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Bay Colony Farm
Fibers and Rabbits For Sale at Bay Colony Farm
Fibers For Sale
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Comfort A Friend
Another Day at Bay Colony Farm
Sunday, May 29, 2005
MA Sheep and Wool
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: The Rascals "Groovin'"

Yesterday was Day 1 of the MAS&W show. The weather gods have blessed us, as the sun actually came out on Friday and while we got a lot of rain on Friday night (which thankfully didn't happen until DH and I were done moving everything into the stall space), it was gorgeous yesterday!

Leslie arrived from Canada at 3:30 a.m., and slave driver that I am, I allowed her to sleep in till 7:15 when we had to get her up and out of the house to finish booth setup. I'd say we did a pretty good job of setting up the booth in 1/2 hour. Actually, my booth has never looked so good, but Leslie has brought a few things that really jazzed it up, including her 4 1/2' tall felted picture and two dress form (these are too cool!) to show off the coats on.

It was also my first day on as the new head of the vendor committee. Lucky me. ;-) Actually, Marian and I went around and she introduced me to everyone in the cattle and craft barns. We have a new change this year, and most everyone seemed o.k. with the switch. I will say this; a lot of people want to vend in those barns! :)

I also saw lots of bloggers and fiber list people there: Claudia was there wearing her very cool steel top along with Rosemary who was wearing her shirt which says "I'm blogging this" (and she was!). Leah and her very young looking Mom came to the booth to introduce themselves. I saw Jessie from CT, Helen from NETA, Marcy, Jarrett, Deanna, Kim D., Suzanne, Risa (whom I enjoyed talking to very much!) came by with her beautiful little twins, Cate breezed by with family in tow, and many, many others. I just love it when people come up and introduce themselves as "I'm from NETA, SheepThrills, Spin-List, (insert list of your choice)". The internet has done a great thing and really drawn people together. But I'll say blogging has done it even more

Today is Day 2. Leslie and I plan to get up to Cummington a bit earlier, and visit with the other vendors, some of whom she's know for 20+ years, but doesn't get a chance to see.

And doing part of my new vendor chair duties, I'll be going through the barns to make sure people are happy and to see if they need anything.

If you haven't been to Cummington, stop on up today if you are in the area. The show is one of the best I've seen, with some excellent new vendors, and some show favorites who've been coming for years.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:08 AM EDT
Thursday, May 26, 2005
More Dyeing Ahead
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Walter Wanderley "Summer Samba"
Topic: A bit of everything

My friend Alyson used to own a wonderful store in Chicopee called Textile Traditions. She closed the store a few years ago, and still has yarns and equipment in her home from her inventory. Tonight I'm going over to her place to buy out what she has left of silk caps. I think I'll work at dyeing those tonight and tomorrow morning. I love spinning from silk caps and the colors you get when dyeing silk; so bright and clear.

On the home front: My bathroom is almost finished. I have a working shower (something we have not had in this particular bathroom in seven (yes, 7!) years, a working sink and vanity and the plumber is showing up early tomorrow to put the toilet back in (I have a funky house where things are rather messed up; chalk it up to a fly by night contractor who did less than wonderful work over 30 years ago!). I have a new floor, and new fixtures. I even hung a brand new shower curtain today with little fish on it.
Am I excited? Yeah, you could say that. Because once this bathroom is finished, we start gutting the one upstairs! Yikes!

And you are probably wondering what is up with the music I'm listening to? AOL Radio (my standard on the computer) has their Summer Daze radio station back on, and their like to mix up their music. Personally, the music I'm listening to now reminds me of the stuff my mother used to listen to when we were at my Grandmother's house in NJ when I was a kid. So you could say that I have fond memories of some music that sounds very much like elevator music. Yes, it's strange, but comforting at the same time. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:00 PM EDT
Felted Vests and MAS&W update
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Modern English "I Melt With You"
Topic: Class Information & Shows

I have an update on the felting classes and some new info about MAS&W!

