Monday, November 02, 2015


The Land of Cotton and Animal Fibers


As we've traveled about the southern states we've enjoyed the white seas of the cotton fields. Cotton is native to the Americas (Mexico) and India and is still grown quite a bit in the south. Cotton is fiber and we all know that I like anything to do with the fiber arts. So of course I had to get up close and personal with a cotton boll.

Lately we've also noticed that the peanut fields have been plowed/turned/tilled so that the plants are upside down with the peanuts which grow on the roots are out sitting in the sun to dry.

So where were we traveling to and from when we saw all of this? This last road trip camping adventure was up to Asheville, North Carolina to work and play at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF)! Whooo hooooo! Jonesy drove and the boat stayed at the marina.
Rest Stop - Drinking a DANG! soda

On the way north from southern Georgia, we made a quick stop in North Carolina to pick up a unique soda pop that was recommended by a friend. DANG! soda is butterscotch root beer flavored. Yes, you read that right - it tastes like root beer at first, then you get a butterscotch aftertaste that is heavenly. I don't usually drink any type of soda, but DANG! is a winner.

As you can see in the photo I'm wearing a sleeveless shirt because it was still nice and warm in the low country of South Carolina. But just a few hours later we climbed up into the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and the temperatures dropped quite a bit. The trees had turned beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow and we constantly pointed out extra colorful specimens to each other. Nope. Never got tired of the colors.

Thursday afternoon I met up with some of my pottery friends from the Glynn Visual Arts center. Hello Joan, Jan and Beverly! See? There are other gals who are interested in both ceramics and fiber. Friday morning dawned and the market was opened! Yippee! I hit the building armed with my purse, coffee, and athletic shoes. There was time to do a quick run through of the many fiber vendors before I started my volunteer duties.
So who did I run into? Another fiberly friend from our Golden Isles Knitting group. Hello Carolyn!

Too soon it was time to report to my station at the Workshop registration table. Now this job was fun, fun, fun! The folks coming into the building were so excited to pick up their badges and locate their classroom area for their classes. I also had the time to read through the well-written SAFF Fair Guide and study the maps so I knew where everything was located on the grounds. I actually could answer questions even though this was the first time that I had attended this event!

My next volunteer job was to work 2 hours in the souvenir area. Whew! That was like a 2-hour aerobics session - no time to read or think here!! Folks were snapping up Tee-shirts, fleece shirts, and other goodies like mad!

I was glad to get back to our campsite and have a nice lay-down for awhile - but wait! There was more shopping to get done - and I was up and off to the marketplace! I didn't buy any yarn or fiber as I have way too much stash already. But I did buy a how to weave Kumihimo Japanese braiding kit and a small wool rug hooking kit. New fiber toys to play with! Thank goodness Carolyn already knows how to do Kumihimo and I know where the Rug Hooking group of my Fiber Guild on St. Simons island meets.

Unlike the knitting and crochet conventions that I've attended in the past, this fair was primarily focused on the animal fiber itself. There were llamas, alpacas, sheep, rabbits and goats to visit in the barns. One whole building was full of bags of fleece to be judged and sold. Many of the vendors in the marketplace sold the animal fiber in various unspun forms so that the attendees could spin it themselves. There was so much more emphasis on spinning which is a skill that I haven't "got" (yet).

Saturday was another busy day. First I went to my selected class which was a BACKSTRAP WEAVING workshop! I'd bought 2 handmade backstrap weaving sets in Guatemala a couple of years ago and never figured out how to use them. Yippeee! This was my chance. The workshop was called Introduction to Pennsylvania German/Scandinavian Band Weaving and was taught by Nancy Shroyer (owner of Nancy's Knit Knacks, author, and pattern writer). Yes, I learned how to set up my backstrap and how to weave a weft faced weave. No, I won't show you a picture yet. But it was lovely to learn a new fiber skill. Next, I was honored to help judge (knitting and crochet) the Skein and Garment Competition. Can you tell I had a great time at SAFF? Jonesy hung out at the campsite and visited the animals.


I was invited to participate in a little pottery show and sale last week at the Glynn Visual Arts Center. I don't have a lot of inventory yet, but here's a photo of my Mud & Straw table. ALL 5 of my baskets sold as well as several trays and other items! Wow! I'm encouraged! Looks like there will be more Pine Needle basket weaving in my future. Good thing I love to do it.

So here are some photos of a couple more of the Pine Needle and Pottery baskets I've finished and some work in progress. Life is good.

Life must be good in South Carolina, what with the She Crab Soup and a nice cold DANG!
I'll have to look for DANG! There's a gas station on I45, I think it's in Centerville,TX. They carry something like 300-400 different brands and flavors of sodas.

Your baskets are beautiful!!! One more thing to put on the 'when I'm retired with tons of time' list.
Haa! That is my crochet tire cover. I am at this years SAFF right now in my RV. I can't believe I stumbled across this picture. I crocheted a better tire cover for this year. It is a sheep.
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