Sunday, February 18, 2007

A personal challenge

But when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same
Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards
for their future security.

...Declaration of Independence

Imagine there's no countries.. It isn't hard to do.. Nothing to kill or die
for. And no religion too.. Imagine all the people.. Living life in

You may say I'm a dreamer.. But I'm not the only one.. I hope someday you'll
join us.. And the world will be as one

....John Lennon

I had cause this weekend to hear both these texts, completely unrelated, but in close enough proximity to get me to thinking. Both texts were overlaying thoughts that I had about this book

The premise of this philosophy is that we create, through our own beliefs, actions, thoughts and personal energy the life we live. WE can change the direction of our lives by owning and accepting the responsibility for those same energies. It's what every religion has ever taught. Faith. Belief. Prayer. Possitive action. Non resistant protest.

The first quote says to me that "when any authority over us imposes abuses upon people, it is not only the right, but the RESPONSIBILITY of those who are able, to take action".

The second quote tells me that reaching for PEACE is an assertive and goal oriented action. Imagine...IMAGINE. What is it to imagine, if not actively creating a reality?

Our country is currently telling us we are in a war against terrorism. I assert to you that if we accept that we must war against them, then they have already won. They have already dictated what our action will be? Really?

Does this mean that I am anti war? yes. Am I anti Military service, anti service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia... absolutely not. I support our troops more than ever but I choose to pray that they will protect, liberate and open doors of opportunity for the civilians in those areas that they don't even realize are possibilities in their cultures of oppression.

Where will we as a people direct the energy of our actions, beliefs and PRAYERS? Toward fighting, or toward working for PEACE. I will not FEAR - I will practice bravery. I will not HATE - I will practice unconditional love. I will not COMPETE - I will lift up others that I will also rise to their new level. I will not just FORGIVE - I will thank others FOR GIVING me that experience.

What will you do?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fibery stuff

Remember when I used to post about knitting and spinning and stuff? Yeah, those were the good old days. LOL
Ok, well back a couple of weeks ago I introduced you to a new project of mine, the Sheep Sweater. You might remember that I had a rather unfortunate event with my beloved bunny sweater that involved winged vermin of a nasty variety. Well the sheep sweater is finished and the bunny sweater is all better again and I'm here to introduce you. :)

First, to put Judy's mind to rest, here is the repaired Bunny Sweater. For those who aren't so familiar with this one, the dark is cria (baby) huacaya alpaca and each of the colored stripes is from a special rabbit or alpaca I've owned or worked with. My very first 2 Satin angoras are represented there along with my red SA herd-buck Zahir on the collar. It certainly is a sweater worth repairing to me.

This is the back where the majority of damage was done. I think the re-weaving looks pretty darned good. I couldn't use the exact yarn so there is some color difference but with all that fluff.. Now the alpaca parts match better because I actually did find some leftover yarn. How's that for luck? I have to thank one reader for the excellent idea to full the sweater. I didn't' have to resort to cutting the sweater apart but fulling the entire thing really stabilized it and I think, made it a better sweater. Had I done that in the beginning, it might not have ended up so lonnnnnnnnngggggg. :)
And now the new sweater which I have dubbed the Sheepy Sweater:

I just love this thing. You might notice the different shades of natural white and if you could really see up close you'd see that the textures are quite different too. This was knitted using skeins of yarn spun at demos over the past years. Who knows what breeds of sheep those came from or where or when. Do I care? Not one whit. There is history in that sweater and I love that. I had planned to put more bunny designs and more angora in the yoke but as it progressed, it just didn't' seem right somehow. I really like the bands of color as they are.
Now, that is certainly not to say I didn't include angora. HA! not likely. How is that for an outrageous collar? That is 2 strands of FA yarn held together and just knitted garter stitch. Absolutely NOTHING was done to bring out that fluff either. That is the simple and decadent beauty of French Angora. That particular fiber came from a fantastic doe named Kaboom bred by Nancy Nickols. I never cared for the name 'Kaboom' and renamed her Morghanna...but ya know, the term "Ka-Boom!" sure fits that fiber doesn't it? :)
This is my own charted design though I borrowed the idea from a great sweater I saw at Farm Show. The design is supposed to represent a road next to a fence and the sheep standing behind the fence. Above the sheep is a row of texture work that represents fluffy clouds. OK, so it's stylized, I'm ok with that. The sheep design goes all the way around the back of the sweater and to the other side. I used an angora/alpaca blend handspun for the cuffs to they are soft, soft, soft. I hate scratchy cuffs. {shudder}
So that's my fibery exploits the past couple of weeks. I've also been knitting up some smaller stuff like barn caps and fingerless mitts just to use up more of this demo yarn but they really don't merit photos. They are warm and functional, but not so pretty.
Tomorrow, Photos from the Wool, Skein and Garment contest at the PAngora rabbit show last weekend.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

PaSRBA Convention Report

OK, so I've been pretty absent recently, and you all wondered why, right? Most of my local friends know that from December till February I'm so busy I meet myself coming and going. Christmas in December and Farm Show in January. This year was no different. The final jewel to my yearly Triple Crown is the PaSRBA Rabbit Convention the first weekend of February. What a fantastic weekend it was!