Leslie will teach two classes next weekend. If you want to make a vest, you can take the class in two days, and if you'd rather make a coat, you can take the full three day class.

The vest class will cost $185, including materials. The only thing you need to bring are a vest pattern suited to your sewing ability and a sewing machine.

The coat class is $330, which also includes materials (let's face it, coats use much more fabric than vests). Just bring your coat pattern and sewing machine.

The classes start on SATURDAY, June 4th at 10 a.m. We'll be holding the classes at the Fiber Arts Center in Amherst, but you need to contact me regarding registration, as they are only providing the workshop space.

Leslie will have all three vests, plus the full length coat and a new jacket she just made on display in our stall space at MAS&W. If you want to see these items in person, please come visit us. We'll be taking registrations at the fair (and we'll even take MC/VISA for your payments!).


Yesterday I received a luscious shipment of fibers from Peace of Yarn, of which I'm one of their retailers now. Some gorgeous baby alpaca, lots of silk roving and some exquisitely soft cashmere are just a few of the items I'll have for sale there.

Doesn't that just get your creative juices flowing???

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 12:57 PM EDT
The Height of Tackiness
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons "Who Loves You"
Topic: Rant

Sometimes I'm completely amazed that people are either so clueless or so completely gutsey by some of the things they do.

Take for instance, a person who sells via the internet, posted on a list this morning that she is attending "Show A" and will bring a few things she'd like to sell. Normally, this isn't a huge problem as people commonly post about wheels for sale, or drum carders and the like, and that they will deliver the item to be picked up at the fair. O.k., that's fine. It saves shipping for people, and is a good system, linking fiber people with tools they need, and giving those used tools a good home. BUT, bringing along MOST of your inventory and vending out of the back of your car, while recognized vendors have paid for spots, that is completely different. I find that to be reprehensible and so low. Why should one person think that they are above the rules of the shows, especially since others have paid for the privilage of selling there? What sets them apart from the rest except that they feel they can skirt the rules?

If you want to vend at a show; rent a space, or share with someone who is a recognized vendor. But don't vend out of the back of your vehicle, thinking that no one is paying attention. People are watching, and if you are lucky, you will only be asked to leave. But you will also damage your reputation with other vendors (who will give the shirts off of their backs to fellow vendors, and help out any way that they can if you have a crisis at a show) and you'll damage your reputation with the consumer, who will start to wonder if all your dealings are honest or not.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 10:08 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Updated class news!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Class information

Due to requests from people, Leslie has decided that we'll offer the coat/vest class in two sections; people can either take a two day class and make a vest, or do a full three days, and make a coat.

If you want to take the vest class, the class dates will be June 4th and 5th, at the Fiber Arts Center in Amherst. BUT, you need to register with me, and not the FAC, as they are only providing the classroom space to us.

We'll be taking registrations at MAS&W on Saturday and Sunday, but color choices for your main vest color will be limited.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 5:56 PM EDT
Monday, May 23, 2005
The current project
Mood:  rushed
Now Playing: The Fixx "Saved By Zero"
Topic: Fiber
Helen on NETA asked what our current project (WIP) is on the needles. Well, here it is:

It is a shawl of my own design made from the IAGARB co-op yarn, which I participated in (there is something unique about the shawl, which you can see at Cummington once it is finished). The yarn is a blend of 85% German angora, and 15% wool in a fingering weight. It is heaven to knit with and has a lovely bloom. The people that have felt this all get the same expression on their faces when they touch it (or the yarn I have put out for sale); it's a "Oooooh, this is SO soft" look (and usually that is what I hear them saying).

