Posts Tagged ‘festival’

One behind, another ahead

May 2, 2013

The 2013 festival season is officially open with the 104th Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend kicking things off.

And what adorable faces KnittingKittens, Patshere and I found as we

Nellie was a little lamb ...

Nellie was a little lamb …

wandered through!  This was, it seemed, the year of the nursery.  Kids (the kind with hooves), bunnies, and of course, lambs like little Nellie, here.  She is a Romney; by unscientific observation Romney was one of the most visible breeds of this show.

We were pleased to see one of the

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

newer farms in Connecticut bringing lovely Romney fiber and yarn to market.  Anne McIntyre-Lahner and Mark Lahner’s Olympia Farm of Guilford first appeared on my radar a couple of years ago.  This year, their booth was well-stocked with natural-colored Romney in cream and grays at various weights and extremely reasonable prices.   The lighter shade you see here comes from Maggie, Bonnie, Coco and Cookie.

Sadly, in spite of victories like that, overall there appeared to be fewer vendors than in previous years.  Some of our favorites were not to be found in the barns and tents, perhaps reflecting just how hard it is to keep a small

Slinky Mink ... an understatement

Slinky Mink … an understatement

independent business afloat.  However, others, like Still River Mill, continue to work at distinguishing themselves with their own unique yarns.  Take, for example, Slinky Mink, pointed out by Clara at Rhinebeck last fall.  It was heavenly to touch.  Find it.  Knit it.  Love it.  Repeat.

As a non-lamb-eater, I did appreciate that the lamb stew and other lamb entrees were not on the menu ~ or infusing an entire indoor area.  I always found it a little jarring (if not downright creepy) to have lamb served up a mere twenty yards from barns with live sheep.

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Every year festival organizers bring great demonstrations to this show.  It is easy to be mesmerized by the bobbin lace makers. I found the tatting equally hypnotic.  It’s kind of like macrame using cobwebs that ultimately produces its own special lace. All those teensy knots and they were just flying by.  It was something to behold.

Since I have been

Fripperies so beautifully displayed ...

Fripperies so beautifully displayed …

somewhat preoccupied planning my new knitting space, I confess to being completely taken by everything about this display from Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods.  It had more trims than I would ever begin to know what to do with … and everything in the booth was just pretty.  (I am ignoring the fact that everything here requires use of a sewing needle and thread, where I

How many owls can YOU spot?

How many owls can YOU spot?

possess no talent whatsoever and generally provoke sympathy from those who see my infantile attempts … )  Then again, maybe if I amassed enough antique spools with enough different ribbons like these, I might be motivated to change that.

Nahhhh.  They’re better just to look at and enjoy.

Now that “the season” is underway, if you are heading out to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, I hope to see you there.  I will be reprising my role as a Booth Babe at Spirit Trail Fiberworks ~ that’s at A30 of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Do come by to see what Jennifer has been cooking up in her dyepots and give me a hoot!

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Fiber Twisting

September 19, 2012

How quickly after Labor Day the weather crisps, producing brilliant skies and clear days perfect for fall festivals.

We’ve made the trip to the Coventry Farmers Market Fiber Twist an annual event with KnittingKittens.  Once a year, the market invites local farms and yarn shops to sell their fiber, yarn and other wares with the collection of organic growers, bakers and other vendors.  They come, and many bring their animals, too.

Have a treat!

I daresay my child is already fearless around alpacas, probably because she’s been around them so much.  She thinks nothing of putting out her little hand to feed them, even though she is a touch nervous ~ a good thing in every mommy’s book.   Each year this show attracts more alpaca farmers, which has been the case at the other local shows in the spring and fall.  Our climate is conducive to raising them and they don’t take much space.

Why are they called babydolls, Maman?

She is even more confident around the sheep.  Babydolls here, which are just the right size for her four-year-old self to be completely unintimidated.  “Look, Maman!  Their wool will make yarn for you for knitting!”  We have learned important lessons early chez Owl.

I was completely taken by the work of artist

Lavender and linen. What more do you need?

Ashley Van Etten under the brand Willywaw.  I could have merrily scooped up one of every linen screen-printed item.  Better yet, to have her make up some linens for Owl Manor … I escaped with only a lavender sachet and a promise to myself to indulge in more from this Narragansett, Rhode Island-based company.

