Sunday, May 02, 2004

Sheep Poo

Whether it's fresh and steamy on the grounds at the Sheep & Wool festival, or dried and crusty in a handspun yarn, I am not a fan.

Festival Recap
Comparatively speaking, this was way better than Stitches (or any other fiber event I've been to so far). I was surprised to find out that not only is there no entry fee, but parking is free as well.

The vendors are much more varied. There are a few large yarn stores with all the standard stock. There are small businesses that have only unique, handspun yarns with dyelots that can't be replicated. There are spinning wheel companies. There are lanolin hand cream booths. There are places that sell fleeces, prepared wool, dyes, buttons and woven rugs.

I only saw a couple of booths that sold mostly novelty yarns for glittery scarves.

Also, as Kathy mentioned in comments yesterday, it was hot, but not a complete steambath. I only experience a couple of bitchy folks there. We got there almost first thing, and left by 1:00 when folks starting getting ugly.

People I saw
I can't believe I didn't run into Kathy, Charlotte (her daughter), Carol S. or Antonio.

Also, unlike Stitches, only one person recognized me from my blog, and she knew about where I'd be.

I met with Ann by the dog trials (despite the thousand or so folks there). She is a local, and was very pleasant to meet. She knew a lot about the dogs, and we got to chat a little about the stupidity of trying to meet people at events like the MDS&W without a specific place in mind.

After that, I met with Witt, Karen and Charles and his lover.

Witt is one of those people in the knitting world that knows EVERYONE.

Charles is an extremely proficient spinner and weaver, so I was glad to be able to pick his brain on how to choose a spinning wheel.

I also ran into three folks from my local knitting guild. It was great seeing Sandy, Judi and Jean. They are amazing knitters, shoppers and all-around wonderful folks.

Things I Purchased
I didn't go crazy. I ended up buying three sweater's worth of yarn.

First of all, I bought my final book (for now) on spinning. Many of the folks I asked recommended Alden Amos' book on handspinning, and I was hoping to find it at the festival.

Mission accomplished.

Then, Thaddeus picked out this yarn at Morehouse Merino.

He likes the incredible softness of their yarn, and he liked this color a lot. He wants a very simple pullover. I'm glad I like this yarn so much, so even a simple design won't be too boring.

At the Dzined booth, I was struck by how great their yarns and colors were. This yarn that combines blues, grays and yellows looked perfect for an interesting man's sweater.

The yarn is a combination of wool and hemp. The hemp seems to give the yarn a density or body that I like very much. I'm excited to see how I enjoy working with this yarn.

Finally, I fell in love with this yarn at the Running Wild Yarn booth.

It's a combination of Cormo wool and alpaca. It's soft and the natural colors of the yarn blend in a beautiful tan color.

I didn't end up purchasing a spinning wheel. I'll write about my strategy for that in my next entry.

Interim Knitting
I got a litte more done on the Dancing Feet socks.

As I get near the top of the first in a pair of toe-up socks, I always hesitate on how long I want to make them. I want to make them pretty long, but I hate doing endless ribbing, and I never know if I'll have enough yarn to make both socks as long as I like.

I figure one more inch and I'll start the next one.

Hopefully the second sock will keep me busy until my Jamieson Spindrift comes in. I won't be able to get to that until Thursday night when I get home from Albany.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Liz asks what pattern I'm using for the toe-up socks.

I initally learned to make toe-up socks using Judy Gibson's "Your Putting Me On" sock pattern that's free on the web. Once I realized how easy socks were to make, I modified her design to make mine with a short-row heel, because I was more familiar with that method from my circular sock machine days. But either Judy's pattern, or Wendy's pattern are equally easy to start with.

Elaine asks if socks are easier from the toe-up, or is it just a preference.

The initial reason I opted to do toe-up socks the first time, was that I had two balls of Regia yarn, and wanted the longest sock I could get from each ball. I figured what better way than toe-up socks.

It's since become just a preference.