Saturday, May 9, 2009

in search of petrol at the Sheep and Wool Fair

Sheep and Wool Fair today!!!

I love the fairgrounds where this is's an old fairgrounds in the midst of an old wood. Every time I walk the winding path through the trees and over the meandering stream, I see some wildflower I hadn't noticed the year before.


This year it was two Lady slipper plants - hardly noticeable in the spring woods in their still-green unbloomed state. There were Star flowers and Solomon's Seal, and Checker berries too.

I wasn't the first one in this year; one of my friends parked right beside me and so we walked in together. She is so nice and really the best knitter I've ever known. Even the almost-strangers walking by noticed her gorgeous sweater and asked a hundred questions! She was meeting someone at the Fair and stayed near the entrance to wait, so I walked on. The first thing that I saw was the sheep-herding up the hill!

These animals need herding:


and here's a clever dog to do that job!


I was on a mission to find a skein of lace-weight in a colour called "Petrol" for my friend Nad in Germany. What colour is Petrol? I got various answers to that question throughout the day and they ranged from purple, to blue, to grey and finally someone suggested a dark olive green! What do you think? I've seen the petrol that comes out of the hose when I fill my car, and that is bright pink! I don't think my friend meant pink!

I first tried to find it at the Ball and Skein booth. There was nothing I would consider Petrol, but I did buy a beautiful skein of sea-blue cashmere for a shawl for my boyfriend's mother, and a shawl pattern called "Beach Glass".


I wandered on, passed some prize-winning llamas that were being shown round a ring by a group of young girls. They looked very proud and regal (the llamas) and so they should with their big royal blue ribbons on their pen door!


My next stop was at a vendor I hadn't ever seen before: Ancient Colours. This booth was set up with wooden slatted walls like a Japanese open-air tea room and most of the shelves were filled with glass bottles of brilliant powdered dyes and handmade Japanese bamboo camel-hair brushes for handpainting yarn and fabric. The colours were from natural substances, and they were deep and subtle...

Do you see any Petrol here?


I bought three colours fo yarn from this booth!

On the far side of the Fair, the Alpaca farms have their stalls and booths. This is one of my favorite parts of the Sheep and Wool fair because I get to meet the animals and their owners and get yarn that they have spun themselves. Some of my favorite farms print pictures of the particular alpaca that the fleece came from right on the skein label. I like to buy the yarn of Samantha, and Cinnamon, and Cinnabar and see them prancing happily in their photos.

This happy, curious fellow is the child of the alpaca who gave me a few skeins of very soft fibers for a new sweater:


and here is his cousin... Does his fleece look like Petrol?


My last stop was to see the dyers from Plimoth Plantation Colonial Village (Living History Museum). This plantation is on the coast in a neighbouring state, but two re-enactors who are the dyers and spinners for the place came to the fair to create demonstrations.


They use madder and wode, and onion skins, and sage with iron, indigo, goldenrod and cochineal and so many other herbs and plants and even bugs! I was so taken with all these colours and found myself especially drawn to all the shades that madder produces, from deep rosey pinkish-red to light orange...

The yarn they produce is called The Merry Little Lamb and I brought home two shades of madder and one deep goldenrod:


What nice people! We talked for a while about the dyes and authentic historical colours going back to medieval times until someone else walked up and began talking about a SCA group nearby....

So that was my whole day at the Fair. I still don't know what colour Petrol is, but I had such fun looking for it!


Briley said...

I'm glad you had a good time at the fair. One of these days (years) we really will have to meet up there. This year I knew I would arrive much later than I like to, and I know you get there early!

I lso have no idea what colou petrol would be. If you figure it out make sure to blog about it.

Unraveling Sophia said...

I saw a man I thought might be you but was too shy to ask! LOL

My friend emailed me and told me that "petrol" was a teal that is more blue than green - so I think that I did eventually nail it! I should take pictures for future reference...

Ana's Closet said...

Hi! I just discovered you have Kim Hargreves book "Heartfelt". I´m so crasy about some pattern of that book.
I recently buy Amber, the winter book.
I wondering if you are interested in change some patterns.

Unraveling Sophia said...

Hi Ana, Isn't Kim Hargreaves wonderful!? I need to start knitting some of those patterns. I have Amber, too.
PS - In the US, its not legal to copy and distribute (exchange) patterns that are under copyright, as Hargreaves books are. The only patterns that we share are those that are so old (1920s, etc) that they are not under copyright anymore.

Lindsay said...

That looks like such a pleasant way to shop for yarn among the alpacas and llamas. I wish I could find a fair similar to that around me.