With our friend Clara hosting a trip to Iceland now, it was fitting to find Three Dog Farm with its baskets of Icelandic wool.  If the only

Three Dog Farm Icelandic lambswool

Icelandic you know is Reynolds Lopi, you are missing out; more for the rest of us.  Others may swoon for cashmere, but KnittingKittens loves the stuff.  I was happy to secure a couple of skeins of lambswool from a sheep named Kyra that will make some soft and hardy mitts down the road.  It will never compare to angora, but you’d never call it “scratchy,” either.

Needless to say, Mr. Owl is all over the culinary possibilities of the

Connecticut-grown, indeed.

marketplace, while Darling Bebe posed with her favorite fruit of all.  Our kiddo would eat three apples a day if allowed.  Maybe more.  What a bright start to the fall festival season.  Can’t be  a bad thing for a knitter seeking her missing mojo.

 

Booth’s-eye view

May 8, 2012

Suffice it to say that an unanticipated (but unavoidable) work all-nighter is not the best preparation for an early flight or a weekend stint as Booth Babe at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I don’t recommend it to anyone.   But getting out of Dodge on an early-morning flight before your employer can request demand that you change your plans is highly recommended, no matter the toll on shut-eye.  So it was that I landed at BWI Friday, a bit bleary-eyed, but delighted to be reunited with some of my favorite  fiber friends far away from my real-life responsibilities.

This time, I had an entirely different view of a mega-festival.  The

Our domain for 2 days

work days begin early.  There is only so much set-up you can do ahead of time owing to the unfortunate reality of security and theft.  Which means that each day you must hang samples and displays all over again.  They matter tremendously in selling yarn and as one who knits them, I can attest that they cost more to replace than stolen skeins.  (See that red cardigan in the middle?  That’s the new Skipperdee Cardi designed for STF Verdande.  The pattern was released Friday and sold out fast.)  The show opens, and the traffic does not stop for nine

See the 3rd shopper being devoured by yarn?

hours in a building where temperatures reach well over 80 degrees and shoppers are crammed inside your tiny booth like so many anchovies in a can.

The upside of all this was the opportunity to meet many members of the Spirit Trail Fiberworks group on ravelry in person, as well as some of you.  I so enjoy talking about how each of the yarns performs and answering questions for other knitters.  Plus we had a brand-new yarn to debut: Brigantia, made of 85% Polwarth and 15% silk.  And I was able to visit, however

Daniella of Signature Needle Arts

briefly, with some fabulous folks, like Daniella from Signature Needle Arts, whose company provides some of the most responsive customer service on the planet.  (Not to mention the Lamborghini of needles that help me do what I do at the speed I like to do it!)

It IS all about the sheep

The downside: having to do it all two days in a row.  Even with rubber padding on the floor, feet and back were not especially amused.  And unlike my pleasure-only forays to Rhinebeck, I never really got a sense of the

WHAT do you make with these and how do you hold ’em?

whole festival.  A break here and a break there allowed me to see some usual suspects and other unusual sights.  But I lacked perspective as to the size and scope of MDSW.

Yes, there were giggles galore and belly-laughs, too – that’s to be expected when you put seven or eight unique women who all genuinely like each other into a group with a mission to accomplish.  That’s what made it all worthwhile: the chance to spend time together in May ~ the halfway point before the next Knitter’s Review Retreat.

And did I mention that I brought home some yarn?

* Prize winners coming soon.  Stay tuned.

Charmed: Year 3!

April 29, 2012

How about that?  Three years online and growing.

Most days, I feel like I’m writing for myself, a couple of out-of-state friends, and some former students who don’t have a LYS to take classes with me anymore.  Then I’ll get some revelation that knocks me smack onto my tailfeathers.  Like the new WordPress stat maps that show me readers in Japan and Russia and any number of other places it never occurred to me to think might be swooping by.  (I get really tickled to see Internet searches in Greek.)  I mean, it’s not like there are boundaries on the Internets.  Or the random days where for no particular reason, several hundred people will drop by.  I didn’t put a pie on the windowsill to cool or anything.  But you come anyhow.

It’s all pretty nifty.

Especially the part where I tell you that I’m pretty sure that my family still doesn’t know I’m doing this.  Or if they do, they’re not telling.  And that’s okay, too.

I get the biggest kick out of seeing what you come here to find.  Most often it’s the reviews of how different new yarns perform.  If my experiences can help you decide whether one is right for you, so much the better.

Sadly, I won’t have spent the almost-blogiversary Saturday at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival ~ celebrating its year 103 in 2012.  My evil employers captors have seen fit to incarcerate me at a mega-management program for the weekend.  So have a slice of cake and some ice cream for me, won’t you?

