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, October 11, 2006

Taos Wool Festival, Part Two

Let's try again...

Look closely at this roving - see the red flecks? This is California Red roving. Never heard of it? It's a new breed, developed by a California professor for meat. The people I bought this from, Shear Perfection Ranch, started their herd in Colorado and moved to northern NM. The sheep they began with had teeny, tiny legs, so they concentrated their breeding on developing stronger bones. Now they're concentrating on increasing wool production. I'm anxious to see how this spins up - it's quite soft, not as soft as the llama, but maybe a little softer than the merino/silk I have. I'm very interested in the variations possible with natural, undyed fiber.

I did succumb to one yarn. I know, I said I wanted fiber for spinning. I'm also interested in learning as much a possible about the different fibers and the breeds they come from. I'd like to start buying fleeces and developing my personal projects from fleece to finished object. I need to know more about breeds to make reasonable decisions about purchasing fleece and blending it into spinnable fiber. Thus, this yarn. It's cormo. Elsa Sheep and Wool didn't have any roving, but they had this very reasonably priced undyed yarn.

Elsa Sheep and Wool also had dozens and dozens of knitted up socks, gloves, hats, and what looked like felted garments. They must be commercially made since the prices were crazy low. They were also selling quite well, since most festival-goers were unprepared for the chilly, wet weather.

In line with my fiber/breed studies, I acquired a reference book. Oh, my, another whole field of books to acquire. I see more bookshelves in my future!

There is currently a severe shortage of natural dye materials. Apparently, there was one major supplier and he died. The company is currently in disarray, so no one can get any dye supplies. I was hoping that there might be some merchants at the festival who grew their own dye plants. No such luck. Liesel from Earth-Arts had some seeds, but my whole yard is covered with different colored gravels over plastic weed barrier, so it's not exactly conducive to farming.

I did find this stuff, however. It's a natural dye extract. It kind of seems like cheating, doesn't it? I'm going to investigate further. I can imagine a whole new (to me) range of natural dye effects possible with an extract.

And finally, a gift. On the T-shirt table, The Man Of The House spotted a box labeled free. Surely not, I thought. We found a salesperson an asked. Yes, free. Both of them? Yes, the publisher (Interweave) had sent them to give away. I'd been to the bookstore the day before looking for Spin-Off and couldn't believe my good luck. Free? For me?


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