Festival and Conference Season Begins

A couple weeks ago I spent my Saturday at YarnFest in Loveland, Colorado. This is a great festival that is “local” for me. There are loads of classes and a fun marketplace celebrating yarn and other fibery fun.

I got to see a number of friends and had a little retail therapy time. My first stop and purchases were with the folks at Brown Sheep Company. I’m looking forward to making something summery with the pink yarn. Hopefully I can finish it before the CGOA conference in July.

I had lunch with my good friend Karen Whooley, she taught 4 classes at the festival. We had a great time catching up. Once she had to head back to teach her afternoon class I met up with my friend Susanna.

Turns out Susanna is nearly as dangerous an enabler to shop with as my dear friend Jan. I ended up purchasing a few more items than I had originally planned on. The gorgeous yarns below were too tempting.

This lovely fluffy dark yarn is a Cashmere/Wool blend. There is a little over 320 yards in the 2 balls, so I am hoping to create a lacy cowl or a shawlette. The fluffy halo of the yarn will make for a warm fabric even if it is created with very open stitch work.

Susanna had to bring me to see the yarns at the “Knit Stitch” booth. She had made a hat using some of their lovely hand-dyed yarn. I couldn’t resist this pink and lavendar yarn with it’s bit of sparkle, the color name is “Doodlebug”. I am planning to make myself a beautiful hat for next winter. I think it will look terrific with my silver hair.

A YarnFest tradition for me is to visit glass artist Jodie McDougall’s booth. She always has wonderful glass buttons and goodies. This year I had to adopt some adorable sheep earrings. I’ve been wearing them a lot since the festival. I especially love their little feet.

I was thrilled to see my friend Paula of KnitBaahPurl was at YarnFest again. I had to purchase one of her T-shirts for a new sleep Tee. I really loved this “now I lay me down to sheep” shirt, and it’s in a lovely lavender purple color.

Paula creates all sorts of fun sheep and yarn themed artwork that she sells on T-shirts, mugs, wine glasses, cards and other fun items. I especially love the ecumenical nature of most of her illustrations. No matter what your yarnie art…her artwork will fit the bill.

My final purchase of the day were some cute little stitch markers from the Longmont Yarn Shoppe booth. Who hasn’t played “yarn chicken” when finishing a project? The chicken may actually be inspiration for a crochet or needle felted sculptural piece in the future. I also found the little squirrel to be too cute to resist.

Looking back over all my goodies from YarnFest I’m realizing that I actually exercised some restraint. I stood strong against many of the temptations. Now I just need to crochet like the wind with all this yarn in my stash so I can get more yarn at the other Festivals and Conferences coming up.

In mid-June the Estes Park Wool Market will be here, that could be dangerous to my budget. I’m planning on joining some friends there to tour the vendor barn as well as check out the various critter barns.

The second week of July will be the CGOA conference, which includes a lovely boutique Marketplace. This year’s conference will mark the 25th anniversary of CGOA so there will be extra fun things happening there. If you haven’t had a chance to register for the show it isn’t too late. You can check it out at Crochet.org.

I hope to see some of you at a Festival or Conference this year. But even if you can’t join me at the ones I’m at, do a little research in your area to see if there is one going on near you. It’s a great place to meet fellow yarnies and take classes to expand your crafting skills.

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Learning More about Sheep

I’m headed off to the TNNA Summer Trade Show this coming weekend. In between all the fun of packing and preparing for the meetings I’ll be having at the show, I’ve been reading a book that I won at my first ever TNNA show. That was the Winter 2012 show in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is “The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook” written by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius. It is shock full of information especially from the standpoint of how various breeds of fiber animals fiber behaves in yarn and spinning. The first 30 pages are full of basic information on fiber and fiber animals.

Part 1 is all about Sheep and is divided by geographical region that the sheep are known for with breed specific sub-sections. Each breed specific section is really informative about the origin of the breed and the type of fiber that comes from that breed. There are photographic samples of the fiber; in both raw and cleaned form, a short length of hand spun, woven and knitted swatches, and sometimes multiple samples of carding and combing the fiber.

Following the specific sheep sections is Part 2, which deals with the other fiber creatures. It’s divided by critter sections: Goats, Goat crosses, Camelids (includes Alpaca & Llamas), Other Critters (Bison, Musk Ox, Rabbits, and Yak to name a few).

After my fun adventure with Margie’s herd last week I had wanted to learn more about the breed she is raising. She has CVM sheep, which is the abbreviation for California Variegated Mutant. A name for a geek to love. The CVM sheep are considered a Critical Conservation Breed. This means that there are not a lot of them around, keeping the breed going is important to maintain diversity in domestic sheep stocks. This is one of the reasons that Margie chose this breed of sheep for her herd.

Margie had told me a little about the breed, but I wanted to find out what their origin was. I knew I had tucked this book away on my reference shelf and am really glad I dug it out. I will be doing quite a bit of reading in this book the next couple of months. There is terrific information in there about sheep breeds, spinning and felting of fibers.

If you are interested in learning more about the fibers that go into your yarn or you like to spin your own yarn, this is a great book to have on your reference shelf.