I guess I'm spoiled, because I have these lovely German angoras in my barn, I've become quite nonchalant about the feel of it. Sad, isn't it? ;-)

And for those that have asked, here is a picture of the new Hitchhiker wheel:

Tonight I'll be up in Cummington helping out for MAS&W. Five days to go! I love this fair; it is my home state fair, and the first one I vended at four years ago. I've been attending this show since 1997, and I really adore it. It is small enough so that kids can feel secure in the fairgrounds, and parents are o.k. with their kids getting a few feet a head of them, but yet large enough so that there are over 60 vendors this year (some really cool new ones at the back, by the stalls and food concessions!). And the diversity of the vendors is really branching out. I think you'll be surprised to see some of the new additions this year.
I'm looking forward to the Thriller potluck, which is always a culinary foodfest. And there are several Thrillers kind enough to bring lunch to those of us that can't be there in the middle of the food. It is ALWAYS greatly appreciated!

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:51 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2005 7:02 AM EDT
Sunday, May 22, 2005
More fleeces, and yet more fleeces
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Four Tops "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)"
Topic: Fiber

Oooooh, I can see the moon rising in the east while sitting here at my desk. It is a lovely pale yellow orb nestled in the tree branches. :)

I purchased two fleeces yesterday while up in Jamaica. Both were directly from the sheep, so skirting was minimal, but they were so pretty, that I couldn't resist. The first one is a Finn-Dorset, which had a bit of VM in it, but not as much as I expected since the sheep wasn't covered. That fleece is on it's third soaking and now enters the rinsing phase of cleaning. It is coming out beautifully, and I can hardly wait to card this up this week. It's white, and very, very soft, while having a fine crimp and a lovely handle to it.

My technique for washing is very simple; I fill my washer with the hottest water I can, stop the water, pour in some cheap laundry detergent until the water feels a bit slick. Today I added a bit of washing soda, which cut down on the suds during the draining phase. I soaked the fleece for about 20 minutes, then drained and spun out the water. I always turn off the water behind the washer as soon as I stop the water on the washer. By doing this immediately, I don't risk water pouring down on the fleece during the spin cycle, thus felting it. I will soak the fleece one or two more times the same way (using detergent) until it no longer feels greasy to my hands. Then I'll soak in plain hot water again, until there are no soap suds left. Sometimes, on a particularly greasy fleece, I'll add some Simple Green to the soap water. But, this also promotes LOTS of suds, which then increases the plain water soaks I have to do. But Simple Green cuts the grease quickly, and is worth it on the heavy grease fleeces. After the fleece has been soaked several times, I spin it out (again) and place on special drying racks that Deanna has made (these are a god-send, especially since they stack on each other and I can dry a lot of wool at once, yet maintaining a good air flow through the wool). Usually on hot days, the fleeces will require one or two turnings, and they are all set to card. The real secret to washing fleece is to make sure that you get all the grease out, because sometimes you will be fooled, and find that a fleece that you washed earlier is still a bit tacky and requires a few more soakings with detergent.

The second fleece is a white Shetland fleece. While I haven't taken this out of the bag, it shows great promise, especially for what I'm thinking of as carding with some angora.

Tomorrow I will contact a local college and see what they have for their fleeces, which they tell me are "dirty". But for the price, we'll see. It might be worth my time to pick through and remove the VM, or it might not. That is the chance you take when you buy fleeces from people not raising sheep for the handspinning community.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:53 PM EDT
Looks can be deceiving
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Motley Crue "Smokin' in the Boys Room"
Topic: Shows

The front side of my new t-shirt:

Makes a non-fiber person think that I'd been all the way down to the Caribbean for sheep. Huh????

And the back side:

I find this very amusing. :)

The show was nice yesterday. Lots of people turned out to help Jamaica raise money to restore their town hall. I was vending in the town hall with Linda Diak, Margaret Wilson from Mostly Merino, and several other vendors, including a couple who sells handmade items from Peru, and all of the money goes back to Peru to the people that make these gorgeous garments. I had remembered attending a lecture and slide series they did at Textile Traditions in 1999, when Alyson has her store open. They had just come back from Peru, and explained how there was a unique way of weaving, which had to deal with an interrupted warp, and only two village members knew how to do this art form. They told me yesterday that now there are 40 village members that know how to do this, and therefore the art will survive. The textile they were selling were gorgeous!