My revenge reward ~ will be to run away next week to an event I’ve never attended:  the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, MDSW for short.  Bless Mr. Owl for telling me to buy the ticket and go.  Bless Jen and Co. for welcoming me to the Booth Babes sisterhood.  I promise to tell you all about it. You never know what will make it home in the suitcase that Southwest lets me check for free.  (Kiss kiss to Southwest.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a blogiversary if I didn’t celebrate with a contest and prizes.  Put on your imaginary party hat and think back to what first brought you here.  Tell me about it in the comments below.  Or hold up your glass of bubbly and tell me something else.  Lurkers: This is your cue to come on out!  Contest closes Sunday, May 6 at 11:59 p.m.  Winners to be drawn the old-fashioned way.  Cheers!

Rhinebeck

October 18, 2011

The key to a day-trip: tickets to Sesame Street Live.  For Darling Bebe and Mr. Owl, that is.  Add a full tank of gas and your best gal pal, and it really doesn’t matter where you’re going.  When there are sheep and yarn at the journey’s end, so much the better.

It's all about the sheep

And so, after a three-year hiatus, KnittingKittens and I found ourselves baa-aaack among the sheepy crowds at Rhinebeck on Saturday.   A lot has changed about the way we attend these sorts of events.  Looking back five years, we would

Teeswater, anyone?

have passed right by the sheep breeds barn and probably even remarked that it was wasted space.  Perish the thought today.  Neither of us is satisfied seeing “wool” on a skein or hank anymore.  We want to know what kind of wool.  And for that, we have to thank our Clara.

Clara "The Yarn Whisperer" Parkes

Clara Parkes, that is.  Call her The Yarn Whisperer, or whatever you wish – she was there with smiles and a Sharpie to sign copies of the freshly minted Knitter’s Book of Socks.  You may not think you’re interested in what Clara is writing about on a given day.  Until you read what she has written.  And then you are sucked into knowing a lot about that thing, and liking it.  That is the Mystery of Clara’s Writing.  I look forward to at least a greater appreciation for footwear from it.  Pick up a copy and find out for yourself.

Briar Rose Fibers and camera-shy Chris

Without Clara’s Knitter’s Book of Wool, I probably would not have met Chris at Briar Rose Fibers, the dyer responsible for one of my favorite yarns of all time: Glory Days, a DK-weight BFL that does everything you ask of it.  You’re going to see more of it here in the near future.

Long Ridge Farm Cobweb Lace - Pewter

Another of my favorite shepherdesses, Nancy Zeller at Long Ridge Farm, brought something new:  her cobweb silk dyed semi-solid.  IRL, this Pewter colorway looks like molten metal.  She thinks I bought it to be nice.  I bought it because it is stunning.  And I cannot believe it is her first foray into dyeing semi-solids.  With any luck, she will have more at her booth at the Fiber Festival of New England.

Owl shawls are all around!

Speaking of booths, it’s been a long while and many models since I’ve seen the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth in person.  Look – in the foreground is the green Phoenix Rising I knit in Nona, and just behind it, the Juneberry Triangle in Birte.  Holy Owl Box, Batman!  There

Wispy and Hawthorne, too

are Owl knits all over the place.  Look at that wall – the Wispy Cardi I just finished hanging next to Hawthorne in yummy scrumptious Lyra  ~ the same Hawthorne I had around my neck!    It is fun to see your knits “in the wild” as it were.  And even better to see your Knitter’s Review pals from the Eastern Seaboard in person.  (Yes, Lanea, Marfa, Shelia, Purlewe, Jane and Sandy, I’m talking about you!)

Llamas on parade

Where else but Rhinebeck would you have a sudden outbreak of Llama parade?  I don’t know whether it was a formal organized thing, but the crowd just parted and there they were, llama after llama ~ sorry, no red pajamas ~ marching around the fairgrounds.

The place where

The Sanguine Gryphon check-out line

the marching came to a dead halt – reportedly for two hours or more – was out behind Barn 29.  This was the check-out line for The Sanguine Gryphon.  Many festival vendors complained that their credit-card transactions were running terribly slowly.  But two hours in line?  To buy yarn?  (Which is not to say that I do not have or enjoy knitting with TSG ~ I have it and I do.  I did not, however, invest that much tick-tock-tick-tock time to obtain it.)

Like mother, like daughter

What Nutmeg Owl did buy was the single must-have: replacements for our Shepherd’s Flock shearling slippers so that Darling Bebe and I can have toasty toes all winter.

