Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wool Arts Tour 2008. Ooh.

I spent Columbus Day doing the Wool Arts Tour here in New Hampshire with my sister. For more info on the yearly tour, check it out here:

It takes place every Columbus Day weekend, and you drive to five different fiber stores and/or farms, where there are also lots of vendors set up selling yarn, spinning wheels, shawl pins, spinning accessories, and just about anything you can imagine.

Of course, the vast array of colors and options is dizzying and after a while my eyes began to glaze over. But I still managed to snag a few goodies.

First I picked up a knitting bag. It's made of felt, with an adorable black sheep on it. Hard to tell from the photo but the bag is a dark green color, also lined with a lovely floral print fabric with an inside pocket. I grabbed it as it was the only one with a black sheep instead of white. When I was a kid, my favorite stuffed animal was a black lamb...'nuff said.

Next was a huge skein of "Treadsoft" merino sock yarn. There's 850 yards in this sucker. :-) Knowing me, it will probably become a lace shawl rather than socks...though I did pick up the Magic Loop sock instruction booklet. Just in case. The colors make me think of springtime in the tropics! And since tropical weather isn't my favorite, I can get a taste of it with this yarn without leaving New Hampshire.

Then I found a skein of "America's Alpaca" 100% superfine alpaca lace weight yarn, 875 yards, in a denim-blue-that's-almost-but-not-quite-purple color. Yup, this will also probably become a lace shawl. I can't help it, I'm hooked on lace. I just love the delicate fabric that seems so ethereal, it could almost float away. While I was at this least I think it was this stop...I got to see alpacas in person. Hard to believe they produce yarn that's my absolutely favorite single fiber, but they do it somehow. They're adorable. Also saw some miniature donkeys at the same stop. They were quite happy to come over and make friends with anyone willing to give them a pat.

Then I ventured into non-laceweight yarn with this gorgeous skein of handpainted "Angora Blizzard" 85% German angora rabbit, 15% merino wool, two-ply yarn from the "Honeybuns Rabbitry and Apiary" in the "Shades of Burgandy" color. (Huff, puff. Yeah, there's a lot of information on the tag for this yarn, and I love it!) It came with a lovely yet deceptively simple scarf pattern and the promise that this one 230-yard skein was enough to make it. Once I'm done with all my Christmas knitting, I'll start on this scarf for ME. Can't wait to work with it! It's so soft...just begs to be petted.

And finally, I found a huge hank of rayon chenille yarn, a little over 11 3/4 ounces for a total of 955 yards. The color is called "Teal Green," but it seems to me more shades of turquoise and darker blues, with a bit of purple thrown in here and there. You may be able to make out the purple if you squint at the photo. ;-) I purchased this at The Fiber Studio in Henniker, It's a lovely store with just about every fiber you could wish for, plus spinning wheels and a large selection of beads as well. They were nice enough to wind the yarn into balls for me, to save me the effort. This, I think, will be...drum roll...a shawl! Okay, I'm not only a lace fanatic, but also a shawl fanatic. And this chenille would sure make a comfy, cozy coverup for chilly winter days.

So that, along with the magic loop instructions and the instructions for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Adult Surprise Jacket, was my haul. (Hmm. Wonder how many yards of chenille the jacket would need?) Now I'm gloriously glutted with yarn and looking forward to each and every stitch!

Do you go to fiber festivals, and if so, which ones? Do you stock up on yarn, or books, or needles/jewelry/patterns? Or do you just go to talk with the shop owners, farmers, designers and spinners? I can't believe I went the first (mumble, mumble) years of my life before discovering these!


Blogger Lovs2Knit said...

Great goodies! I'm really hoping to hit at least one fiber festival next year.

5:34 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Holy cow, sweet stash enhancements!
I tried to go to my first fiber festival this year, but we got flooded out in the summer that swamped/blew Iowa away (floods & tornados).

Kim in IA

6:22 PM  
Blogger georg said...

I hit Fingerlakes Fiber Fest earlier this fall, I went to SOAR last weekend, and this weekend I'm going to Rhinebeck (NY Sheep&Wool). Oh yeah, I do festivals, and next spring I'm going to *work* them as part of my job.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as a fiber festival but it sure sounds like a blast. Especially if you get to meet alpacas. I'm a yarn stroker so I'd enjoy petting the source of that gorgeously soft fiber.

You got the most fabulous new fibers! I'm drooling all over my keyboard as I eye the glorious rich colors and yearn to finger the textures. Can't wait to see what projects they turn into!

11:20 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

lovs2, I hope you get to go. They're definitely a treat!

Kim, sorry to hear you got flooded out. The first year I went to the New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival, I had recently fallen down the stairs and broken a bone in my foot. And you guessed it, it was POURING rain that day. Undeterred, I strapped a plastic bag around my cast and went clumping along to the festival anyway. ;-)

georg, I envy you working the festivals! What kind of work will you be doing?

Nancy, you wouldn't believe how rough the alpacas' fleece feels while still on the animal. You have to kind of dig in and find the soft inner hairs to get a clue what the finished yarn will feel like. Check out the NH Sheep & Wool Festival info here: I didn't know about them either till I moved here.


11:04 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Oh, Liz! I have serious fiber festival envy. I'd hoped to get up to Rhinebeck this year for a day but The Book That Wouldn't Die isn't finished yet (big surprise) and I'm in solitary until it is. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous stash enhancements with us Love love love it all.

11:12 AM  
Blogger georg said...

I'm the office monkey for - I print out her manuals and assemble them, and arrange for beads. Occasionally I work with the dyer to stuff packages with yarn. At festivals, I'll be helping answer questions and doing a lot of fetching and backrubs for the designer and the dyer. I love, love, love my job.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

What fabulous finds! I love that sheep bag.

I've never been to a fiber festival. I don't think I trust myself not to go a little crazy.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

Barbara, sorry you didn't get to go to Rhinebeck. I love the yearly NH Sheep and Wool Festival as it's always on Mother's Day...perfect excuse for me to go with my daughters!

Ooh, georg, I envy your job. I wish I could set up a cot and live in my LYS.

Cindi, going a little crazy is what the festivals are all about! As long as you know they're coming and plan in advance financially, it's great.


10:45 AM  

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