If...if...if only all my days could be something like the past weekend lost in fiber. In Eugene, Oregon, of all places. Nothing against Eugene, please, in the 1990s the publication site of "The Worm Digest." On one of our visits to Portland before relocating, we made an unforgettable overnight stop when I was their east coast correspondent.
Zorba was the intense and gracious Editor whose futon we slept on in his living room. Ron has never forgotten this; we were only 60-something then. Very granola place, still felt like the1960s. So it's no surprise that the vibes are different--even from the perspective of Portland.
In 2008, we took our oldest grandchild, Zach, with us when he was six years old. We discovered then that a child companion alters the experience. Shepherds, sheep ranchers are eager to encourage children to touch the animals being prepared for showing. Now his younger sister Zoe was six; it was time for an out-of-town overnight to "see the sheep."
Thursday afternoon we took her to get a haircut. She had one side braid her mother had made when we arrived. Clueless grandma had no idea that "braids" at a salon would turn into a glam "French braid" production. Cute but did not last through swimming practice. They were gone by Saturday morning when we picked her up.
By late afternoon we were in Eugene and braidless Zoe met her first sheep up-close. Joanie Livermore of Double J in Oregon City noticed that she did not need much encouragement to help clean the sheep's coat for showing the next day. Busy taking pictures, I missed out on touching the animal's skin under the curly white fleece and feeling, as Ron reported, its warmth.
How do the old folks engage with the Gathering? Ron has a special fondness for Black Sheep as the place he bought his beautiful spinning wheel from Wallace van Eaton of Yakima, Washington. Already in his eighties back then, Wallace has not been a vendor for the past three years and we learned he still lives there though retired from hand crafting wheels.
Ron looks forward to buying roving at the event for his spinning. It's a good place to have exchanges with other fiber enthusiasts about his knitting and weaving. He always carries along some button hats and small woven tapestries. Zoe was a willing model. Several people will receive a hat for the winter in the mail. No, never sells them.