It had been ages since I'd been to Kid n' Ewe (and Llamas Too). (They spell it "Lamas," but that just doesn't seem right.) I went once with my Mom when I was in college. I wasn't into my knitting at that point, but I still enjoyed it. Now that I've gotten back into, it was a whole new experience.
Last Saturday (I know, I'm just getting around to blogging about it) I got on the road to Boerne, Texas at 10:30-ish. I didn't get there until about 12:30, but I think it was worth it to be well rested. I debated taking a class (Sandra Singh actually invited me to take a dyeing class with her at 9 a.m., but I would have had to get up at 6 a.m. to make it there in time.) I actually brought my acrylic collection in case I decided to take a freeform knitting class. Ultimately, I decided to spend the day just wandering.
I decided that I was going to see every booth before I bought anything. This bison yarn (yak yarn?) from Buffalo Gold was tempting, but expensive. I think this skein was in the $60 range. (The sign is advertising the tiny little samples of pure fiber.) Ultimately, I'm glad I resisted. I wouldn't have had any money left for anything else.
Originally, I was going to go with the group from Meetup, but not enough people responded to get enough money for a van. However, I still managed to run into a bunch of people I know from Meetup and other knitting groups. It was like we had planned it, although we didn't.
Anyway, I ran into Suna, who was wearing the Surplice Lace Top I'm dying to make. So I had to take a picture.
Jojoland had a lot of great patterns, including this one for the Whirly Gig blanket. I'm not much for buying pattern these days, but I bought this one.
I deserve a medal for not coming home with an Angora rabbit. But at least I got to pet one. (There were more for sale outside. Poor guys looked hot.)
I got to pet the alpacas too. They had an entire room dedicated to alpaca fiber this year. It was good timing, because Jules was excited about his alpaca scarf, and now I have some good pictures of actual alpacas to show him. (A few days before the show, Jules told me he didn't realize that alpacas were animals.)
So I'm confused about Suri alpaca now. If it's so much smoother than regular alpaca, how come Suri alpaca yarn is always so fluffy? (See this yarn and this yarn.) It must be the brushing.
This is the judging of the Cashmere goat show. I got to pet one of these too (although it wasn't one in the show.)
At one of my knitting groups we starting talking about Cashmere, and realized none of us really knew much about it. Now I got it. They are called Cashmere goats because the are from Cashmere (or Kashmir?) They are sheared for the most part. (Small time owners may brush the fiber out by hand.) The reason it's so expensive is because of the amount time it takes to process and clean the fiber. (Also, the equipment needed to process it is very expensive.)
Here are some sport weight singles (I believe that means one ply) from Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool. They had all sorts of beautifully dyed yarn.
Yes, I bought fiber. No, I don't know how to spin yet. I bought this black alpaca fiber from Fantasy Farms. At $5 for four ounces, it was a good deal. I also bought some tan fiber for my Mom. (Actually, we debated who would take which color, and I ended up with the black, like I'd originally planned.) Here is the black being measured out.
Ok, I was really excited about this purchase. It's alpaca yarn from Hill Country Alpacas, and it's from Stonewall Jaxon, the prize winning alpaca himself. It's awesome! I'm debating what to knit out of it. There is a couple of hundred yards here. I wonder if I can order some more.
There is more about Stonewall, including all his awards, here.
Few people could pass up Brooks Farm's yarn. I want to buy more from them. Too bad you can't order Solana online.
Back to the spinning thing. I'm working on that. I did a little spinning last January, with Mom's help, but haven't touched it since.
I decided it was time to get my own drop spindle. I ran into Ana, who is an experienced spinner, and she recommended Hokett Would Work. His spindles were weighted, not to mention beautiful. When things settle down in January, I'll get to actually using it.
Mr. Hokett makes all his own stuff. He has even spun a little, so he was able to help me make a selection.
Of course, I didn't want to start spinning with alpaca right away. I went on the search for wool. I suddenly realized how hard it is to find fiber that is not in roving form. In fact, I didn't even see hand cards for sale (those were on my shopping list as well.) Mom taught me to card rolags, and it makes more sense. The fiber is already in a circle, ready for spinning. My guess is that roving is easier to market and package (and you can dye it in a specific pattern.)
It occurred to me later that I could have just bought roving and hand carded it. But I did find some wool at Marsh Mellow Meadows, a business out of Louisiana. I asked what they recommended for beginners in non-roving form, and they said I should try their Romney wool.
. They had it died in all sorts of colors. I chose "Bunny" and "Lacey." At first I thought those were the names of the colorways, but it turns out those are the names of the sheep.
I must include the steal of the day. I was determined not to leave the show without some handspun yarn. I found a few hanks by a woman named Mary Dawn Cole. This is wool with some tinsel mixed in for fun. When I saw the price tag said $5.50, I thought I must have been reading it wrong. But Ms. Cole said she had just managed to spin a few before the show, but didn't get to measure for yardage or label them properly. So she priced them low. Really low.
Finally, this sock yarn is from Knitting Fairy (aka And Then She Dyed.) It is enough for two socks, each with three fat stripes in pink, purple and turquoise. I couldn't resist.
If you want to see even more pictures, look at my Flickr set from Kid n' Ewe.