Sunday, September 14, 2008

California Wool and Fiber Festival

Friday I hopped in my car, cranked up the music and hit the highway for a long drive to Boonville for the California Wool & Fiber Festival. In Marin it was foggy and crisp. I had no idea how much fun Hwy 128 would be in my Mini, half way between Cloverdale and Boonville the fog was breaking up with the promise of a beautiful day. Before I knew it I was at the Mendocino Fair Grounds. The roadway was lined with cars, so I parked in the paid parking area. Boonville is full of nice, cordial, smiling people, it was refreshing to know that less then two hours from the BayArea people are not in a hurry, more then willing to take the time to talk to you. It gave me the feeling of being far away from the busy suburban area in which I live .
Online the fiber festival did not mention, that is part of the County Fair! Cotton Candy,Corn Dogs and wine tasting I personally opted for a softy ice cream since it was sunny and warm.
I made my way to the building with the Fiber Vendors and the Fleece judging was under way.
Not that I know anything about raw fleece and how it is judged. I would assume staple length and texture have something to do with it. It was facinating to watch for a while, all smiles and seriousness. As a new spinner I am not ready to tackle a fleece, I leave that to those of you know what your looking for. So I walked around drooling over spinning wheels, touching fibers and watching the Owner of Merry Meadows Farm .... machine card fibers. I decided to purchased some of her Corriedale/Romney fibers. I have not spun this type of wool yet and it feels very soft, so I thought I would expand my knowledge of wools and what I like. I also purchased some Merino wool and Silk blend from CarolineHomespun , Morgaine is very nice! and the price was very resonable.
So off to class I went, there were 5 of us from Sacramento, Oxidental, Walnut Creek, Ornida and Novato. Two of the ladies had wheels and spun regularly, two had never spun before and recieved a quick lesson on a spindle.
Nancy Finn of Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks is great! I had so much fun in her class, she taught us all about silk and where it comes from. We went home with samples of different kinds.
We learned about coccons (sorry to any vegans who are reading) both wild and cultivated, Tussah Silk, and Silk Hankies. How to handle the hankies, dye them, what kind of dye to use and how to set the dye. I have not dyed silk before, so I found the class to be very informative. Dying the Hankies brought smiles all around. I was transported back to finger painting as a child.
I want to thank all the ladies in my class for a wonderful day, what a nice group of women! I apologize for the shaky group picture. The child within took over when I entered the fair and I did not eat lunch.

Next post will have some of the results of my dying, spinning and knitting with Nancy's fibers....

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