Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soaring, Selling and a Bit of Knitting

"Best Weekend Ever" was how Randy classified last weekend. We went to Benton, Tennessee and visted the Chilhowee Gliderport for his birthday. (If you get Southern Living Magazine, there's an article on Sarah, her brother Ike, and the gliderport in the issue with the pumpkins on the cover.) We stayed at the Cherokee Inn and both experiences were FABULOUS! The people were wonderful and we felt welcome right from the start. Our hosts at Cherokee Inn even called us late Friday night to make sure we hadn't gotten lost. We're already planning our next trip!

Flying gliders, or soaring, is pretty amazing. You climb in this plane that's resting on its belly and one wing. The plane has no motor. No prop. No parachute. The seats are small, only room for two (and a small dog). A couple teenage boys run across the grassy field to retrieve the "tow rope" from the back of the retired crop-duster airplane and connect it to a ring on the nose of the glider. As the tow plane heads down the runway, one of the boys runs along with the glider, holding a wing so the glider is level with the ground. In a few seconds the glider is off the grass, but the airplane still hasn't lifted off. Now that's an "oh shit crap" feeling! The plane lifts up and pretty soon it's just the tow plane, a length of yellow nylon rope and the glider...and a very big mountain ridge. After the glider disconnects with the tow plane, you're free. Literally. It's incredible!

Ike was our pilot for the weekend. I'm sure this kid was born sometime after I graduated high school, but he was super! His dog, Spike, even likes to fly. They really were the nicest people and I hope we can spend more time with them. I heard a rumor that Randy is pricing used gliders...

I'm glad our glider experience was so great, because the weekend before that wasn't. The last weekend in September is National Alpaca Farm Days, and farms around the country open their doors (or fences) to visitors. I had made up my mind earlier in the month to not visit any farms, mainly because I dropped a lot of cash at the spinning workshop...not to mention the fact that I've heard rumblings among the family that I have enough fiber. (As if...) So, with my mind made up not to go, I went happily about my business that weekend. I had to pick Zack up from a camping trip at Meriwether Lewis Campground off the Natchez Trace Parkway on Saturday afternoon. I plotted my route on the map and it hit me that there was an alpaca farm just off the Trace. And they were participating in farm days. Lord, I'm weak. So I figured if I left about 20 minutes earlier than planned, I'd have enough time to swing by the farm, meet a few alpacas, take some pictures, check out the fiber and get back on the road.

As I rounded a corner, I nearly drove off the road for there were about 30 alpacas lined up along the fence humming a little tune while watching the cars go by. How exciting! Could it be any more picturesque? Could I get any weaker? I pulled into the designated parking area, got out of the car, and walked into the open air tent where they had all things alpaca for sale. A cashier's table was set up at the entrance and a couple women were sitting around the table talking to one another. No one looked up. I entered unnoticed. I wandered out of the tent to the gate and man let me in. He was busy talking to someone else and only opened the gate, no greeting. I spent a couple minutes with the alpacas and then went back to the tent (remember, I had only given myself a 20 minute pad). I found some lovely charcoal gray roving and had to interrupt the conversation at the table to inquire about the price. "I think it's $4.50 an ounce..." and went back to her conversation. To which I responded, "do you think, or do you know?" I really should have walked out at that point. She pointed me in the direction of someone who would know for sure. I asked about the price, tried to make small talk about her Louet wheel, weaving, the drum carder, wool versus alpaca, but was unable to make a dent. I purchased some of the roving, although I had to weigh it myself...and had to tell them what it was. As the lady handed me the bag of roving she turned back to the conversation I interupted. I didn't take the bag and she turned back to look at me. I said "thank you?" as I reached for the bag and she said, somewhat puzzled with my inflection, "oh, you're welcome." I think I snorted as I walked off. I should have asked for my money back.

If you own this alpaca farm please know that I won't be back, and I have told my friends. If you own an alpaca farm (or place of business) please greet your customers and thank them for visiting whether they purchase anything or not. Oh well, at least the alpacas seemed happy to meet me.

I also promised photos of the yarn I spun at Appalachian Center for Craft. Here's my proof! I wouldn't normally spin with toxic orange or neon pink, but it was a workshop and workshops are meant for experimentation. I think the prettiest of the batch is the second from the left. It's the neon pink carded with teal. It's a nice heathery mulberry/mauve. Interesting things happen when you mix colors. Try it. You may be surprised!

This was the annual yard sale weekend. We did ok and on a scale of 1 to 10 this year was about a 6. We didn't have hardly any traffic and sales were sporadic. I got rid of a bunch of stuff, but we ended up taking about 12 boxes to Goodwill. Could it be that the economy has everyone scared to spend? Or maybe there were too many yard sales this weekend. I don't know. But I did get rid of a bit of my stash. Oh, didn't I mention that I was selling some stash? The good Brown Sheep went first and some oddballs sold, but I still have quite a bit left. I'm going to post in Ravelry in the "sell/trade" category in the coming days (or as soon as my camera charges up again.)

I didn't knit on the Cabaret Raglan as much as I thought I would. I had hoped it would be done by now, but I was in the mood to knit with wool, not cotton. It really is about being in the mood. However, I'm nearly done with my drop stitch scarf. It's gorgeous!

Here's the yarn I've spun up for the next Big Project. I can't tell you what it is because I just can't. Not until I'm finished. I can tell you that the wool is dorset and I dyed it before spinning. It's a two-ply about worsted/aran weight and has a good spring to it. Yum!

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