Saturday, October 10, 2009

More to Love

There were a few more things I haven't mentioned yet that I really enjoyed about last weekend's Fall Fiber Festival. One big one was a chance to see a blog friend in person! (Hi, Puff :) There might have been a couple more, but Robin has moved far away, and though TheQueen was there, I didn't spot her. Most likely, my eyes were on the fiber.

Ah yes, the fiber. This year I barely visited the animal tent, the skein and garment competition or the fleeces. I had eyes only for fiber. I'm trying to be good, really I am. After all, I already have far more yarn and fiber at home than there's any sensible reason for. I've sworn off buying sock yarn until knitting down a bunch of what I already have. In fact, I've mostly sworn off buying finished yarn in general until I knit down the stocks a bit. For now, I'm buying only spinning fiber. And I'm trying to limit even that to less than replacement quantities for what I spin, knit, and use up.

I didn't do too badly. I've finished two sweaters lately, so I was able to pick out a few treasures at the festival without guilt. Let me show you what I found!

First is the deep plum-colored roving (from the last post right after the doughnuts). It's a cloudy day today, so I can't quite capture its true personality, but this is luscious stuff. It's a blend of wool, mohair, and alpaca from Karen at Avalon Springs Farm, in Mt. Airy, Maryland. She's a first-time vendor at the festival, and I'm glad I caught her while she still had a nice big bin of this fiber. I bought a sweater's worth.

There's a small twist, for me, in that it has just a bit of sparkly Firestar blended in. I have never worked with that, but I could not resist these colors. I'll be interested to see how much the sparkle shows up in the finished yarn, and I'll think carefully about what sort of a sweater it will suit.

From Pat and Steve Harder's Kid Hollow Farm in Free Union, Virginia, the source of last year's fluffy brushed mohair, I bought some wool and mohair roving in two colorways. This one is called Violet Turquoise Spot. It looks quite subtle and grayish, which is lovely in itself. But I think it will darken when spun and show more of its violet and turquoise nature.

This is the other one, Northern Lights. I seem to be stuck on the violet and turquoise theme, don't I? It also has hints, though, of a strong dark pink that isn't really showing in the picture.

I picked these out and bought a half-pound of each with the assistance of the wonderful Puff, who helps out in Pat and Steve's booth. But why only half a pound? Well, as I said, I'm trying very hard to be good. It takes me about one and a half pounds of fiber for a handspun sweater. I figured finishing two sweaters got me roughly three pounds of allowance for buying more fiber. Between the plummy roving and these, I had kept it to two and a half pounds, for extra credit.

So I went ahead and bought a couple of ounces of this combed Shetland top from The Flock Bransonas, in Staunton, Virginia, in the colorway Aurora.

I actually already had some of this. I bought one little ounce a couple of years ago to sample Shetland wool. I spun some of it laceweight on a handspindle and loved it. Last year I bought another ounce. Adding another two ounces gives me about 110g, enough for some sort of a lacey scarf or shawl.

Later, out of idle curiosity, I calculated the actual weight of yarn and fiber used in my two recent sweaters. The commercial yarn used up, it turned out, weighed less than my rule-of-thumb quantity, and that last two ounces of Shetland put me over my replacement weight. Oh, well. I blew it, but it's worth it.

My last find, thankfully not subject to my self-imposed limit, was this shawl pin of wenge wood from Knitting Notions in Nashville, Tennessee. There were dozens of them, in different domestic and exotic woods, all unique, as handcrafted things are. I loved this one, which reminds me of a chess piece.

Oh, what's that it's stuck into, you ask? Just never you mind! (I'll tell you later.)

And of course, I bought those delicious apple cider doughnuts and gobbled them on the spot. And that makes more of me to love, too. :)


Bess said...

Oh gal. I love your fiber choices. Love love love 'em.

I didn't buy any fiber at the festival, but I have just placed a $$ order with spirit trail fiberworks ( out of the back of her truck that Sunday morning, lol) so I was looking only for unusual yarns - which I found. At least, I found an alpaca boucle I'd never seen before. yum.

I'm sorry we didn't catch up - especially since I won't be going to Stitches East this year, a way off in CT. Are you contemplating Stitches south in April?

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, a secret! Can't wait.

So glad you got something from Karen (Avalon Springs)- isn't she a sweetheart? You know, she'll be at Shenandoah, too...

I have both of your Kid Hollow colors here, too. I've spun up the Violet Turq Spot and its gorgeous.

Great choice on the shawl pin- I have one I got last year and love it.