Monday, April 28, 2008


I spent all day on Sunday doing chores and recovering from the absolute fiber-love-fest that was Saturday. I got to meet so many wonderful people, play with wonderful fiber, and do it all in a really serene setting. I ended up driving so I could take my ladybug, and we had a very good time meeting new people and spinning outside with this as our view:

Pacific School of Religion

The day was a little hot and a lot sunny, a really nice day for taking fiber into the sunshine and oogling at the colors. :) Here's the view from the front door to the vendor room Go check out WonderMike's flickr page, he has a much better shot of the vendor area than mine. Mine is lame and not panoramic.

So I had three main goals for this festival:

Goal 1. Acquire, through whatever non-violent means necessary, some Pigeonroof fiber in the Millefiore colorway.

Pigeonroof Studios Millefiore SW Merino

Check. A thousand flowers indeed. Here's my favorite spot on this bump:

Millefiore Closeup: My favorite!

This is in superwash merino, but I honestly would have taken any fiber available. In fact, it was difficult to not buy both bundles, but I decided I shouldn't blow my entire budget on the first purchase of the day! I did get another 4-ounce bundle of superwash merino, in the hydrangea colorway. Photos later when it becomes yarn, or you can always go check out flickr. I also bought some more fiber from Verb and Tactile. It wasn't my fault. The color is called Supernova:

AVFKW Supernova

It's a 50% merino, 30% angora, 20% silk blend. *swoon!*

(There's more, but we're doing the nickel tour and need to keep moving before I fall asleep at the keyboard!)

Goal 2. Meet lovely people, check. I reconnected with Jen. After an hour or so I remembered that we'd first met about a year ago at an impromptu Rockin' Sock Club get-together for Bay Area knitters. Good times! Jen showed off her husband's beautiful hand-turned spindles, and she impressed the entire first fiber tasting class with her organizational abilities. I also got to meet WonderMike of Y Knit fame, visit with the folks who sold me my ladybug, and make more Ravelry friends.

Goal 3. Try new fibers. I took three one-hour-long classes on different fiber types. These "fiber tastings" were a much more intense learning experience than I really expected, but that's not to say I didn't have a blast! We started the day off right with Kristine's exotics class.

Exotic Fibers

From left to right: baby alpaca, baby llama, cashmere (!), alpaca/silk, and baby camel/silk. What I learned from this class: give 'em air. Spin over the fold. Still getting used to this, as I realized I've been doing short draw for most of my spinning.

The second class was rare wool breeds with Maia:

Rare Wool Breeds

Top to bottom, left column: Gotland, California Red, Californa Variegated Mutant, Polwarth. Right column: Icelandic, Finn, Black Welsh Mountain, and Navajo Churro (Albert). What I learned: if you want a hard-wearing knitted whatever, get fiber from a sheep that could survive in the elements! You might need to look for something other than standard merino if you want to knit that pass-it-down-to-your-kids fisherman/aran sweater. I was also reminded of the differences between a worsted (combed) prep and woolen (carded) prep in fibers. I checked out a knitted sample of the woolen yarn all knit up, and although I'm not crazy excited about woolen spinning, damn if I don't want to make a sweater out of yarn like that!

I have two bags of chocolate colored Polwarth locks sitting in my stash. Perhaps you remember them from my Stitches haul? They are getting moved up the queue. This was a fun class, and got me thinking outside the sweater-scarf-socks box as far as my knitting and spinning projects go. Actually, ditto that for Brooke's cellulose fibers class, which happened at the end of the day.

Cellulose Fibers

From top, clockwise: hemp (natural color and indigo dyed), cotton/hemp, carbonized bamboo (with a bit of superwash merino), bamboo, Tencel, wool/Tencel, linen, and flax.

There were only three of us in the last class, and we'd all decided to take all three fiber tastings. We were all a little brain-fried by that time! I got to try spinning the flax with slightly wet fingertips, which was super-cool. That's one of those things that originally got me into the idea of spinning. I was really glad to broaden my spinning horizons to include fibers that might be a little more climate-appropriate. What I learned from this class: don't let the twist get into your fiber supply. Natural cellulose fibers will get better with more washing and wearing. You can make a little fiber blend sandwich to cut the cellulose content and get something that might be a little easier to spin, or have some of the elasticity of a protein fiber.

What I learned overall: I wish I could spend all my time looking at beautiful fiber, learning more about these crafts, and hanging out with super-cool people. I should not be afraid of trying different fibers and fiber blends. This event was exactly what I need in my life right now, to help me get through the end of the semester and carry me into my summer break. When we return next time (hopefully): auf Deutsch! Not the whole thing, just a little bit.

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