Monday, May 11, 2009

Treasures from the Fiber Festival

Over the weekend I went to my first fiber festival.

I loved everything about this experience (Except freezing to the bone. At a fiber festival. Oh the irony.)

There were three buildings of vendors, so I started at the one closest to me and took it slowly. I saw some things I thought I might come back for and made a few mental notes. There was so much beautiful fiber, and some gorgeous skeins of yarn. At first I was a little overwhelmed and didn't know how I'd manage to choose anything. I took a deep breath and then decided to focus in on the fiber.
My first real stop was at the Little Gidding Farm Suri Alpacas booth, where I saw some beautiful alpaca yarn. Very, very soft. At the booth, I talked with one of the ladies for a few minutes (forgot which one, but the names are on the website) and as I was leaving she pulled out a small sample for me to take home. Then, upon learning that I was a spinner she also brought out some of the "really nice stuff" and added it to my bag. So nice!
Coming out of the first barn, I saw a lady spinning with an antique (she said around 18th century) spinning wheel and talked with her a little. She was selling some beautiful bamboo fiber, one of the things I wish I would have come back for. It was soft and silky and I had a really hard time believing that 100% bamboo felt like that!

I think one of my favourite parts of the festival was watching everyone spinning. I really enjoy using the drop spindle, but since I know I eventually want a wheel I'm beginning the long process of saving up for one.
Next barn, I let myself go a little and purchased these two little beauties from the Morning Sun Fiber Barn. Soft and yummy. Good prices too. They are both merino and the blue/green was $3.75 for 1.5oz and the purple (it is purple by the way, more of a light grape, than the pink it looks like here) was $5 for 2oz.

Plans for these? Not quite sure yet, I know I want to experiment with thick singles (think Malabrigo), so maybe I could do singles with the blue/green and a light 2 ply with the purple?

From the same booth I also found this Alpaca/Silk blend (90/10). There were several baskets of lovely fiber, but once I felt this blend I was sold. Amazing stuff, so silky smooth. I came away with 2 oz and am wishing I would have bought more.
I couldn't resist spinning a little yesterday to see how it would spin up, and I found that it spins like a dream! This is destined to be a 2ply laceweight (or light fingering) and depending on the final yield, a knitted cowl or scarf.
Last barn, I saw the Pack River Yaks booth, and knew I was buying something there. I saw more bamboo, some soysilk, and a few other interesting fibers. But what really caught my eye was this beautiful Camel/Merino blend. I don't know what I thought I'd do with it, but I knew I had to have it. It was $5 an oz, so I just bought 1 oz to sample it. It's very soft and I'm excited to spin it up!
Next up after the vendors was observing the sheep shearing. It was interesting to see how it's done. Over here Celeste and I met up briefly and showed each other our purchases, then it was on to the animal barns.
The sheep were super adorable. I recall in one of Stephanie Pearl Mcphee's books, she voiced a plea for "patio sheep", sheep bred to be the size of a small dog. I officially sympathize with that request and join the plea for "patio sheep", because I could hardly walk away from these little cuties! ;)

After briefly walking through the goat barn, it was off to the Llama Magic barn. It was filled with llamas (several for sale), alpacas, and some angora rabbits.
When I saw the rabbits for sale, I melted. I pictured myself, rabbit in hand, gently harvesting the glorious fiber, blending it with a soft wool, and then spinning it into a yarn to be proud of. But sadly, my life does not have room for a rabbit. Even if said rabbit would produce fiber. :(
After evaluting my purchases, I feel like I really could have bought a little more, but since I'm saving up for the wheel and I have some sweater yarn in mind I'm pretty happy with how I did.
And so, that is my fiber festival experience. I eagerly await next year!


Celestial said...

Well, now I know how you missed some more bunnies...there were 4 vendor buildings. Oops!

I saw the camel too, but managed to walk away from it. I knew I wouldn't be happy with only having 1oz.

E and I were bummed that we didn't meet up with you all again. We'll have to plan ahead more for next year ;)

Oh, and I'll save some of the bamboo I picked up for you to try.

Ellen said...

:( No way! Now I feel really dumb, and I probably missed some great stuff! year I guess.
Sorry we couldn't meet up with you two again; I wanted to stay later, but it was getting a little long for the others...

Celestial said...

Actually I didn't buy anything from the last one. Besides cute bunnies and a huge wall of fleece you didn't miss much.

Don't worry :)