The PA Rabbit Breeder's Convention is a HUGE show employing 31+ judges from all over the country to judge over 6 THOUSAND rabbits and 300+ Cavies per DAY in a huge facility encompassing 2 large exhibit halls and 2 smaller exhibit halls plus the kitchen and center hall. The photo at left is a look down the 28 judging tables of the main hall.
I served as Show Superintendant for the Wool Breed showroom. I can say un-equivically that I had NO idea how much decision making, organization, diplomacy and standing firm there was to the job. I have a whole new respect for any person who volunteers for this important position. My first challenge was to arrange the room to make it more functional for the 500+ wool breed entries expected. Now, in the all breed room this means enough space for carriers and people and maybe a few chairs for people who can't stand 8 hours at a time. In the wool room, this means carriers of rabbits, people, grooming tables, blowers, electrical outlets for those blowers, chairs for all the exhibitors and room for tack boxes and grooming equipment. These things are not accessories to wool breed exhibitors; they are essentials. Of course in the wool room I only had 4 judges and 500 or so rabbits and no vendors as opposed to 6000 rabbits, 28 judges and vendors. Brian Bell has my awe as well as my respect!

Once the room was set up and breeders started coming in, most of the work was done, right? Not even close! There were the 100+ entries of Lionhead rabbits to account for. As a non-recognized breed one doesn't expect such high numbers but there they were and they were certainly welcome. The challenge for the LHs wasn't just the numbers but the fact that the vast majority of LH owners have no ARBA show experience. We want to make these folks welcome and that includes introducing them to everything we do from what sort of carriers are appropriate to where and how to set up their areas to how to write for the judges. Saturday was a bit hectic but they caught on quickly and Sunday was much more efficient. Thanks to Tori Whitehause for her tremendous help on Saturday teaching writters. Thank you to everyone for welcoming these new friends to our ARBA family. I'm really sorry I didn't get photos of some of those winning rabbits. Very pretty!
The decisions and organizing judges, rabbits, equipment, problem issues, unexpected challenges never ends. Are the judges moving along on time? Do the judges have realistic entry numbers to judge? Do we have writters for each of the judges? Are the exhibitors getting to their classes on time? Is this a DQ? Is this one fixable? Where are the youth cards and folders!?! Holy cow, what a job. The General Show Super Brian Bell said it best; "It's fun, but it's a sick sort of fun." oh yeah. At one point, I was trying to show my SA's, super'ing the show AND teaching a new person to write for the judge. I joked with Judge Paul Jourgelonis that if I had my judging license he would be completely superfluous. LOL
The quality of the wool breed rabbits in general was AMAZING! For those who may not know, the ARBA wool breeds include the 4 Angora breeds; English, French, Giant and Satin. American Fuzzy Lops, Jersey Wooley and our guest breed the LionHeads. Not only were the Open shows in our room but the Youth wool breeds showed with us also. I always encourage the youth to show alongside the Open folks because I find both bring out the best in the other. To demonstrate the outstanding quality of our youth wool breeds, Saturday's Youth Best In Show was an English Angora and Sunday's Youth BIS was a Fuzzy Lop! Go wool!!!! Now, who out there said wool breeds are too much for youth to handle? HA!!! Go YOUTH wool! (I just wish I had photos of those rabbits)
In addition to serving as wool room Super, I also had to oversee the Thrianta Specialty Show on Saturday and the PAngora Specialty on Sunday. Now, don't get too impressed yet. I may be pres of those two clubs but the vast bulk of the show work falls on the efficient shoulders of the club secretary Ellen Anderson. Wowza what a job she did with that AND managing the housing coops for the entire show. I don't know how she does it, but I KNOW she does a better job than I every could. Now for some photos of some amazing rabbits from those shows.

Congratulations to Meg Whitehouse for winning Best of Breed and BEST IN SHOW at our first D9 Konijn Von Thrianta Specialty show with her Sr Buck CCR's Wiska (WI)

Thanks also to Gary Michaud for an excellent job judging and teaching us about our delightful little redheads. The second photo was taken of the senior doe lineup (12 entries in that class alone!!!!) There were around 25 entries for each show. That's FANTASTIC for this new and rare breed! A-hem...we just happened to have more entries than the mini satins. I'm just saying... ;)
Now for the PAngora Specialty Show. There were wonderful entries and winners in all of the angora shows. That included the Open Show Saturday, the UARC Specialty Show on Saturday (Dru Shephard won BIS with a REW EA that had every spinner's hands just ITCHING) and the Open show on Sunday. But it was the BOB winners that judge Eric Stewart raved about on Sunday at the PAngora Show that I want to share with you. Now, let me say a special thank you to our judge Cathy Patrick who judge the individual breeds and did a WONDERFUL job. Eric stepped in to judge BIS and Wooler class after Cathy spent a very long day with a TON of rabbits to handle. Thanks Eric. He didn't look unhappy to judge these guys BTW. :)
OK, I was trying to get a better photo of the Sable FA and the EA but I got Eric's hindquarter instead. We decided to name him BIS hindquarter. hehehehehehhe Eric was totally impressed by all the BOB winners and actually stepped aside to suggest that anyone with a camera take photos of these outstanding examples of their breeds. I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. the Satin Angora. Kathy has done a wonderful job with that rabbits breeding and care. But I have to profess a serious lust for that Sable French Angora bred and owned by Amy Spang. The color is gorgous and the coat is MAGNIFICENT. The texture and density are to die for.
And the winner is....
Best of Breed / BEST IN SHOW
Satin Angora Colored Sr Doe
Bred and Owned by Kathy Kenworthy of PA
Judged by Cathy Patrick D8 District Director and Eric Stewart D9 District Director