about the essentials of life...knitting, designing knitting, yarn for knitting...you get the idea...

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I'm a knitter, knitting pattern designer, and spinner. I also dye yarn with both acid and natural dyes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

3rd Annual New Mexico East Mountain Fiber Farm and Studio Tour

Wow! This time I uploaded the photos before writing the text and it seems to work better. Now to see how the text wraps the photos...always an interesting proposition.

This weekend was the Fiber Farm Tour. I'd heard about it last year but somehow didn't get around to participating. This year, with The Man Of The House's new found interest in things
fibery, we both wanted to see what's going on out there in the East Mountains. The tour had 11 stops at farms and studios, bit we only made it to the first seven before running out of time. For some reason, we started at number 7 and worked backwards to number 1. Actually, I know the reason - The Man wanted refreshments and we thought the Dairy Association was located at #7.

The barn at Prairie Wood Ranch, our first stop.

This farm had mostly Pygmy goats. They are absolutely adorable, even though they are not fiber animals. When we first arrived at the barn, they told us that a new kid had just been born 30 minutes ago. It was surprisingly large compared to the mother and was so hariy! It was covered with long black hair. I had my camera, but I didn't want to bother a newborn with a flash. The lady of the farm was spinning and she graciously gave me advice about a wheel. I really liked the ergonomics of the one that she was using, a Lendrum folding wheel. Hmm... have to do some research about that.

Baby alpaca (left) and llama (right)

Many of the farms had alpaca. The people at Milagro Moon Ranch were sooo patient with our questions. I had been curious about the difference between llamas and alpacas. At Milagro Moon Ranch, there were both llama and alpacas in the same pen and the differences were obvious. The alpacas, so help me, look like they have elastic necks. It's the weirdest thing. They'd be right at home in a Dr. Seuss book!

Milagro Moon was also the location of the South Mountain Dairy tent. The Man was extremely pleased to see goat cheese. We bought some raspberry chevre and crackers and had an impromptu picnic. It was absolutely delicious cheese, so good that I saved the carton to try and find it in ABQ. What luxury - raspberries and goat cheese and fiber animals, not to mention the much cooler high altitude temperatures.

Shooting Star Farm had all kinds of animals, alpacas, llamas, donkeys, angora goats, and churro sheep. I took a picture of the goats. They had a pen set up as a goat petting zoo and I couldn't resist going in with the goats. When I looked around, I was the only adult. Oh, well...

The goat-petting pen

There were several tents set up with fiber arts demonstrations. The Man visited with an expert spinner and she showed him the fiber that she had spun that day. He thought it was amazingly soft (angora) but was appalled at the quantity. The masculine point of view - how could anyone make any money doing that? Why would I ever want to spin when it takes so long? I whispered to the spinner when his back was turned and she started talking about the peace that spinning gives her and the quality of the handspun yarn. When we were leaving, she said that she hoped I decided to learn to spin. I gave her a thumbs up (behind the Man's back) when he said he was sure that I would! Up with the sisterhood!

My purchase of the day

I was a very good girl and only bought 1 skein of yarn. The Man was pretty surprised. He was the one who actually found this yarn in a basket kind of under some other stuff. The label says wild goat yarn, some 500 yards. How could I not buy it? I'm thinking socks, how about you?

Westfarthing Farm was a stand out. Sharrie was a wonderful tour guide through their sheep operation. I learned a lot about different breeds of sheep and their fibers. I was so, so tempted by some natural grey corridale yarn, but I've a great big order from Webs coming this week. So I resisted and hoped (hoped, hoped) that I'd win the door prize of 3 skeins. Oh, well...maybe next time.

The farm tour was simply inspiring. I don't understand why the connection between the animals and the actual knitting is so moving, but seeing these farms and their animals made a difference for me. It's like there is a whole new world out there and it's calling to me. So far this week, I've signed up for a handpainting yarn class and I've been e-mailing to register for a natural dyeing class and a how to spin class. I feel the need for a closer fiber connection than just knitting and designing patterns. What a summer it could be! Wish me luck...


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