Goal: a getaway day with my BFF, to see friends and fibers.

Mission accomplished.

Seasonal

September 30, 2011

The fall fiber festival season is upon us!  While I madly work to finish my last Rhinebeck assignment, I will keep my promise: the eye candy all you knitting aunties have been waiting for!

Look at this, Mommy! It tickles!

His face is so soft!

This is a merino. Mommy used merino wool to make my sweater.

Enough with the fiber, it's time for treats!

ETA:  There are several glamorous and adorable photos of KnittingKittens from said outing, but I have been prohibited from posting them.  One involves kisses from an alpaca.  It is too cute by half.  I consider it blackmail material.

*  DB’s sweater is Action, and I’m happy to say we will get at least another year out of it, like most Kim Hargreaves designs. 

102 and counting

May 17, 2011

There is an undeniable feeling of celebration every time the Connecticut Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festival rolls around.  Think about it: in its 102nd year, we are talking about a truly enduring industry.  Yarn shops may come and go, but the shepherds, mills and fiber they produce exist far beyond trends.  As the first event of the year in New England, there is an almost-giddiness in the air: winter is over; festival season has started.

I Made It With Wool!

April chose its last day to demonstrate why it is “the cruelest month,” with grey skies and blustery wind.  That said, the whole event seemed a bit subdued.  Several regular vendors were notably absent, and the crowds ~ well, there wasn’t a crowd.  The weather may have encouraged early attendees to scurry home rather than linger listening to music and watching sheep-dog trials.  Or see the adorable contestants in the “I Made It With Wool competition” ~ like the grand prize winner from Still River Mill.  A felted juice box?  Genius.  Don’t look for this Owl to execute anything half as clever come Halloween.

The Painted Sheep painted yarn

Our good friend Kris of The Painted Sheep had a standing-room-only crowd craning necks to hear her demo on dyeing yarn.  Armed with soda bottles of color, she makes it all look so easy … but ask anyone who’s ever tried at home: coming up with harmonious colorways is not for the faint of heart.

Still River Mill Summer Breeze

My “find” of the festival this year came again from Still River Mill.  This local operation spins for scores of small fiber-producers across New England and beyond.  Because of that, they don’t go to a lot of shows, feeling that to do so, they would be “competing” for

What you need on a summer's night

business against their own customers.  But Still River Mill has its own unique fiber blends ~ and this year, they brought an extraordinary new entrant to the market:  Summer Breeze.  This fingering-weight boasts 40% linen, 40% cashmere and 20% seacell.  It fine yet soft and strong and just begs to becoming that all-summer sweater or shawl to ward off the evening chill.

Dirty Water DyeWorks

If I told you that I was somehow seduced yet again by BFL, you regular readers would hardly be surprised.  I can’t keep my hands off the stuff.  It just knits like butter for me.  So when our friends at Dirty Water DyeWorks, who provided us with lovely skeins of their Julia yarn at the KR Retreat, had a bushel of BFL sock yarn in discontinued colors, I was rather ~ ahem ~ powerless to resist.   Frankly, I thought I showed admirable restraint in sticking to two projects’ worth.  And it was discounted.  So there.

Digression: I am noting the absence of a LYS more acutely as the days go by.  There is no browsing, squeezing and sniffing of yarn to be done.  While positive on the pocket book, it is nonetheless missed.

Nubian goat

There were plenty of animal cuties on the grounds, to be sure.  This little Nubian goat was the most charming little flirt … and it seems that every year there is more alpaca of both the live and spun varieties.

Most importantly, I picked up my new copy of the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association directory, an invaluable resource for locally sourcing breeds of wool for our KBOW wool-along.

The skies opened up to bright sunshine later in the day.  By then, we had decamped for the massive lunch spread at Rein’s Deli.  A wonderful start to a new festival season any way you look at it.

Inaugural

November 8, 2010

With the trees denuded and the blustery conditions that tell us it’s November, the fiber festival season winds down.  In this part of New England, the regional calendar has been full ~ Rhinebeck (New York Sheep and Wool Festival), Stitches East and the like.  However, 2010 brought the addition of a new event to the calendar: The inaugural* Fiber Festival of New England at the Mallary Complex at the Eastern States Exposition (aka Big E) fairgrounds outside Springfield, Mass.

* The formal title for this event was the “First Annual FFofNE.”  Any journalism student will tell you should know that there is no such thing as a first annual event.  An event only becomes “annual” in its second year.  Thus, my personal title. Harrumph.  Digression complete.

