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