Veni, vedi, vici, emi or MDSW part 2

It was around 1 o’clock before J and I actually began visiting various vendors to do our more “normal” shopping. Per my plan/shopping list going into the event I never found a good source for raw angora. But that’s ok since the place where I purchased the fiber I used before is local and I won’t mind visiting again at some point. In the end it became the year of (mostly) hand dyed wool-silk rovings.

This green and neutral tone blended roving is actually an Ashland Bay commercially produced roving. So not as exciting as some other items. But the price was great and I’m actually thinking that it is the same process/producer as the Snapdragon fiber used to knit my recent lace shawl. Since I am also worried that my plans/ideas for spinning up the other hand painted rovings (lace but still maintain the vibrant colors) may fail this one I know can always be a winner for that particular type of spinning.

Into the Whirled has been on my radar for a number of years and I’m not really sure why or how. They have awesome color combinations that are labeled with super geeky names. I’ve visited their booth each year at MDSW but never purchased anything. I think a good bit of the problem is that I like so many of the options I can never choose so I would move on. This year however I was determined to pick something awesome. I made it a little bit easier for myself by going in knowing I wanted a wool/silk blend. After a good bit of internal debate I narrowed it down to two excellent options. And after even more consideration made my choice (based largely on not wanting to choose colors that were so similar to another roving I had my eye on). The colorway is called Walla Walla. I feel like I should know what this reference is. But I don’t and I couldn’t even find it on the interweb. Shucks.

Gales Art is where I first found trindles 5(?) years ago. Since I am now a trindle junkie it only seems appropriate that I have also become obsessed with Gales wonderful rich vibrant dyeing. A few days before MDSW Mr. or Mrs. Trindleman had posted on facebook encouraging selfies from Gale’s booth. Being the overachiever that I am I fully intended to do just that. I stopped by the booth earlier in the day but things were still pretty crowed. I didn’t want to be in the way plus I am rather self-conscious. So I snapped a quick picture but also inquired as to how late they would be there. My eye had also been caught by some gorgeous long drapey silky braids of roving in the corner of the booth. Later in the day when the crowds had died down I returned, claimed the fibery-goodness, and snapped this dorky selfie.

The revelation of this years MDSW was for me Hobbledehoy Yarn and Fiber. I absolutely love love love pretty much all of her crazy batts. The texture and the vibrant colors are so wonderful. She has been vending for quite a while so I’m not entirely sure what it is that drew my attention this year. I suspect that my fiber tastes are growing and changing, which is awesome. Plus it does help that I am (dangerously) becoming more willing to spend for the good stuff. After much deliberation I finally choose these lemon blueberry battlings. Despite what I just said I’ll still confess that the lower price drew me. And while I’m not sure about going with fiber that matches my old high school colors there is just something so fun about these little batts.
I am very happy with my haul. Now it’s time to get spinning.

Veni, vedi, vici, emi or MDSW part 1

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was on Saturday. And I most definitely came, saw, conquered, and purchased.

The weather really couldn’t have been better. The forecast was originally calling for a cooler day so I was prepared with multiple layers. For most of the day just the t-shirt was perfect although the newly finished shawl was a perfect layer as needed. Plus two random people complimented me on the shawl!

As has become our tradition J and I headed straight for the fleece barn. We had both done quite a bit of research about the breeds or types of fleece that we were looking for. But in the end I’m not sure that either of us accomplished that feat. Things seemed more pricy this year. We’re not sure if we were there a bit later than last year. Or I’m also thinking it may be a case of as more and more people are buying fleeces the farmers are able to price higher.

My first find was this little 2lb Border Leicester. Being a coarser (medium) fleece the breed wasn’t on my wish list, I like soft things. But the price was super low and the fleece was small. Plus it really did look quite nice, the white should be good for dying. And it’s a breed that I’ll now be more educated about for the future!