Mallary Complex at the Big E

Neither KnittingKittens nor I had any need to attend, especially the week after Stitches East and the weekend before the Knitter’s Review Retreat.  Curiosity, proximity and the thrill of the hunt propelled us.  Hunt, as in, the hunt for some breed-specific fiber as part of the Knitter’s Book of Wool woolalong.  It was there, so we went.  QED?

You lookin' at ME?

The structure of the Mallary Complex allowed this to be an indoor event, complete with with animals from whom we obtain all of that delicious fiber.  Shearing and sheepdog demos, fashion shows and workshops in the entry area complemented the commerce in the main building.

Finn locks

What was really different about this event, is that it was all about the breed of the fiber.  While LYS and vendors with decorative home objects had a presence, booth after booth featured baskets of locks for fingering.  The most common fibers: alpaca and Romney ~ labeled Romney, not the generic “wool.”

This was the place to play finders, keepers and to try to anticipate just what Clara will spring on us in the woolalong months ahead.

Goose Down Farm Wensleydale

Even without the monthly assignments, I’ve learned so much about how different wools feel and behave that I want to try new things and have a different relationship with the raw materials I use for my craft.

“WENSLEYDALE!”

Goose Down Farm Teeswater

I cried out.  Yes, dagnabbit, we found our Wensleydale for this month, wrapped up with a polka-dotted ribbon, sourced from right down the road at Goose Down Farm in East Haddam, Conn.  You’d have thought we won a game-show.  Yikes. Fortunately, the folks from neighboring Dragon’s Lair Farm who were selling it were full of good humor and didn’t think us utterly mad.  While we were at it, we found Teeswater, too.

West Elm Farm Corriedale

Giving credit where it’s due, the fine folks from West Elm Farm were the first to mention this event, way back at the Mass. Sheep and Wool Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.  There, I found some wonderfully spongy Corriedale that I believe translates to what my dear Luann calls, “doughy.”

Finn-angora blend

Finns were also well-represented in a few places.  This scrumptiously bumpy worsted-weight skein is blended with angora and will make a wonderfully cozy cowl.  The kind you just snuggle your chin into on a damp, chilly day.

The Rosefield's Leicester Longwool

On the other side of the sensory spectrum, IRL, the luster in this Leicester Longwool from The Rosefield shines with a depth that looks an awful lot like pearls.  There was nothing else I saw like this 2-ply.

There was also some very

Montadale

affordable, smooth and cushy Montadale from Maryland that  will make some nice colorwork mittens and hats for little fingers and ears.  Now, if I can just summon the fortitude to actually execute colorwork mittens and hats …

Long Ridge Farm

Saving the best for last, this was a nice opportunity to see Nancy and Faith from Long Ridge Farm.  Nancy raises CVM/Romeldales and we’ve gotten to know each other through email as I worked on my Prairie Rose Shawl from KBOW.  It’s been a treat for me, and I’m glad she’s gotten involved with the KBOW group on ravelry, which is the richer each time a shepherdess or shepherd joins the mix.  This lonely skein was a one-off that begged to leave with me – the same 80% CVM/20% bombyx silk as I used before, but in a semi-solid she dubbed, “Rooster Comb.”

Long Ridge Farm CVM/Silk in Rooster Comb

Nancy called it a mistake ~ I think NOT.  (Lest I fail to mention it, Nancy dyes using low-impact processes and Earthues, so when she achieves such beautiful depth of color, it’s a victory twice over.)  Nancy is also now selling 100% CVM in this natural brown

Long Ridge Farm 100% CVM - Natural Brown

colorway that owing to its spinning, feels much like an aran-weight BFL.

Every first-time event has its glitches.  If there was one here, it might be the limited options/ jacked-up prices for the food, or maybe some will carp at the separate charges for parking and admission.  That said, the indoor setting was well-organized, the aisles wide enough, and some room to grow.  Which is good since the obvious intention is to make this an annual event.  Although our New England states are small and not far from one another, I appreciate having a show where fiber operations otherwise too far away to visit can come together to bring the festival season to a close.

That said, I need to requisition a larger bin marked “Breed-Specific.”

Rustic Rose

June 9, 2010

While on the subject of “marrying” project and yarn, it occurs to me that my latest WIP for the Knitters Book of Wool Wool-along is another example of the interplay between the two – and the different results of those choices.

