Bendi = sheep show

G'day all!

The day dawned fair on Friday 21st July. The crescent moon was riding high into the sky

So fair was the growing dawn that after I took this picture as I left home, I found my car was totally covered in frost!

Some of you will laugh but that just doesn't happen much here, and all I knew to do was pour cold water on it to get the car to the point where I could see out the windscreen and the wing mirrors. It delayed my departure by 10 minutes as I de-iced 8-)

(As I sit here typing this, big V8s are burning around the local raceway. We are less than a kilometre from it and boy do those cars make a racket! This is only a warm up and test - the track is likely to be a bit slippery today as we keep having little showers of rain so I'd guess they are testing tyres along with engine, etc, tweaks. A big V8 at full throttle is very impressive and I love the sound, but not like for half the day. Then there are the little four cylinder cars that sound like a fleet of mozzies, and the sixes which are tolerable.)

Excitement was riding high as I got underway. The excitement reduced a bit as I sat in a traffic jam on the ahem "freeway" for 20-odd minutes - the very thing I had crawled out of bed at 6:30pam to avoid.... 10km further up someone had come to grief with someone else and the rubbernecking motorists going past caused a traffic jam that stretched back about 20km! As I sat in the traffic jam, the sun rose. Ahhhh. Sun :-)

Eventually the traffic cleared and we made a bold dash for freedom, through the tunnel under the Yarra (I hate the tunnel, hateses it we does!), over the Bolte bridge (boom boom) and off along the Calder highway, headed for

The drive is pretty boring at first - lots of this sort of scenery:

Occasionally you go through a forested area. Frosts were heavy, widespread and very pretty

and accompanied me most of the way to my destination. I've rarely seen such determined frost, but it had been a very clear night and the winter sun is not very strong. After two hours, I reached my destination - Bendigo. I stopped at the woollen mills first to see what I could pick up from there.

Ah, mm, oh yes, I'll have me some of that! A packet (10X50g) of 5ply cream yarn to dye, a kilo of cream sliver to spin, some "felting" laps in blue and black, and some wool/alpaca/mohair "laps" for felting. The kilo of cream sliver was the most expensive. The blue and black laps have some bits that are only long enough for felting with, but the wool blend appears to be one or two long lengths of tops. For less than $10 I SCORED big time with that wool/mohair/alpaca blend! Total cost of mill shop was under $70.

I decided to leave as the bus load of ladies barrelled in through the front door and out to the back room. There were some very determined shoppers amongst them!

I moved on to the wool show itself. I felt pretty proud of myself for navigating around the place by myself without a map - I only do this trip once a year and last year I wasn't driving. This was the third time I've done the Bendi show, so I guess I should start knowing my way around.

The show is a weird mix of country meets snake oil seller. There are a number of exhibits aimed squarely at farmers, like a silo lid sealer and sheep drenches, etc, etc. Then there are the snake oil sellers - the places with the stuff beloved by people who will try anything to get rid of those aches and pains that make their lives a misery - maybe the miracle cure will truly be a miracle cure! There's lots of people flogging clothing and accessories made out of wool and sheepskin. There's places that come along because they might make a buck - places selling belts and aromatherapy and little pottery things. Then there are some displays - the feltmakers, the people spinning, the wood turners!!! One shed has the woolcraft in it - the clothing, sculpture and skeins all crafted out of wool or other animal fibres and silks.

I must congratulate Darrow, a local reader of this blog, who won a ?2nd prize for her skein of fine yarn in the novice section. I wish I had entered some stuff cos I reckon (no offence to any who entered) that some of my spinning is just as good as theirs. Alas, I didn't because to enter required payment by cheque and I am a child of the digital age. Chequebooks are a thing of the past for me, especially since every withdrawal from a cheque account is charged a fee, whether or not the withdrawal was in cash or cheque.... I only get indirect charges with the visa card. A bank cheque costs $10 and at the time I couldn't afford the nearly $40 in entry fees and cheque fees. I complained to one of the ladies that I know from the spinner's guild at their stand, and the lady who was standing nearby just so happened to be one of the woolcraft stewards. I guess they now know that their ancient ways of doing things are not necessarily very useful for the younger spinners! Gosh, I'd like to be tactful....

I go to the show to see the animals - sheep, goats and alpacas - and to find suppliers of fleece and yarn that I otherwise wouldn't know about. I can fondle yarn and fleeces and sigh over things I would like to buy but can't afford. I can see that felting lies in my future, assuming my stupid elbow, wrist and shoulder can hold out against it. I am so convinced that it lies in my future that I bought a felting mat, aka a 2m X 0.75m piece of pool mat, the stuff that people use to keep their swimming pools nice and warm. Surely you don't need to see a picture of that.

Today I give you:

Alpacas! (Peeve has better pics cos they had shut off the pavillion cos they were about to do some judging or something.)

A small WIP (fresh out of the oven!). It hadn't managed to stand up yet. It kept getting on its knees and rooting around its mum's front, trying to find a nipple. Silly thing - it was looking at the wrong end! Its little tail would wag franetically as it thought it had the right spot and its mum would lick it a bit more and knock it over. I should say he - it was a ram lamb cos he had a little package that girls don't have....

A slightly larger WIP (one that was prepared earlier!)

A dredlocked English Leicester (I think) - how can it see through those dreds? It certainly knew I was there cos it moved its head to me.

A less dred English Leicester

I want curls like this Drysdale ewe has. Oh to have shaggy hair!

A slight hint of what is to come - the boot of my car by the end of the day. Without the stuff Peeve brought back for me.



  1. I'm in love with the tiny lamb :)

    It looks like you had a great time at Bendi. I can't wait to see what you do with the spinning wool. You should definitely enter the contest next year even if I have to go on a sponsored walk to get you the entrance fee!

  2. Sigh! I am sooooo jealous! Next year I am definitely going to Woolfest here in the UK or maybe, if I'm really really good and save my pennies, I can go to Bendigo.... hmmmmm

  3. Anonymous1:27 am

    Hello! Spanks for the congrats :) We did the show Saturday and spent lots of time with the cashmere goats - nearly stole one or two - handing in people's handbags (oops), lamenting the absence of the Bambi stand (I wanted venison snags for lunch, dammit), and spending quite a few $ but less than I'd planned, so that's good.
    If Bendy don't move into the electronic age by next year, consider a postal money order (how I paid). Much cheaper than a bank cheque.
    ciao ciao,

  4. Wow - what a fabulous day! I love the alpaca and sheep pics - especially the babies. Awwwww!

    That pic of your boot is incredible! Just how much wool did you get :)

  5. That's not everything?! Yowza. Sounds like dangerous fun!

    Doesn't your car have a defrost setting? Alternately, you can use the edge of a credit card to scrape the frost off the window.

  6. Anonymous10:26 pm

    the sheep ypu called an english actually called lincoln :)

    i know this because im currently doing veterinary at uni and we have to be able to identify lots of sheep breeds :D

    just incase you were wondering :)


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