for sale, just fyi.
Koi Pool
Big head
Big mouth
Bigger mouth

Orange and Gold
White and Yellow

After dahlias and Koi, we stopped at a fruit/vegetable stand, checked out the Canby Ferry on the river,
meandered back to camp, fixed chicken sandwiches and then spun for awhile.  It was the only long-term spinning time we had for 3 days because on Saturday things got really busy: 

OFFF officially opened for the weekend.