It was high time I actually knitted a project from KBOW.  The book is an oft-opened reference that never quite makes it back onto the shelves.  Some of our best known knitterati are published between its covers.  I find it kind of unexpected that I had never knitted a pattern by the estimable Evelyn A. Clark.  I mean, she is the godmother of today’s triangular shawl movement, for pete’s sake, with a sterling reputation for putting out error-free patterns.

This month’s fiber is Romeldale/California Variegated Mutant – CVM for short, a sheep carefully bred for its fiber, developed within the last century.  I had picked up a couple of skeins of fingering-weight CVM spun with 20% bombyx silk from Long Ridge Farm at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, dyed using low-impact methods by Nancy Zeller.

Put those two things together, and here is the result-in-progress: my Rustic Rose Shawl.

Rustic Rose shawl

The pattern is Prairie Rose Shawl, featured in the book in shetland as well as something more light and delicate.  Instead of going the laceweight route, I put the yarn and pattern together to see what would happen.

I’ve found this yarn to be its own thing – and rather difficult to compare to anything else.  It is “rustic” for lack of a better word.  Unlike commercially spun yarn, it feels like it is not far from the sheep – there is definitely some lanolin left.  There is minor variation in its thickness.  In some respects, working with it feels like knitting with Classic Elite’s Classic Silk, but with a less dry hand.

The colorway, Rubia, was produced using madder.  Upon winding my two skeins in succession, I found some residue the color of dried blood on my fingers – a small thorn in this rose, if you will.  I emailed Nancy about this, and she replied in just over a nanosecond.  I had missed the advice along the way to wash out my skeins before knitting.  That said, the problem has been much less evident while working on the shawl charts, and Nancy advises that any remaining dye will come out in the soak-and-block process.  This is a yarn producer who genuinely cares about the satisfaction of her customers.  I was impressed.

I will be looking forward to that warm Eucalan bath and pinning out so I can see how the yarn is transformed – if at all.  Should it remain the same texture it is now, that’s fine, too.  Not all roses come out of a hothouse, and the ones along the country roadside are equally lovely.

C is for …

June 2, 2010

Soujourner Sheep Coopworth

… California Red, Coopworth, Cotswold and more.  All found at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Festival.

Just look at all of this Coopworth fleece and yarn, produced by Woolies of Shirkshire Farm in Conway, Mass.  And all of those colors?  Entirely plant-dyed by Diane Roeder of Sojourner Sheep.  The Coopworth skein that came home with me was dyed with cosmos and cochineal, and is the same tomato-bisque shade as the wound skein in the foreground.

Cotswold at rest

The brief distance between sheep and yarn was on display for all.  As a knitter, there’s a certain connection I get from seeing the material I use here on the sheep, then just a few yards away …

River Valley Farm Cotswold

… its processed and (sometimes) dyed final state, ready to become whatever it is the Yarn Goddess inspires me to make of it.  This is not the stuff of the big yarn houses, but an all-too-brief connection to the knitters who came before us, who raised the sheep, spun the yarn and clothed themselves.

River Valley Farm California Red

The Cotswold and this undyed California Red were both produced by River Valley Farm in Lenox, Mass., which specializes in unique sheep breeds.  The California Red will become a set of Sweet Fern Mitts from the Knitter’s Book of Wool, as my purchases are all intended to dovetail with the ongoing KBOW wool-along on Knitter’s Review and Ravelry.

Pamudom and her icelandic laceweight

Speaking of which, we did try to have a meet-up.  On the upside, a few of us managed to find each other, in spite of our designated vendor having canceled.   Fellow KBOW fans, you would not believe the incredibly even spinning that pamudom did in this skein of Icelandic laceweight – the May wool-along fiber.  Wow. It was especially nice to meet Malone in person, and to again visit with KRR mainstay Noallatin.

4-H breed primers

Of course, the local 4-H helped out, too, with these primers about each sheep breed – sort of a KBOW tutorial for those who left their copies at home.  Along these lines, some wonderful Icelandic and Jacob also made their way into my shopping bag, as well as perennial partner-in-crime KnittingKittens’. Just planning ahead for another month, Clara.

Darling Bebe's swag

Of course, Darling Bebe is never far from mind, so this swag came home, too.  Her first pair of Shepherd’s Flock shearling slippers, just like Owl’s.  No reason to have chilly piggies in our house.  As an aside, if you suffer from cold toes, these are quite simply the best thing on earth.

Obama waits for his haircut

All in all, it was a wonderful, decided-at-the-last-minute getaway day.  Who can help smiling surrounded by animals like this angora goat named Obama?


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