Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fiber in the Park

Despite the cool, rainy day, I took the time to go to the 4th Annual Fiber in the Park ( festival in Earlville, IL. I've been attending this small gathering of fiber farmers for 3 years now and look forward to the opportunity to see (and feel) the wonderful handspun wool, alpaca and angora yarns that are raised here in Illinois.

I was specifically looking for a WPI tool (wraps per inch) and remembered that there were a couple of wood workers who particpate in this festival (one gentleman even makes spinning wheels). I found just what I was looking for at a booth where the husband makes guitars and ukeleles, then uses the special woods remnants to make shuttles, WPI tools, hand spinners, etc. He even puts a small hole in one end so that you can wear it like art when you aren't checking for the yarn weight of loose skeins of yarn! :)

I then spent a great deal of time talking to Sharon from Clearview Farms in Waterman, Illinois. She raises American Cormo sheep and the wool is beautifully white and so wonderfully soft. I was able to take home a piece of raw wool (full of lanolin -- I love it!) and she generously allowed me to take a sample of the spun Cormo yarn. Not enough to make anything, but I think I will take apart the thin scarf I made earlier this summer (from hand spun yarn that I bought at the Chaplin Creek Fiber Festival) and together with the Cormo yarn, I might be able to make something I can use (like wrist warmers or maybe hair scrunchies).

Sharon is a knitter and also teaches knitting and she tried very hard to convert me, but I've tried to knit and much prefer crochet - just a crochet girl all the way! :) Still, her knitted samples were gorgeous and I know she's just as passionate as I am.

I did see some wonderful chestnut brown Pygora wool blend yarn that I would have loved for a winter hat. The only problem was the cost (which was not out of line at all). I just couldn't justify $50 for a hat, even if it was as soft as silk and absolutely scrumptious! But I was good and only bought what I originally planned to buy.

If you have an opportunity to attend a local fiber festival, you owe it to yourself to go. These are local farmers who raise alpacas, sheep and rabbits for the wonderful fiber that they provide. Many of these farmers are enjoying the resurgence of the crochet / knit movement and they deserve our support.

Someday, I'll be able to afford to buy the glorious soft hand spun wools from these local fiber farmers and then I'll create a work of art!

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