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Hello fellow fiber artists and enthusiasts:

I have just returned from my first Appalachian Ohio Fiber Retreat, held in Howard, OH near Mt. Vernon, OH. We had the best time ever. We talked about all sorts of fiber crafts/arts, and had a wonder time together. Sherry and her daughter Suzy were our hostesses, and provided a wonder environment, wonder food, and were excellent hosts for this occasion.

On Friday night, we all got together, talked about our various skills/loves... knitting, crocheting, wet felting, needle felting, spinning, etc. Thanks to about 20 different vendors (including Knit Picks) we had plenty of door prizes, and game prizes to hand out to our members.

These pictures show some of the things I brought home from the retreat:

Saturday morning we were all up early and had a delicious breakfast followed by a class in needle felting. I tried my best to create the sheep using fiber, pipe cleaners and a needle, but all I got was this rather lopsided image. I am definitely a knitter and not a felter.

There was one lady who attended the retreat who was definitely a "fiber artist." I watched her create a lovely mouse (of course I messed up that picture), but here is her version of the sheep sitting and knitting. This is truely art - like sculpting with fiber (my definition):

Later in the afternoon we visited a sheep farm owned and operated by Annie, a wonderful knitter, spinner, weaver. These are some of her sheep.

So are these:

And this

Annie and her husband live in this wonderful farm house:

And in the winter, when the roads are impassible, they use these snow shoes to navigate down a huge hill to civilization:

Annie's studio:

Annie's handspun/hand dyed yarns:

The Great Pyrenees who guarded and herded her sheep:

Annie's barns and studio:

We then visited a Fiber Studio of a local fiber/yarn vendor:

Her shop was closed for the day, but she opened for our group and we had a lovely time shopping and talking fiber:

And so, for this year, the Appalachian Ohio Fiber Guild says good by to the Apple Valley:

I think we all learned a lot this weekend. With the variety of interests represented: knitting, wet felting, needle felting, spinning, crocheting, raising fiber animals, dyeing, gardening etc. Everyone learned something about everything. Our guild has gained two new members, and a very dedicated sister member (she lives too far away to participate on a regular basis).

Big news: AOFG project for the year: Aprons: For our next meeting, each member is to purchase an apron and begin decorating it. Each month, the aprons will be returned to the guild meetings to handoff to the next artist. Each member will choose her own embellishment - hopefully using the full range of fiber skills. We will hopefully display these aprons at the end of the year, at the Gallipolis French Art Colony Museum.

Yesterday afternoon I knit up all the pieces of my knitted sheep. Today I had to pick up pipe cleaner reinforcements for the legs and some eyes.

Here are the three views of my finished knitted sheep.

I'm thinking about using some strands of black yarn that I have and making the hooves black. That will come tomorrow.

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Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on June 29, 2009 at 4:45am
Mrs. K. I was really amazed at how protective the Great Pyrenees was of the sheep. When we got out of the trucks, he immediately warned them to go and hide, and easily herded toward their shelter. We had to wait several minutes for them to peek out of that shelter and to come to a place where we could at least photo them. I'm a "big dog" person myself, and have always thought the Great Pyrenees a wonder dog.
Comment by Mrs. K on June 28, 2009 at 11:09pm
Sounds like a wonderful time! So excited to read all this.
I just love the Great Pyrenees and am sure they're doing a much better job guarding the sheep than our German Shepherd. The first time he met a sheep which then proceeded to bleet at him - he jumped up and back, turned tail and ran inside the house! So much for being a sheep dog. LOL

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