Sheep Fest offered back to basics experiences

The Almanac | July 31, 2002

As reported by Lorraine Gregus, in The Almanac July 31,2002:

” Summer is such an enjoyable time. Festivals and concerts and all sorts of outdoor activities are available each week. With so much to pick from, there certainly is something for everyone.
Continuing my search for a little education along with the fun, my husband Andy and I recently drove to Weatherbury Farm on the Avella countryside.
Farmer Dale Tudor, his wife Marcy and their son Nigel hosted their first-ever Sheep Fest, celebrating the heritage of wool and sheep in Washington County.
While wandering from displays to demonstrations, I was surprised at how little I knew about the fundamentals of living on a farm.
I learned about growing flax and spinning its fine fibers into linen threads.
For a few details on raising sheep, I stopped to chat with Mary Lou Williams, owner of The Rosefield Farm.
‘By raising various breeds, end results could be quality threads for spinning or a dual purpose of meat and fleece. Still other sheep grow a curly fleece which is popular with crafters.’
Mary Lou pointed out a few differences in her stock which include Leicester Longwools, Shetlands and ‘Baby Dolls.’
Llamas, goats and ducks were also within reach of visitors.
Wool dyers, rug makers, weavers and spinners were all delighted to share hints and techniques while folk music pleasantly filled the hillside.
Knowing nothing about forged ironwork, Nigel Tudor offered me a short course on tools and decorative railings, all hand-forged at the farm.
Trying not to miss a thing, I visited with members of the Five Rivers Bobbin Lacemak-ers. Canonsburg resident Jozica Gorman and Suzette Lambert of Upper St. Clair provided samples of their work and offered details about their
delicate weaving.
Born and raised in Slovenia, Jozica’s favorite pattern is the Slovenian lace ‘idrija,’ popular in her native land.
Originally from England, Suzette enjoys the English styles and methods of bobbin lace making. ‘I order my bobbins and threads from England,’ said Suzette. ‘ Each county in England boasts different styles of lace. There’s a lot to choose.’ With only a few years of bobbin lace-making experience between them, Jozica and Suzette often take advantage of the workshops sponsored by the Five Rivers group.
They prefer to use natural materials such as silk and cotton to complete the exquisite detail in their laces.
The deluge of rain during the events on Saturday didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone. Gathering together to keep dry gave everyone an opportunity to make new friends.”