Sunday, May 14, 2006

Have you any wool?

The Sheep & Wool Fair was wonderful! It has been raining so hard that there were floods and I had to drive around the back way over the mountain to be on higher ground. When I got there, the Fair grounds where it was held were a short trek over the river and through the woods, so I dutifully tucked my trousers into my boots and, parking the car in the indicated field, took off walking up the trail through the woods. There was a little wooden foot-bridge over what is usually a little brook, but now it was a rushing river wafting up over the floor-boards of the footbridge! A yellow police crime scene tape threaded through the wooden slats on the sides of the bridge: "Warning! Do Not Cross!" I was glad it was there, because otherwise I would have been tempted to go right over the edge and go wading through it, right?

In spite of the floods there were many sheep and llama and alpaca and angora farmers there and kids showing their animals (the furry folk were not very happy I'm afraid) and many fiber venders. Not as many as usual, but enough for me!

When I go to a Wool Fair, I like to buy from the small family farms that bring the fiber from sheep (or llama or alpaca or bunny) to spinning wheel to dye pot to fair all themselves. They are real artists with the love of their animals and their craft showing in the product. And I think this love spills over into my knitting.

I had marvelous luck and came home with enough yarn for 28 projects, (as well as some spun silk for my altar embroideries). Beautiful threads from farms with names that read like poetry:

Ward Brook
Maple Creek
Still Waters
Mountain View
Spirit Trail
Thyme & Ewe

and here are the photos!

This first one is the Natural spun yarn from a small farm. The woman was spinning right there while she sat and waited for people to come through. She sold this yarn at $3.50 a skein, so I bought several. My plan is to make a blanket with it....

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This group shows the beautiful handspun, hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns I got. The colours are almost right, except what looks like two skeins of shiny orange in the middle, is actually lace-weight gold - a real mellow autumn gold colour. This was spun by a Russian woman who just came with a friend who had a farm booth and thought she'd bring a few skeins of mohair and silk yarn that she'd spun and dyed. I bought six skeins from her - this was lace weight so it was very very thin and very very lightweight. She was selling it for $4 an ounce and each ounce was about 200 yards, so I got enough for two shawls for $20. Other yarn here is for summer sweaters, socks for friends, a Clapotis (from, and the Anthropologie-inspired capelet... etc.

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and here are the spun silk threads...The woman was boiling the silk cocoons (empty! enpty! its an humane process!) and showing how she spun the threads and dyed them. It was beautiful - almost as beautiful as making a real butterfly! She had "silk handkerchiefs," which is what the dyed silk is called before its spun, for only $2. {{sigh}} I only know how to spin with a drop spindle and have never done silk. This silk thread is for the embroidery on Daniel's altar-cloth and for the hair on the Princess finger-puppet. The colours are very deep and rich.

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