So the big black rented Chrysler 200 took off (with us in it) on Friday night -- and, by the way, don't buy one of those things. The electrical system doesn't work well and the thing has THE worst shock absorbers I've every experienced. EVERY bump in the road (and in Michigan, that's quite a few) have been memorized and compared. The object of the exercise was a wee fiber expo at Portland, Indiana (the Jay County event), a two-day festival in a medium-sized agricutural town right in the middle of Amish Country. The Amish are an amazing people -- their horses are even more amazing -- dark, sleek, well-tended, trained to move like trotters behind the carriage. How do you like this guy?
In Amish country, it's common enough to see farm after farm without electricity and with carriages parked in the driveway. I have wondered if the Amish ever live and work in cities -- it's a question I should have put to a lovely young couple we met in a cafe happily munching away on fried chicken and gorgeous french fries (they were munching, not we). He was wearing THE most gorgeous teal-blue linen shirt I've ever seen. Decided not to photograph it -- I think they would have been either annoyed or embarrassed (the Amish are not in a zoo, after all). But of course it was hand-crafted by one or the other of them. So was her bonnet, her black cape, her beautiful teal-blue skirt. I do know that the Amish and Mennonites buy bolts of fabric and simply make garments until it's gone -- How I wish the rest of us could have just one ounce of that kind of thrift, that lack of regard for display.
At the small but reasonably good quality festival, I decided almost at once that we would be buying a boatload of roving and only one lot of yarn. There was some handpainted yarn on display at a couple of booths, but it was not unlike yarn we already have, so I walked on by. One woman, however, had made some really spectacular, chunky weight handspun, very soft, with natural (not chemical) dyes blended in the roving to look like two-ply when finally spun up. I bought her out of the handspun -- didn't get any of her handpaints (we have too many yarns more or less like them). The handspun was wonderful - We emptied the white wire cages you see in this picture. The maker is not only talented but nice -- here with her back to the newly-empty white cages:
Here is Ms. Habeeb close up:
...amd then, of course, I found Jamie again. He and his partner make spectacular roving (Wooly Knob). So the trip turned into a buying spree for our small spinning program. He had brought some truly gorgeous black, undyed alpaca-wool balls that I quickly put into the "Sold" bag -- plus some semi-solid colors in various combinations of wool, alpaca, angora, and (in one case) angelina. Jamie specializes in yarn with thrums -- odd stuff thrown in to add texture. So I got some brilliant yellow with silk shreds and a couple of other varieties with unusual, colorful additives. One of them looks a lot like a black night with shots of red and green and gold lightning bolts. Here's the guy himself:
All in all, this was a good but exhausting trip. The antique shops are numerous in the area -- locals call it Antique Alley -- and we got just plain exhausted moving from shop to shop in search of buried treasure. We found some -- but it took a toll. By Saturday night, we were home again more than ready to watch some junky television.
But then we woke up: GUESS WHAT IS GROWING NEXT TO THE DRIVEWAY? It's SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! svb
Enjoy the season -- the quiet but certain awakening, the soft, musky smells of greening leaves and flowers. Nothing on earth comes close to being so comforting, so much a reminder of the cycles through which every life must move. svb