Friday, May 13, 2011

MDSW 2011

I had such an awesome time on Sunday.  It was a wonderful way to spend Mother's Day. I went with Melanie to the sheep and wool festival. This was the first time in many years that I attended only 1 day of the 2 and I had mixed feelings. I was nervous that I wouldn't have enough time but knew  that I was going to NYSW in October and so would have a "second chance". The weather was perfect and the crowds were sparse (great for shoppers but I imagine the vendors were not so happy. OTOH, I read somewhere that the purchases tended to be larger so maybe they made out OK)  I did not purchase any yarn, and that's a first for me. I did get a spindle, a shawl pattern and fiber.

Here's my spindle. it's a Driftwood spindle and is much lighter than it looks. It might actually be too light for what I had in mind, but I can always spin something different on it.

 Jacob roving from Wind and Willow Farm.

Next we have 4 oz. of Wensleydale and BFL roving from Feederbrook Farm. I have no idea what I will do with this but love the two fibers, so I thought I would try a blend.
 I bought a couple of $1.00 sample bags of fiber I have not tried before. These are raw fiber bags. Apparently now that I have started with raw fiber I just can't escape it. The first one is Lincoln X Merino.
 Look at those locks! And that color is so deep.
The next one is Lincoln.

This bag is much more dirty. It might go  into the trash after washing if it doesn't get much cleaner. Even I have my limits.

The Spindlers group on Ravelry theme for the month is Time Travel. I had the idea to spin up something reminiscent of the Diana Gabaldon books about Jamie and Claire and so decided to spin a Scottish  (preferably) or British breed in a natural color and make a pair of fingerless mitts, which I can totally see them wearing. I made a list of possibilities and headed straight for Spirit Trail Fiberworks. Sure enough, they had some North Ronaldsay fiber and I purchased 5 ounces.

 I plan a 3 ply yarn and hope to dye some of it for a small colorwork pattern on the mitts. Apparently this fiber felts easily so I will spin first, then dye. It feels very soft and downy - not at all what I was expecting. Somehow I thought that a sheep who eats mostly seaweed and endures Scottish weather near the sea would have a fairly coarse fiber.

I bought a shawl pattern  but I can't find it right now. I bought the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, had it autographed by both authors at the book signing! Yippee! And I bought a fleece.

Melanie and I were both "not going to buy a fleece" but we wanted to study the fleeces, see what to expect in a fleece since we have very little experience with them, and thought that only good fleeces would be seen there. We studied and fingered on our own, but they have volunteers there who were very free with their expertise and advice. It was really great! We learned a lot, really. We had just come from a booth where we were tempted by a nice Romney fleece that we were considering sharing (due to cost). Melanie really wanted Romney and we were very happy with the color. We found a fleece, though, in the fleece sale area of the fair that Melanie liked a lot. She got the opinion of one of the women there who had experience as a judge and snapped it up. The woman was really nice, and realistic. She showed us the goods and bads of several fleeces and pointed out that a flaw should not automatically eliminate a fleece from purchase, but should make you think and weigh the pros and cons.  There was one fleece there, for instance, that had a break in the locks near the tip. She would have considered purchasing that fleece and taking those tips off - the rest of the fleece was in good condition. Anyway ......  I went back twice but didn't fall in love with anything.

We were winding down, getting ready to leave but hadn't seen a few of the barns on the other side of the "main street" and that's where I found my fleece. It's Blue Faced Leicester, had quite a bit of vm in it and that's why a very soft 7 lb fleece was only $40.00. I took it home.
That bench in the back ground of the picture below is, for purposes of scale, about 4-5 feet long.

Clearly defined locks

Seven pounds is alot of fiber! I know that it will loose "weight" when washed, but that's still a lot of fiber.

The staple length is pretty consistent in what I have explored so far, but I haven't really skirted it yet. It was too late last night.

I have washed a few locks. The first few I washed had lots of vm and I was a little worried. It came out fairly easily, though - it was mostly in the tips and not throughout the lock - and I felt better. Last night after work I spread it out on the deck. You can see how big it is. I didn't even try to do any skirting because it was too dark to see that well, but I picked a few more locks from various places. The staple length seems to be fairly consistent at about 4 inches. I experimented with a few different ways of cleaning it (flick first, then wash, wash, then flick, cold soak before wash, etc.) and will see what they look like after work today. I love this fleece.

The last purchase I made was actually a Christmas gift for youngest son and his partner. I am pretty sure that he would not be caught dead reading his mother's knitting blog, so I think I'm safe posting this here.

All in all, it was a perfect Mother's Day and MDSW festival.

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