Monday, June 15, 2009

Beautiful Estes Park

The wool market was terrific. Flat out fun.

We left early in the morning and got up to the market about 8:30am, which gave us a terrific time to wander through all the animal areas before they got hot and crowded. Lovely angora bunnies, wonderful goats of all types, beautiful alpacas, lots of little and big sheep.

Early also gave us a not-crowded browse through all the fiber, yarn, and wonderful things in the vendor barn. Following the 20 minute rule saved us an overwhelming number of impulse buys. I'd gone in knowing I wanted 2 spindles, and having an idea who I wanted them from. It was great to see other options, but I stayed with my first choice - Magpie Woodworks. They were incredibly helpful to a beginning spinner, including encouraging me to really try to spin what I want right from the start.

The first one is what they term a mid-whorl spindle, with the whorl about 1/3 of the way down the shaft (total length about 12.5 inches). It's made of hickory and is 2.1 oz (59 g) total weight. I was looking for a long-spinning spindle to start with, one I could do a thigh roll to get started, but that I could also use for plying lighter weight yarns.

The second is a top whorl spindle made of cherry, 1.1 oz (32 g), with a shaft length of about 10 inches. My ultimate goal is to be spinning laceweight to DK, so I wanted a lighter spindle to work with once I got the drafting and spinning figured out on the heavier spindle.

After the spindles, my next purchase was quite a bit of fluff. Some Romney/Alpaca carded roving, 8 oz of Corriedale roving died with indigo and with an indigo/cochineal blend, some amazing chocolaty combed Merino top, and a Merino/Tussah silk blend that had streaks of purple and white and blue and pink and couldn't be passed up.

The only yarn I bought was a beautiful natural taupe 100% Alpaca fingeringweight from Lambspun. A total of 1330 yards in two skeins that are just buttery soft.

The plan is to use about 900y of it to make Miralda's Triangular Shawl (Ravelry link) from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia. When I know exactly how much I have left over, I'll find another luxurious project for it - probably some lacy, smooshy, cuddly wristwarmers.

I've spun about 3.5 yards of 2 ply from the indigo Corriedale with the mid-whorl spindle, as a little test. It's coming out rougher than I expected, definitely not a sweater yarn for me. Being a product oriented knitter, I needed an idea what I am going to make with the yarn I spin and thus what I really want the yarn to look and feel like. I've decided that spinning to get about 9 wpi in either a single or a 2-ply is reasonable and I should have enough roving of the indigo and the indigo/cochineal combined to make a bag like this, either alternating the yarns within the squares or just having different solid squares. The fuzziness I'm getting from the fiber will make a terrific halo on a felted bag - kind of like Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride.

I like having a goal.

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