Next I was determined to find a grey/silver fleece. Here I was struggling with the prices as there were some excellent options that I just wasn’t willing to afford. But there were three very unique Polypay X fleeces that J and I kept coming back to. I decided to take a chance and go for it. The colors are excellent and the fleece looks great albeit not the softest. I also really appreciated that the farmer included some of the breeds that have been included in the cross: Dorset and Lincoln. 

And lastly I still wanted more white fleece to use for dying. And I wanted it to be soft. I settled on this Merino. It seemed and uninspiring choice since Merino wool is everywhere. But I’ve never processed merino from raw so it will still be a new experience. My fleece is quite dirty but the crimp is so tiny and amazing. It should be fun.

After carting my 10+ pounds of fleece (along with J and her 10+) back to the car (which was rather inconveniently up near the top back corner of the parking lot hill) it was time for a well earned break and a picnic lunch! A few of us purchased a few different types of sheep and goat cheese and we had brought our own fruit and crackers. It was of course delicious.

This has gotten long so more tomorrow (or maybe the next day).

Shopping List

MDSW can be overwhelming. So it seems wise that I’m going into it this year with a plan.

First and foremost is the purchasing of fleece(s). J and I will once again be stopping first at the sheep barn to stake our claims. My number one hope is to find an excellent grey/silver fleece that is also soft. I love natural colored fleeces and dream of having a new handspun handknit sweater (and probably a shawl, I love shawls). I’m also torn between doing the fun thing and buying something cheap and white (and ideally soft) to be used to play around with dying. The being torn part comes into play when you consider the fact that I really ought to finish what I have already. But where’s the fun in restraint?

I figure that will take us a bit and we’ll want to head back to the car to deposit the goods. At which time we can pick up some fruit and crackers and head next to the fancy cheese vendors! The food at MDSW is somewhat underwhelming generic fair food. But it has become our tradition to feast on cheese and crackers. This year we’re taking our planning even farther and bringing extra awesome goodies to the feast.

After satiating ourselves it will be time to do the rest of the shopping.

During last years TDF I spun up a yarn that is 100% angora. It was a pain to spin but the result is quite special. Unfortunately the result was limited in yardage. I’d like to find more raw angora that I can spin up to eventually knit the most amazingly soft airy scarf.

I am also on the look out for some amazingly dyed merino/silk roving. The giant shawl I just finished knitting was merino silk and I love the yarn that it produced. I want to spin something similar but with much more vibrant colors. Eventually I will knit it into a Shaelyn shawl.

Given my new-found fascination with dying I will be on the lookout for dye supplies. Namely powdered acid dyes, citric acid, and undyed roving. Some preliminary research however indicates that I may be able to get significantly more bang for my buck by purchasing online. So I’ll have to just wait and see.

There are also few specific vendors that I want to check out. I’ve always heard amazing things about Bosworth spindles. I suspect I will once again check them out and exercise restraint, but we will see. Recently I’ve started watching the amazing items that are produced by Jennie the Potter. I’m pretty sure she has something of a cult following in the fiber community so I’m not exactly holding my breath that I will be willing to shell out the cash for one of her items. But definitely worth checking out methinks.

J and I are also planning to check out the tool/equipment auction. From what I’ve read online it can be a pretty mixed bag of what is available and the prices. And while I know I really shouldn’t be thinking about such exorbitance I really can’t help but consider what awesome types of wonderful things may be up for offer (looms, drum carders, and wheels - o my).

I did it.

Fiber prep = done.
In total I have 1lb 6 ounces of fiber in 137 little super cute awesome ready to spin (although I may dye them) balls of combed Tunis:

Spinning = done.
I want to knit with this yarn. Except its under plied. D'oh. I'll probably run it through the wheel again to add a bit more twist. But still it’s just super soft and wonderful and it needs to be knit into something amazing. I spun a total of 266 yards.

Knitting = done.
This shawl was by far the most tedious boring knitting I have tackled in a long time. And it is huge. But despite some doubts I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’m already planning another laceweight shawl from handspun :-)
Now I may go to MDSW and procure more awesomeness.