On Saturday, I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. My car turned 25k on the way, which is sort of amazing given that I’ve only had it for thirteen months. I drove up by myself and had a lovely time shopping, aiming mostly for things that I haven’t tried before. After lunch of a pretty good, not great lamb gyro I met up with friends Josh, Efrain, Sam and Jen and wandered around with them for a while. I helped Sam and Jen each pick out a drop spindle from Turnstyles, after looking through the selections at several other booths but not finding the ones that were just right.
On the left, eight ounces of Ashland Bay merino in “Lapis”. I know this is really standard commercial top, but it’s also quite nice to spin with, and I liked the colour. On the right, 4 ounces of a 50-50 merino/tencel blend from Bonkers Handmade Originals. I’ve never spun with tencel before, but the colours really shine and I couldn’t resist it.
Two four ounce packages of a merino-tussah-bamboo blend from Bullen’s Wullens. Bamboo is another new-to-me fibre. I was only going to get one package, but they were offering a deal for purchasing two, so…
On the left, a six ounce sampler of Jacob roving from Firefly Farm, another new-to-me fibre. I bought this with the thought that I’d spin each one separately and make some colourwork mittens or a hat. Or both, depending on how much yarn I get out of it. On the right, something I’ve been wanting to try for a while – roving that will spin into a tweedy yarn. It’s Corriedale from a sheep named Lilly, dyed with indigo and iron by Handspun by Stefania, with multicolour silk noil carded in to make the tweeds.
Lastly, eight ounces of merino pencil roving from Pucker Brush Farm. I really liked the colours, and I’ve never spun anything from pencil roving before. I think I’m going to like it! At this point, my backpack was stuffed full and I was (amazingly!) still under the budget I’d set for myself, so I stopped buying stuff. I’m sure if I kept looking, I would have found something else that I loved, but I resisted. We all headed back to Josh’s house to sort and crow over our loot, and so I could teach Jen and Sam to use their new spindles. That’s when Josh reminded me that he’d been holding onto a metric ton of roving from his former housemate, and offered to give some of it to me…
Four giant balls of mystery wool roving, averaging 420 grams each. It was processed some years ago by Frankenmuth Woolen Mill. Much of it was marked ‘unwashed’ or ‘rewash’, but there is very little vegetable matter in it. It feels like it has some lanolin, but a lot less than I think completely unwashed wool would have. If I had known that I’d be getting over 3.5 pounds of naturally-coloured roving, I might not have bought that Jacob sampler to do colourwork! I was also given 470g of alpaca blanket, two in brown and one in white. It’s unwashed as well, with some vegetable matter but not much, and it’s a lot higher quality than the second cuts I had at home to play/practice with. And all of that was only about a quarter of what was there! Sam and Jen each took another quarter, and we saved some for Janis.
It was a lot of fun teaching Sam and Jen to spin. They both picked up the basics of park-and-draft very quickly, and pretty soon Efrain was making a drop spindle from a CD and a chopstick so that he could try as well. Sam offered to buy my Ashford Traditional, Patience, from me – but I’m still not sure I want to sell her! I go back and forth about it. I love how she looks but I don’t spin on her since I got Grace, the Kromski Sonata. On the first hand, I have some emotional attachment to Patience since she was a birthday present. On the other, wouldn’t it be better if someone was making yarn with her?