I will get my brochure from the car a bit later, and post their names for you in case anyone is interested in contacting them.

I also brought home a lot of spindles, crochet hooks and circular knitting needles from Linda and Tom to sell at MAS&W, aka Cummington the "cult" as Cassie refers to us followers. ;-)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 10:43 AM EDT
Friday, May 20, 2005
Ambitious or just crazy?
Mood:  mischievious
Now Playing: Dire Straits "Money for Nothing"
Topic: Shows

My intentions were good. But sometimes I bite off far more than I can chew.

Today is a good example of that. I'm heading to Jamaica, VT tomorrow for the Jamaica Fiber Fest. Deanna was supposed to go over to Webs to represent Bay Colony Farm, but after taking stock tonight of everything I had to offer, I just didn't have enough inventory to do two simultaneous shows. And after the way I've been pushing myself for the past few weeks, my body said "Enough!" and forced me to take a nap today (something I don't do unless I am extremely tired or very, very sick). Forget carding, washing fleeces and dyeing. I was too tired. So Webs is out. And while I do love the Webs show, I want to see the Jamaica show too, since they have so many things planned during the day, including a Maypole dance, foot rug felting and various other cool activities for the people that attend. Besides, I'll be located next to Linda, and I'll enjoy the chance to visit.

So if you are looking for me tomorrow, I apologize for not being in Northampton.

But, I will have some really cool fibers for Cummington, as I'm now officially a Peace of Yarn retailer from Deanna's urging after she had been to MDS&W. Just wait till you see what I'll have with me at Cummington! :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 9:56 PM EDT
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Fiber artists and bloggers
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Air Supply "Love in Love"
Topic: A bit of everything
I am constantly amazed at how the Internet has brought people together. Before I was online, I felt rather alone in my pursuit of knitting. But in March of 1997, DH decided that we'd been behind the masses long enough and opened up our AOL account. Since then, I know that there are so many other people out there that share the same interests, AND are fun people to talk to!

Last night, Cassie called me about a particular fleece that had been calling her name (you didn't know that I could make fleeces talk to people, now did you?). ;-) We got to talking and she is a delightful person. Little did I know that when she stopped by the booth at NHS&W, that she was wearing an Icelandic shawl. Those of you that know me really well know that I LOVE Icelandic fleeces. I have a shawl that I made 4 years ago out of some roving that I spun and then knit myself. It is one of the knitting accomplishments I'm most proud of. Had I know that Cassie was wearing Icelandic, I would have mugged her, wanting to pet the shawl. It was lovely! I'm hoping she'll bring it to Cummington which is less than 2 weeks away.

And because I was a good wife, and decided to give my husband a break, I mowed most of the lawn yesterday before he got home (he had to do the trimming with the push mower). But mowing also forced me to start looking at my stash of Icelandic fleeces, and several have caught my eye, so I'll be carding those with some angora within the next week.

And speaking of angora, I have been working at shearing my rabbits down. Annie was shorn on Tuesday, and I'll probably do Cosmos and Chunky Monkey today. Both are in need, and I need their wool.

Later today, I'll post picture of the Hitchhiker wheel I purchased at NHS&W from Cate.

BTW, if anyone is in the area, there is the Jamaica Fiber Fest in Jamaica, VT on Saturday. There will be vendors there selling their fiber related wares, including Linda from Grafton Fibers and Cathy from IBIWISI Alpacas. Please come join us for a few hours and enjoy the lovely town of Jamaica!

And if you can't make it to Jamaica, Deanna will be at Webs Fleece Sale in Northampton on Saturday, manning the booth for Bay Colony Farm. Some great vendors there too! :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 7:10 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:16 AM EDT

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