Taos Wool Festival 2013

The ATTL Booth with people!

The ATTL Booth with people!

I know I am behind with my posts. Doing a complete career change is a little time consuming, but things are settling down and I find I have some time for sharing my silly pictures with folks.

So many baskets of skeins!

So many baskets of skeins!

Back in October 2013, I participated in the Taos Wool Festival with the Art Through The Loom guild. I have enjoyed the festival for years, but this was my first time participating as an artist. It was nice sharing a booth with a group of ladies, as that meant we could share booth time. The ATTL participators were Glenna Dean, Kathy Konecki (Necessary Little Luxuries), Nancy Woodworth, Suzanne Correira (Fire Ant Ranch), Sandy Voss (Cabin Textiles), Diane de Souza, and myself. This was great for everyone as it can be a kind of long weekend with set up Friday afternoon, and then all day Saturday and Sunday, with take down at 4 or 5 PM Sunday. I also had a cold, so I was all snivelly. And our booth was in the shade, so it was quite chilly for the entire weekend for us.

Woven and knitted clothing.

Woven and knitted clothing.

Yet, despite the sniffles and the cold, I still had a blast. Friday set up was probably the hardest part. We had to figure out how to put up two tents. Haha! I like to sit back and simply take direction, but we had a limited number of people who were familiar with the tents, and lots of people trying to help. Still, there was plenty of laughter throughout the process.

Skeins by various ATTL members.

Skeins by various ATTL members.

I was told that many people will come walk through on Saturday and buy larger items on Sunday. As I was selling rugs, I didn’t expect any sales Saturday, but one happened Saturday morning, and then again, and again. Sunday was good too. And Sunday I brought my man to help with take down. We showed up early to have time to walk around. Also, there is this amazing food booth that sells kibbeh in Greek yogurt and tortilla. So good! Us ladies at the booth also got him to model a button neck scarf thingy. Yeah, that’s a technical term.

Wool shag rugs by Cabin Textiles & Woven Hearth.

Wool shag rugs by Cabin Textiles & Woven Hearth.

And then there is the livestock. Yes, fuzzy-wuzzies are allowed at this event. People bring their bunnies, their sheep, their llamas, their alpacas. And sometimes they even put on demonstrations, showing how to shear the wee beasties. My man especially likes the llamas because they hum. And he hums back at them and they nearly always respond, some of them walking up to him. Though I don’t know if they see him as a kindred spirit or are contemplating spitting in his eye. Never can tell with a llama.

Here's a handsome llama.

Here’s a handsome llama.

This year, I purchased just one thing of goat milk soap. As I was changing careers from a stable office job to a weaver, I felt the need to conserve money. It was hard. Very hard. So many gorgeous things, left, right, and center. And people definitely encourage you to touch items, enjoy them. They know how to tempt! My mom purchased a new wooden shuttle from the folks she has been buying from for years, KCL Woods. It’s a gorgeous little piece.

This is my Farm Ninja outfit. Nifty face scarf thingy, huh?

This is my Farm Ninja outfit. Nifty face scarf thingy, huh?

And then we participated in the swap bin. Each year, the Taos Wool Festival organizers go around with a wagon full of items donated by the participants. You can swap for something of equal or lesser value. The wagon hit us late Sunday after I was all packed up and simply helping other ATTL members. My mom insisted I play so she donated a little rug and I got this nifty knitted thingy (a cowl?) made by Kathy Hartmeister. Well, you can see in my Farm Ninja photo that it fits over my head and is wide enough to cover my ears, nose, mouth, and neck. I really, really like it because, unlike a scarf, there are no ends to get tangled in the hay or inadvertently dunked in the water trough as I see to farm chores.

Here are some knitting kits for those who forgot their own knitting.

Here are some knitting kits for those who forgot their own knitting.

As I live near Ojo Caliente, I took the back road to Taos each day, which took me over the Taos Gorge. On Sunday, my man and I stopped to walk the bridge and take photos like tourists. Sunday I also wore my one and only knitted-by-me sweater. I got lots of compliments on it at the festival, which was nice. It is not something I would have worn to the office as I think many people would find it odd. I think I am going to really enjoy hanging out with artists.

This is my man modeling a neck collar for us ladies.

This is my man modeling a neck collar for us ladies.

This is me at the Taos Gorge in my knitted sweater.

This is me at the Taos Gorge in my knitted sweater.

My mom's new shuttle.

My mom’s new shuttle.

Little sheep!

Little sheep!

Taos Gorge, October 2013.

Taos Gorge, October 2013.

More skeins.

More skeins.

Alpacas!

Alpacas!

More skeins and roving at the ATTL booth.

More skeins and roving at the ATTL booth.

Some wool throws and a wool rug.

Some wool throws and a wool rug.

Skeins by various ATTL members.

Skeins by various ATTL members.

Shaggy llama.

Shaggy llama.

The ATTL Booth!

The ATTL Booth!

Prepping for My First Show

My first business cards.

My first business cards.

This month, I will be entering my first show, the Art Through the Loom Ghost Ranch Show. Now I grew up going to shows and art fairs, fiestas, and festivals, gallery openings, etc. with my mom for her weavings (Cabin Textiles). These things are usually pretty tame affairs; it’s a bunch of fiber artists being polite in public, dressed nicely, and usually worn out from trying to get their craft done earlier in the day and silently wondering how early they can duck out without being rude.

So, I have no real anxiety about the 2 hours at the reception standing around in a skirt making small talk about the weather. No, my anxiety is about the details of pulling my pieces together. Business cards, sewing the tabbies, using my new vacuum, selecting the rugs to go, and how to display them.

These rolled rugs are waiting to have their tabbies sewn.

These rolled rugs are waiting to have their tabbies sewn.

I finally have business cards and hanging tags. These were two important things. The business cards can have all my contact info, whereas the hanging tags simply have my name and business name on it, along with cleaning instructions. Each rug will get a hanging tag in which I will write the dimensions and price, leaving space for the Ghost Ranch bar code sticker. Of course, on set up day (a few days before the reception), I will forget my business cards and have to bring them at the reception. I think the Ghost Ranch staff keep a few business cards from each artist at the front desk? I will learn. Details.

Next is learning the sewing machine. I know. Some of you just had your eyes bug out. I grew up in a weaver’s house and never learned the sewing machine. I will probably do a separate post on this for comedy’s sake. Anyway, each of my rugs has tabbies at each end that need to be folded over and sewn. Straight lines, people. That’s all I need to master. Wish me luck.

These rugs are awaiting the sewing of the tabbies, a vacuuming, and tags.

These rugs are awaiting the sewing of the tabbies, a vacuuming, and tags.

I purchased a little hand vacuum specifically for my rugs. I have cats and dogs. I live on a little farm. Each rug WILL be vacuumed before leaving this house. So, the guest bedroom is pet free and the guest bed makes the perfect flat surface for vacuuming, measuring, and tagging.

What to take? Well……I have sock rugs and shag rugs right now. I am planning tentatively to take 10-15 rugs. I am also entering a show in August and I want to make sure I will have enough for both. The sock rugs are limited in number right now simply because they take so much prep. I have cut up and looped all the colored socks I had. I have a huge bag of light grey and white socks that need to be dyed before they can be turned into rugs – but that is unlikely to happen before either show. So, the Ghost Ranch show may get more shag rugs in the mix as I hold back more sock rugs for the August Rag Rug Festival.