Another brilliant end to another brilliant soccer season, and other such nonsense

She says, tongue in cheek. I mean after all, they are FIRST GRADERS. But the intensity that these little boys, and one little girl,

play with is pretty amzing to me. Particularly after having watched and then coached my nearly ten year old daughter. But she really is a mermaid.

Here is friend of boy, roaring with intensity as he runs after the ball. And boy, striving to be first to the ball.

Here is coach and very dear friend Linda and an older son. Note the beautiful handknit hat he wears. Knit from Malabrigio and hand-dyed handspun by me.

An action shot! Other than taking pictures of yarn and other wooly things; this is why I bought my fancy camera. Nice boot, big boy. But how can you not kick well in those fancy red cleats? Good thing our soccer player's paws are still small enough to wear his sister's cast-offs.

Oh, and for you local people, a shot of the fabulous coaching team. Hard to go wrong with these folks in charge. Thanks, guys!

Jerry, Linda, and Mike (the one looking on at the "happy couple"; he's actually Linda's husband:)

Now, onto Fleece School. To back up a wee bit, ever since I began to knit, I knew I would have to learn to spin. Using a nice yarn is one thing, but to learn to make it, now that's skill. Or so I told myself. And it is more fun than anything to spin. And the softness and character of the yarn one creates is not equaled in mass-produced mill-spun yarn. But an interest in spinning led very quickly to curiousity about the source of all this spinning fiber. What qualities are inherent in what type of fiber? What are the best preparations for them? What plant or animal produces them. And sheep, oh what an adorable, sweet animal.

I can't tell you how badly I want sheep. The variability of woll among types pf sheep, or even different animals in the same breed, or even the same herd are fascinating to me. Did you know that the same sheep can grow a fleece that is different from year to year? Sheep and wool shows are obviously a haven for freaks like me. I love to take my fancy camera to the animal barns and visist witht hte sheep and their owners. At SAFF, I met Dan and Virginia of Dan-Dir Farms and their stunning Cormo's and Corriedales. Did you know that Cormo, one of the most coveted wools around, is a cross between Corriedale and Merino breeds. Of course, Cor-MO!

Their fleeces sold out at SAFF. I decided, as I have a serious fleece problem, that I would practice Harlot's
guidelines for fiber fest survival, and walk away. I would come back later, and I if I still wanted a fleece as bad, I would buy it. Despite the fact that I have 8 at the moment, all but one being hand-processed. I stewed over these Cormo fleeces the whole weekend and on Sunday afternoon, i decided I would never see Cormo at this quality and price again, and went back to buy one. They were all GONE. I just want to say that I do not accept this experience as a sign that I have too much fleece, no matter what the lovely husband says.

Back to the subject at hand, if you are not asleep, yet. I leanrned alot from processing Pinhead, a beautiful Romney fleece that I bought back in January from the Pitchfork Ranch. And lusted for more and finer fleeces. Unfortunately, the finer the fleece, the more frustrating it is to wash and prepare for spinning.
This summer, I washed some fleece and ruined some in various ways. Then, in New Jersey, I met some more sheep growers, and acquired some more fleeces.

I have decided to take myself to Fleece School. It is criminal, after all, to acquire beautiful fleeces and not learn to do them justice. Here is a gorgeous, very fine, for a Romney, fleece that I picked at New Jersy for it's color and relative lack of grease. Oh, and its incredible price of $4 a pound. You will be seeing alot of this guys as it is a ten pound fleece and I plan to use it for a sweater for the usually lovely Jack. This is my fleece to sweater design challenge for myself. Similar to Jessie's Opus 2007 (scroll down to end of post), but maybe a little behind.

I plan to share what I'm learning from taking myself to Fleece School. Some preview pictures, for your enjoyment, because I've rambled on long enough.

Oh, and I updated the shop with this lace weight beauty. There is one left.