Sunday, September 14, 2008

it's all happening at the fair

I get very excited about going to the Tennessee State Fair fiber arts events...a fleece judging and auction and a spinning contest. It all happens on a Thursday evening (very inconvenient...) and because it happens in September, it sometimes even conflicts with Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. (Jewish High Holidays which happen in the fall.)
However, we've managed to make it to these events several years now without too many conflicts, and I'm always grateful to Kim Caulfield, of Far Out Farm, for doing all the organizing. It is so much fun!

First, we leave home before dinner time, arriving in Nashville to eat supper before the fair. We've found a great pan-Asian cafeteria sort of place that is relatively near Belmont University (of 2008 presidential debate fame) and we stop there first. Twenty dollars later, we've rolled out of there, very full, after eating salad rolls, seaweed salad, ginger chicken, chicken curry, brown rice, noodles, curry egg roll and veggie dumplings. On to the fair!
The signage is better every year. My favorites were these two I've posted, especially including the subtitle: "Educating Youth about Our Food and Fiber System." What a good mission!

The professor spent some time this year checking out other exhibits while I got up close and personal with some sheep. (he's a bit allergic to the sheep bedding they use, so he limits his time in the sheep barns, poor sneezy guy.) Most of the sheep were highly groomed meat sheep, but I saw a couple of very personable sheep with nice fleeces. Here's a long wool with personality and a colored fleece with character....
The spinning contests and auction more than doubled in size this year. I was thrilled to see such good participation from the spinning community. I thought maybe, just maybe, it was because I promoted the event in Spin-Off Magazine in my Armchair Traveler article...I tried to ask folks if they'd read about it, and I got responses like..."Oh, did you read that?" (Snort. No, I wrote it! ) Or, from the people who did read the article, questions like "Why didn't you include these other farms?!" etc. You can't please all the people all the time, I guess... Apparently Ravelry (the new online knitting database community) is the reason for the increase in attendance, so no need for me to get a big ego about my article or anything. :)

The spinning contests are informal and fun. The goal is to spin the longest yarn in 10 minutes...and the categories are spindle and wheel, novice and open class. So, I enter both the spindle and wheel open class every year, just to enjoy some of Far Out Farm's lovely carded Romney and a spinning good time. This year, I placed 1st in the spindle competition and 2nd in the wheel competition. I also had a great time socializing and spinning!

I have lots more photos, including some fleece photos. (of course I bought some fleeces!) However, I'll continue on talking about this in my next blog post. It is only one evening event but for me, the enjoyment lasts for a week or so. I've already washed all three fleeces that I've bought and I'm going to start some sample spindling at my spinning group this afternoon.

To the right, you can see an irrelevant shot of my enormous Jerusalem artichokes. I'm showing them off because they just about reach the sky and I'm excited about digging them up soon. In the meanwhile, though, we've been having great gusts of wind as part of the leftovers of Hurricane Ike. I wanted to preserve an image of these fun flowers on a sunny day, just in case they don't make it through the deep breezes. Let the sun shine in!

Thanks for all your pie encouragement. Friday, I finished the peach pie and made an apple pie. Some people just can't be I've tried to up my exercise a little to compensate. What do you do to compensate for your pie habits?!


Blogger vanessa said...

wow, fun at the fair! congrats on your wins :-)

i need to start exercising again...

September 14, 2008 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

How cool is that? Congrats on the 1st & 2nd place. Why is it I'm not surprised. :)

September 14, 2008 at 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Congratulations! Doesn't surprise me in the least :-)

Sounds like you had a brilliant time.

September 15, 2008 at 3:11 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

Sounds like great fun! Esp the contest! Woot! Woot!....on placing first and second!

And Yay for the sunchokes too! Mine are almost ready also, the blooms are hanging over from the recent rains. Have you ever eaten them cooked? I've heard they make a nice subsitute for mashed potatoes...

September 15, 2008 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Cyndy, we ONLY eat the jerusalem artichokes cooked. Roasted with other root veggies, or in creamy soups, or sliced in oven or pan. I don't really do mashed anything too often--it's not our favorite-- but we grow these because we love to eat them in the winter!

September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Okay, now I've got James Taylor, "Someone tells me it's all happening at the zoo" bouncing around my brain. Sounds like a wonderful time!

September 15, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger weebug said...

i love that last photo! it is beautiful those sheep were so cute!

September 15, 2008 at 10:35 PM  

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