Where it’s most certainly all about the wool. Black Sheep Gathering at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene Oregon where it has been for the last 21 years since 1989. The very first gathering was in 1974 and was a yearly potluck for sheep people ( breeders and consumers) to get together meet, share, create community and sell. And you know 36 years later all of us woolly types are still showing up to meet, share, compare notes. commiserate, show our sheep and our fleeces and our yarns and our talents. That small town tightly knit community potluck atmosphere permeates the whole event. Along with a tradition the highest caliber of teachers, breeders, judges, vendors, knitter, spinner, weaver… all fibery type people and critters.
I’ll never forget when I got my letter saying I had finally gotten into to be a vendor after applying for years. (Yes, there is a wait list. ) I was so excited and maybe just a bit nervous. Getting that booth at Black Sheep was one of those defining career moments for me. I felt validated and like maybe I had found a whole lot more of my people.
I remember every single detail about that weekend from setting up to breaking down and those memories still hold true today.
Black Sheep is a tradition for a whole lot of us in a time where traditions are forgotten, ignored or reinvented. Growth and change are good and so are traditions, especially time honored ones like BSG, that obviously work.
I have to have serious firm discussions with myself every single gathering about how I don’t have time for a sheep or two or forty. My absolute favorites all the time are the Wensleydale breeds. I just love them. The one in the header pic here almost got me. Then the voice of reason stepped in and all she had to say this time was Sock Summit and then the hysterical laughter ensued.
I escaped the booth a couple of times to listen to Judith MacKenzie judge the fleeces. I wish I could’ve sat there and listened the whole time or recorded her, so I could play it over again and again. Judith knows so much and imparts her woolly wisdom with such grace and heart. I’ve listened to fleece judging before with really good judges and learned a lot. It’s the heart and soul that Judith brings to her work that adds in the extra something for me. And… I was lucky enough ( I swear I did not elbow that rancher out of my way.) to purchase 8 of those prize fleeces. I don’t even feel the least bit guilty or like a fleece pig. Nope not at all.
Aren’t they lovely?
As with every show we do it’s all the people that make it so much fun. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Lovely moments. Like the husband below comfortable enough with who he is to hold his wife’s very purple purse while she shopped in our crowded booth.
I got sock flashed a good deal which just never ever gets old I love it so much. Also very interesting to explain to a nonknitter. This recently happened at Whole Foods while I was in line paying and the checker just could not get over it. A story for another time.
All in all a really wonderful Gathering. So good to see so many familiar lovely faces. As always thank you for your support and knitterly goodness.
I usually don’t purchase much at shows. That time thing again. I certainly made up for it this time though. I’ll post those on Friday because I seriously scored some crazy goodness.
I blame the weaving.
The lovely scarf is Daybreak by Stephen West and was knit by Dawn in Pond Scum And Rollingstone Str.