Thursday, October 7, 2010

Festival of wool, Taos style

Taos, New Mexico. The Wool Fest. The crowning touch to a perfect weekend.

It's no mistake that I chose this photo, with the Brooks Farm booth in it. I would have bought something from them. I certainly planned to, as soon as I saw their name on the vendor list. Instead, I looked at the animals.

There was a really amazing looking llama in the stall with this one.

His hair was so nicely combed out that his mane looked about 2-foot long. However, the closer I got to him with the camera, the louder he hummed. When he escalated it to something akin to a growl, I gave up. Really, I've heard alpacas hum during shows and I know it is a sound they make when nervous or distressed. I've never heard a llama make a sound, though. The few I've come in contact with seem eager and friendly, or at least curious and hungry.

There was a fellow (the keeper or owner of this animal, I assumed)standing by the stall who found it very funny. He and I were both laughing, but really, I didn't want to provoke the beast further. Llamas can be nasty mean if they want. I certainly didn't want to get spit on. Maybe he's the reason I didn't buy any llama yarn.

There was plenty to be had.

Here's what I did buy. There's Elsa Wool, which is cormo, a single hank of single-spun natural alpaca I couldn't pass by, and a pile of yarn from Cat Mountain, a vendor I first found during the wet, very wet, Fiber Festival at Pagosa Springs, Co. My success in finding Kimberly landed me another hank of sock yarn, as well as a more luxurious hank of sock yarn with cashmere in it, and a loop of Hand Painted Fusion, 100 yards each of 7 different yarns, all hand dyed in a single batch.

This should be very fun to play with. I tried to pick one with only three colors in it, so the pooling will be more controlled. The last bit I bought was pure fun. I picked a variety of colors from the odds and ends baskets at Lisa Joyce Designs. I've wanted some of these locks ever since I first saw them at MDSW.

I skipped buying them then because I had no idea how I use them. I'm still not sure, but these are spun a bit into lengths of curly yarn. Perhaps I'll find them easier to use. I was also tickled to get the Ravelry pin.

One final link--I saw a wonderful shawl at the Brooks Farm booth. There was a tremendous line. I didn't want to use up shopping time waiting to buy one pattern (and maybe a little yarn), but I've found it on line. It's by the Knitting Fairy, the Triple S shawl. I think it would be a great way to mix up sock or lace weight yarns.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Every knitter needs

Here are a couple more of my recent acquisitions, one won and one bought--

I settled on a yellow sock yarn, Sunlight in the Simply Socks Simply Solids for yet another (how generous) prize in Elinor's Socks Revived Contest. I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's a match for my latest sweater, it's incredibly soft, it's calling me to knit. Too bad I have so much else going on. It will be knit soon, though. Thanks, Allison! I love it. In fact, I'll likely look there for my next solid sock yarn purchase, especially since I got the color card in my order.

Snuggled next to it is the latest, least-techy row counter ever. I was absolutely set on buying a counter for multiple-chart projects, expecting I'd settle on an electronic gadget of some type. Then I read the reviews. I decided that IF I'm knitting a complex cabled item, one that usually has me using 3 different row counters (and struggling to remember if the red one is for the first chart and the green one for the third, or vice-versa), I don't need to worry about how to use a complex electronic gadget as well. Not that I couldn't handle it, really. But the kicker is that I'm not sure how I'd mark which chart goes with which count, and the gadgets don't hold a count very well if they get bumped in a tote bag.

Then I found this basic, simple, easy-to-use counter. It's designed, I think, for machine knitters, but I've already found it easily adaptable. With this goody, I might even be able to dispense with my pages of hand-written row counts I use to track increases and decreases.

Thanks, Mariette!

That's the commercial break for this month. Knitting will resume with the next post. I hope.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Train your knitting

When we started our weekend early, leaving Friday morning and heading south, we didn't know there was a little surprise waiting down the road. At first I thought there was a wreck or a fire.

By a miracle of timing, we made it to the small Colorado town of Antonito just as the train was leaving the station. I was thrilled to see it, especially since I've been considering booking a ride on it. Seeing it in motion will help motivate me to make that trip, especially if I can manage it during the peak of autumn color.

This is the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a coal-fired, narrow-gauge train that travels through the Toltec Gorge and over the Cumbres pass to Chama, New Mexico. We'd planned to drive through this isolated area in southern Colorado to get a final glimpse of fall color.

Make that a final pow of fall color. The river valley was gorgeous.

The entire Conjeos Canyon was filled with gorgeous-ness. Then, while we were stopped near the pass (to admire yet one more breath-taking view), I heard a faint whistle in the wind.

The train caught up with us. That was the last we saw of it, though. It was on its way to a lunch stop at Osier. We were on our way to lunch in Chama. After a filling meal of tacos and quesadillas, we continued to our destination. You can bet there was wool involved.

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