Monday, May 12, 2008

Shepherd's Harvest 2008

Here we go, it's the annual Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival re-cap - 2008 Edition.

The markets were larger this year by about 1/2 of a building. There were three buildings packed with vendors with festive banners above: Smiling faces with new wool-y purchases were around every corner.

Kerry had just picked up her processed fleeces from Morning Sun Farms. (Correct me if that's not the right farm- I'm new to this processing thing.) Click the link to see what's inside those bags!
Miss Amanda was working on her stash once again. She had just picked up some gorgeous 2-ply silk laceweight for a shawl.
Marge, Pam, and Myriah were just starting their adventure at this point. (I was walking to the car at 9:15 a.m. with my first purchase - see below.) They did not leave light-handed, either.
No matter when you walked through the second building, there was music to hear.

My mom loves sheep skins. She found great steering wheel covers, and purchased one. I popped in on her neck, then couldn't get her to take it off all day long. Argh. :)

Apparently she now wants one for every vehicle in the family.

Lots of bunnies for sale-- isn't he cute?

Here's where I confess and tell you about stash acquisitions. My plan was to buy pre-yarn items only - including ONE fleece. Just one.

The event opened at 9 on Saturday, and here I was at 9:09 at the RiverWinds Farm booth. (I couldn't find them on the map - but they were pretty easy to find with a quick scan.) The 4.5 lb bundle of Cormo fleece on the table went home with me.

I purchased Jasmine's fleece. She was the grand champion winner two years ago at Shepherd's Harvest - but is a touch out of her prime and was not entered in the competition this year. Apparently I'm lazy today-- for more information on how to buy one (or combed cormo roving for $20/8 0z! What a deal!), click to embiggen the image for info.

Cormo is incredibly soft and lovely. It's kinda like cashmere, but a step or two down. I'm not sure of the micron information - but I am planning on spinning thin singles and plying tightly to avoid a yarn that will pill.

I'm thinking of perhaps trying a natural dye to create a light tan - perhaps Am Kamin would be just the right pattern for a sweater if I get gauge. The fleece is unwashed, although Jasmine was coated - and her fleece was skirted. The lanolin is definitely there- but it's actually really nice. Many fleeces feel really gross and slimy to me. I'm actually thinking about 'spinning in the grease'. This means that you don't wash the fleece before spinning the wool into yarn. Imagine wool with lotion in it. :) Remember how I was going to buy one fleece? Well, I cheated. Burr Oak Farms sells washed fleeces in 1 lb. bundles. There was a gorgeous bag of Border Leister Lincoln cross looking me in the eye - and for $10, how could I refuse? After walking around with the fleece for an hour, I came back and purchased another pound from the same fleece. I spent $20 for this gorgeous wool! Ivy was her name, and what a sweet fleece she has.

I have to say, I'm more excited about this fleece than Jasmine. Yes, the tips are bleached blond - and yes, a few tips broke off when I started carding. Breakage was minimal and I just created a throw-away pile on the table. The basket above has about 3 oz. of carded fiber in it.
Here's a close-up of the bag, and locks are below. The staple length is approximately 5.5", and Ivy is primarily a light grey. There are many, many shades in the wool - from blonde to a dark, dark grey. Most of the fleece isn't this sun-kissed, but I have to say I just love it. What a sweet fleece.

So, in 2008/2009 you're about to see a good deal of spinning with natural colors - and some natural dye experimentation. My goal is to spin and knit at least one sweater from a fleece purchased.

Due to rain, I didn't visit Llama Magic this year.
Ah, well. Something to look forward to next year.


Miss T said...

Sigh. Wish I'd been there!

Elemmaciltur said...

Wow, I have to admit that those fleeces look beautiful and tempting. However, I don't think I want to dab into the fibre prep world yet. No space or time...not to even mention the equipments.

Looking forward to seeing what you'll do with them all.

Meema said...

I second elem above - love the idea of spinning, no idea where I'd stash entire fleeces. Great job shopping! Can't wait to see what fills your bobbins.