This weekend was the Estes Park Wool Market, and this time I took my family with me.
Saturday, my friend Brenda was meeting us there with her husband and grown son. Every time I go to the wool market and see all the fiber bearing animals, I keep trying to think of a way of having some of these critters at home. But I grew up on a farm and I know just how much work is involved.
One of our first stops was to watch the Sheepdog demonstration. Then we went to see the Llamas in their barn. The boys were delighted to meet 3 yearlings and their owner, Sandy of Lockwood Dreamstar, told them that llamas like to touch noses with you.
The light was a bit low, so my photos were somewhat blurred.
This handsome fella was so soft. Sandy was very kind and educational about llamas and the boys were thrilled to get to pet a llama.
After our visit with the llamas we went to watch a sheep shearing demonstration. It was hard to hear the folks that were giving the demo because their sheep were being very noisy. It was lots of fun though to see how gently and quickly the shearer worked. At the end, the amount of fleece that came off each sheep was impressive. Most impressive was when the shearer told us that he could shear as many as 170 sheep in a day, and he had done as many as 262 on one of his busiest days.
Then we headed to the Paco-Vicuna, Alpaca and Rabbit barn. There we got to see how an alpaca fleece is sorted out in preparation for spinning into yarn. Brenda caught up with us in this barn, but the boys still wanted to see the bunnies. Brenda and her family left us to our exploring and I arranged to meet her a little later at the Vendor Barn (where the yarn and lovely hand-dyed fibers live).
I stopped to visit with a lady that had 4 beautiful French Angora rabbits, she had examples of their fiber that she had brushed off them during the day. The boys were exploring further and they fell in love with a little French Angora bunny that was for sale. He was a lovely butterscotch color, and though I was tempted as well, I knew better. When I said “no” it was clear that we had waited too long to feed the boys their lunch, both of them were in tears and very upset.
After the bunny incident I sent all my men off to have lunch and go to the little amusement center across town; go-carts, miniature golf and a gigantic slide that you ride down on rugs. I headed to the Vendor Barn to meet up with Brenda. I tried to be good and resist purchasing any yarn. But there were some beautiful hand-dyed hanks that I couldn’t say no to. I have very little resistance when it comes to yarn.
This lovely yarn from Bonkers Hand-Dyed Yarn inspired me with it’s color. Don’t be surprised if my hair ends up some of these colors, I’m going to be taking this hank into my next appointment with my stylist and see what she comes up with. Traci the owner/artist always has a wonderful variety of yarns and fibers in her booth. You can visit her website at www.tracibunkers.com to see many of her wonderful products and artwork.
I saw a number of vendors there that I know. I was really excited to see Galina Khmeleva as I have been wanting to purchase her Orenburg Knitting DVD ever since I took her knitting class at the Knit & Crochet Show last summer. We had a lovely chat and I purchased the treasured DVD. You can also download her class on the Interweave website.
Brenda and I stopped to explore the gorgeous colors of yarns at Jeny Originals, Yarns & Handwovens. Turns out she also has a shop in Laramie, Wyoming (one of my favorite towns) so the next time I am up there to visit I definitely need to stop by. One thing I really enjoyed is that the tags on her hanks are the her husband’s photos that she takes inspiration from for her colors.
I couldn’t resist these 2 hanks and I think they will become something very lovely. The multiple colored one is seacell/silk and incredibly soft, the other is 100% silk and seems to glow.
I said a quick hello to my friends at the Lambspun booth. I had a giggle because this is the 25th anniversary of the Estes Park Wool Market and Lambspun was one of 5 vendors that have been there every year. So they had a banner in their booth that said “25 year Survivor”. As I walked around the floor with Brenda we spotted the other 4 booths. If you have never gotten a chance to stop in to visit the Lampspun shop in Ft. Collins you really need to treat yourself. I think of it as the Ali Baba den of yarn.
Diana White from Wyoming Equality Fiber Works had some great artwork. I had to have this T-shirt that says “My Sheep Shirt” on it in letters formed by sheep. When I showed my family my purchases that evening both boys wanted their own sheep shirts so I began to think about going back to the Wool Market on Sunday.
My last yarn purchase of the day was at the SeaColors booth. This booth was full of wonderful soft squashy yarn in delicious muted colors. I purchased 2 hanks in a lovely rose-coral mixture. I’m thinking a nice transitional piece for spring-time. The softness and loft of this yarn will definitely lend itself to crocheted cables. You can learn more about Nanne and her farm and yarn at www.getwool.com.
My last stop of the day was a visit to my friends Ron and Theresa at the Buffalo Wool Company. I was resisting purchasing yarn there, since I have a couple skeins I’m working up a design for spring in already. But I had to have a pair of these adorable earrings that are tiny hanks of Buffalo Gold yarn on silver findings. The deal was sealed when I found a pair in magenta.
I had definitely done my bit for retail therapy and felt very virtuous since I had resisted purchasing a bag at one booth. The bags were beautifully constructed and colorful, my 2 weaknesses. They were priced reasonably for the quality, but I talked myself out of it. Next year if they are at the market again I may not be able to resist.
Sunday, my oldest son wanted to go back to the market to explore the Vendor Barn. He and I headed over to Estes Park after lunch. Once we got there we went over to the building where the “Sheep to Shawl” competition was happening. Across the way was the Children’s Tent and he wanted to try learning to spin with a drop spindle. He made about 5 feet of thick/thin yarn and had a good time. It was fun for me to have a review of spinning with the drop spindle too.
As we were heading back toward the Vendor Barn he wanted to say “hi” to the 3 young llamas again. We stop by for a little bit, but only 2 of them were in their stall, the 3rd one must have been in the arena being shown. We headed back down the path and decided to visit the bunnies again.
This time we talked to the same woman with the 4 rabbits I had met on Saturday. We asked lots of questions about having rabbits and the care they needed. We stopped at a table that was selling some angora blend yarns and my son picked out a hank of alpaca/angora that I promised to make a hat from for him. The color is nearly black, so it will be a definite labor of love.
Finally we made it to the Vendor Barn and headed over to Diana’s booth again. We picked out shirts for both boys. The white one with the bright colors is for my oldest son and the light gray one with purple is for my youngest.
We wandered around the vendor floor then. My son was attracted to the artwork and fascinated by the various drum carders. One nice woman at a booth demonstrated to him how they work.
When we found ourselves at Carl and Eileen’s Bijou Basin booth they weren’t busy so we got to visit for awhile. Carl regaled us with stories about their Yak herd and their dogs. My son was completely enthralled and I was petting the yarn.
I didn’t purchase any yarn from them this time, but I did get a couple bottles of their new fine fiber and fabric wash “Allure”. A small bottle of the Woodland Mist scent, and a large bottle of the Fragrance Free. I’m really looking forward to trying this wash product. Unlike some scented products this one did not make me sneeze, and the fragrance free may be the first I’ve encountered that truly had no scent at all.
Our last stop of the day was to visit Ron and Theresa at Buffalo Wool Company. I had forgotten to get a photo of them when I had stopped by the day before. We tried to get a photo of the 3 of us, but our photographer was a little short being he is only 12.
After all the fun with Ron and Theresa we headed out the door to drive home. The smell of the cinnamon roasted almonds was a big temptation though, so we got a little packet of those to share on the drive. On the drive home my son told me this had been an “Epic” day. I think I got some mom points and he is looking forward to next year’s Wool Market. Must run in the family.
The date for next year’s Wool Market is June 11th and 12th, so you might want to plan a visit to Estes Park to come play with fiber and have fun with friends. Estes Park is a beautiful place to visit and adding fiber and yarn to the visit makes it even better.