02 November 2016

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair 2016

The end of October means time for SAFF! This year, I taught Thursday through Saturday. That meant I had Sunday free to crawl the market.

I checked out the fleece sale on Friday before I left for dinner. I knew I wanted some locks for lockspinning, corespinning, and just general art yarn mischief. The best fleeces get picked out early; and there are unusually fewer longwool fleeces from the start. Fleeces were arranged in the barn by type of animal (goat, alpaca, and sheep) and then in categories. Wool categories included fine, medium, long, and primitive. There was also a table in the corner for "other." These are fleeces that don't fit well into the established categories. Some people feel very strongly that shepherds should not mix up sheep genes willy-nilly. Others feel this type of cross-breeding experimentation is just more of what humans have been doing for millennia. I don't have a strong opinion. I wouldn't care if you crossed a balrog with a unicorn. If it produced a great fleece and was a happy animal, it's all good from my perspective. On the "other" table I found a beautiful fleece from Cher, an Icelandic Cotswold cross ewe whose home is Dry Creek Sheep of Sugar Grove, Virginia.

Cher in 2015.
Photo credit: Susan Hmurciakova of Dry Creek Sheep.

Cher's 2016 fleece.
Photo credit: Susan Hmurciakova of Dry Creek Sheep.

Cher's fleece was not judged this year. She won third place last year. This is definitely an art yarn spinner's fleece. There are two different types of locks. Her fleece has some Cotswold-like locks that are tight waves, lustrous, darker grey at the cut end fading to pale at the tips. There are also some Icelandic-like locks that are more wire-y with a gentle wave, black-brown at the cut end fading to light brown at the tips. And there is some rough but bouncy and shorter dark fiber. Then again, I haven't scoured the fleece yet; it may soften. This is a fleece that will definitely need to be sorted by hand, all 5 pounds (over 2 kilograms) of it! My housemates looked aghast when I said I might overdye. With this much, I am sure there will be enough fiber for both natural and dyed spinning.

And Sunday I shopped the market. I really do need more adult supervision.

The bottle of Power Scour is, of course, for the fleece. I also found another Japanese stitch dictionary to add to my library. And I found the smaller lace-size Fix-a-Stitch. Galina's video is about using intarsia in traditional Russian lace. The wooden box is from Knitting Notions. It is well-made and designed. It even has a small magnet to keep the lid from opening accidentally. In a home with cats, this is a nice way to keep a special skein safe while you work. The wolf in sheep's clothing felted ornament is from Lanart. They carry beautiful garments made from alpaca. I've seen this ornament before and always resisted because I don't know what I will do with it. I still don't know, but this time I decided I should indulge!

The last place I shopped was Hillcreek Fiber Studio. Someone in the workshop barn was playing with a 12-inch square "potholder" loom earlier in the weekend. She was making a block that had a diagonal line across the middle. I purchased the Mini Module set, which is a square and a triangle that are 6 inches on a side. I also purchased the great tome of continuous strand weaving and a locker hook. Carol Leigh has done a tremendous job promoting this type of weaving. I tried couple quick swatches yesterday; and I am already fascinated by this method. It is fast, fun, and with little waste. This would be a great way to use up leftovers and spinning samples. With the mini set, there are quite a few quilt patterns that can be reproduced in weaving. Adding color changes within the weaving, there is even more to explore. And the book has many, many ideas for projects. This rabbit hole has potential!


Laura Brown said...

I love the square and triangular looms. They might be fun for the kids.

Jolie said...

Yes, they would be. I picked up some multi-colored worsted-weight acrylic at Michael's the other day. I'm having fun just making squares. I did page through a couple quilt books, and there are a variety of patterns using the square and matching triangle. Hillcreek also sells a 12-inch square potholder loom, which would pair well. I find I can work a 6-inch square in under an hour. Good for crafting in front of the television.