Sunday, July 30


I went, I saw, I spent money... It was good!

So I've been back in the Bay Area for 4 years now, every year I've said that I was going to try to make it to Lambtown. This year I finally made it, and I'm so glad I did! It's about an 80 mile drive, and I was rather waffling about whether or not I was going to go. Especially because we had a family picnic planned for Sunday - my Grandmother's nephew and his family are in town - so plans are to have a family gathering up in the Redwoods north of here (only about 60 miles north).

But I finally decided that I'd be a bit upset with myself if I didn't at least go check out a wool festival. I mean - how can I call myself a real spinner if I blow off a wool festival.

The BBE decided that he wouldn't mind getting all the Boyfriend Brownie Points that driving me to a wool festival would obviously incur. So I had a chauffeur! I was able to do a bit of knitting in the truck on the way there.

We arrived at about 4ish. Walked in the gates and started off in a counter clockwise direction - Morris Day and the Time were playing at the pavilion. There were a lot of food vendors. We found the sheep dog trials and watched for a few minutes. The sheep were not very cooperative for the poor dog that we watched trying to herd the sheep into the pen that you see. This picture was taken right before the sheep ended up way back on the other end of the field - without being penned first of course.

I brought my Spinners Choice spindle and some silk fiber that I dyed in a fairly long colour repeat - not as long as the stuff that I'm spinning on my Joy - and the dye struck much better on this bit of roving, than the one I'm spinning on my Joy.

I hadn't seen any sign of actual fiber yet (except for what is on the back of these sheepies, and what I brought with me of course). So we wandered back towards the gates to ask where the fiber is - of course after having gone full circle, ending up back at the beginning - the fiber was all to the right when you walk in the gates. It was pretty obvious once I found it - if I'd just looked around when I walked in I wouldn't have had to make a whole circuit around the place being nervous - wondering if indeed this was a fiber festival.

Here are some lovely naturally dyed rovings and yarns that I happened upon outside the main fiber building.

I went in and wandered around fully intending to get a good look around before I bought anything. I was fine until I happened upon Chameleon Colorworks booth where I laid my eyes on Optim for the first time. For those of you who might not know: Optim is merino wool that has been chemically treated and the fibers stretched to lower the micron count to amazing softness.

Of course I was told that that was the last bit of undyed Optim left. Well, after laying my hands on it - there was absolutely no way I was going to take the chance that it would get away from me! I'm amazed I've been able to put it down since. Spins like butter she tells me.

Ohmygosh, it is sooo soft! She also had some spindles for sale - but said that if it was spindles that I was interested in - then I should go across the way to the Carolina Homespun booth - she practically dragged me over there! Fiber pushers - man, they're bad - always trying to get you to the best crack in the building. Even if it's from the competition!

It was right about then that I found out that the woman that I was speaking to is the person that publishes Spindlicity!! Wow! If you're not familiar with Spindlicity, it's an online mag put out for Spindle enthusiasts, go check it out.

My next purchase was some Merino/Tencel blend, because that's another thing I've been wanting to try. I picked this up from Yarnplace from Sunnyvale. They had some absolutely beautiful laceweight yarn, one coral color really called to me - but I'm really trying hard not to buy yarn right now. Plus - you know, I want to see if I can spin anything even close. It sparkled and glowed. Just beautiful!

Then back over to Carolina Homespun where I picked up a couple of pre-dyed Merino Tencel blends. I couldn't help myself - they were so delicious! I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't grab some of the Grafton Fibers batts that they had. But I'm very happy with what I did get. I mean - look at the close up, how can a spinner resist! These are definitely going to be spun up into some fairly fine singles and then plied together - with perhaps an extra ply of either soy silk or bombyx silk that I dyed (maybe both!)

Then I made my way over to the Royale Hare booth. I've bought something from her at every show that I've gone to where she's vending. I love the fact that all of her colourways are inspired and named after specific Northern California areas.

I just bought a 4 oz bump of Superwash Merino roving from her this time. I think I might just try to make some handspun socks. I mean - I spin, and I always have a sock on the go... maybe it's about time I tried to actually knit some handspun socks? Maybe. I really like the fact that the commerical sock yarns are so easy care. But I mentioned the fact that I've never knit handspun socks for the reason that I don't see myself handwashing my socks to another spinner. She said - why don't you just use superwash? Oh yeah! Duh - smack me upside the head with the obvious stick!

I also bought a lonely ball of Trekking to make the BBE a pair of socks. I told the vendor I'd link to her on my blog, and of course her information is at home right now - she told me that she took a dye workshop lasat weekend - 20 dyers - pots a bubbling - and the temperature outside was over 115 degrees! With no air conditioning. Now that takes some real dedication!

Why is it that I can resist the gorgeous (and I do mean gorgeous) laceweight, and yet I can not for the life of me leave a yarn shop or fiber festival without a ball of sock yarn, when I've got enough for at least 40 pairs sitting at home? Typical.

It was a lovely day! Everyone was very nice and helpful - The BBE seemed to enjoy himself as well. I got to show him what drumcarders, woolie winders, lazy kates, distaffs, more spindles than you could shake a stick at (or a spindle) angora goats (mohair comes from there!) and pointing out all kinds of different wheels - he was actually quite impressed with all the different types of wheels that we saw (and the fact that I was able to put names to just about everything). I even saw a Cascabelle spindle, though beautiful - was probably not something that I'd really ever use.

I also finished the next batch of my cabled 4-ply pictures in the next post.


Monika said...

Wow, this was all quite interesting. The spinning world has it's own vocabulary I don't understand well. But I find a styring of interest in spinning, and I can't have that, because with me it's all or nothing.

Leah said...

Hi Abi! Been away for awhile with a horrid spinning injury. Thought I'd visit the blog...looks like you had a great time at your first fiber fest:) I'll be heading to one mid August and can't wait. I checked out the gradation EE dyed roving you linked to in another post and LOVE it. I need to try to dye with the looong color repeats soon! Hmmm...there's some Columbia that seems to be begging for it (VBG) BTW...I'm updating my blog today with some results of low immersion WOOL dyeing. It was interesting, to say the least!

Sarah said...

Nice haul!

Looks like some (a lot) spinning in your future.

Christine The Cheeky Red Head said...

I'm so jealous. I love fiber festivals.

Birdsong said...

I missed seeing the dog trials, although there will be some at the Nevada County Fair next week... I just love that part! You found things I didn't even see, or weren't set up yet, including the natural dyed rovings. The vendor had the booth completely arranged, but wasn't around all Friday afternoon. Yep, Carolina Handspun had the stuff of dreams, in big piles :) Let me know if you want to try to meet up at the Yolo Mill-in, about the same distance for each of us. Making the grey BF socks is more than a trade-off for chauffer duties; he's pretty lucky.

Shasta Daisy 3000 said...

It's nice to see you went to the festival!!!! I'm now suffering from fiber envy in a very bad way! BTW, you've the opposite problem of mine. I've always knit socks from my handspun. I never made anything else from my own handspun. I only started this year, when I realized that I could spin better yarn than some that I bought from a LYS. Have fun spinning! Leigh

Sarah said...

Ooooh! Lambtown sounds like it was soooo much fun! I can't wait til the Taos Woolfest!

Yep, spin superwash for sockyarn!

Nice spinning btw....I love the silk.