- The Festival -
- The Goodies -
- The Results -
Ok, you made it through the pictures; now onto the text! This past weekend was Minnesota's largest fiber festival Shepard's Harvest and needless to say I was very excited to go. It was my first time attending and boy was it a wonderful experience. It will definitely be an annual pilgrimage for me and my family. There were beautiful alpacas, goats, sheep and of so soft bunnies (I could just kick myself for forgetting to take some pics of the angora rabbits they were so beautiful. Sam held one too.) There were hand knitters, machine knitters, spinners with drop spindles, spinners with spinning wheels (there was even one of these great wheels being demoed) basket makers, tons of vendors, lovely musicians and yummy not so good for you Fair food. Lots of demos were happening all weekend: spinning, sheep dog herding, sheep and alpaca shearing and machine knitting to name a few. Crafts were available too for those families so inclined as well as many, many classes (which you need to sign up for months in advance - note to self for next year.) Ah, it was lovely.
My new friend Mary Lou of Angora Gardens even displayed some of my knitted bunny and cat children's toys (for which I use her yarns) with her fabulous angora products at the festival. She did a little post about me too on her blog. Here is a picture she took with one her baby angoras. She titled it "Real or Imposter?"
She had bigger bunnies ready for adoption at the Fair and my son Sam was itching to take one of the black ones home. We're considering it and may be making a farm visit to adopt one.
After perusing all the the many vendors I made a few purchases. From Golden Meadow Alpacas from Lewis Minnesota I bought 5 sport weight skeins of natural colored alpaca yarn. My original intent was to find Shetland yarn to make this Kate Davies hat which requires 9 different shades, but alas no Shetland was to be found. So, I "made do", if you can call this beautiful alpaca yarn making do, with only 5 shades of 100% alpaca yarn (I wanted more colors but the price of full skeins multiplied by 9 was a bit too cost prohibitive for me.) Then to satisfy my spinning urge I purchased 2 buttery soft balls of angora and alpaca roving from Three Sisters Farm and Fiber from Winona Minnesota. There was quite a lot of alpaca at the festival, which makes me think they must be well suited to our crazy climate of freezing winters and hot humid summers.
Of course upon arriving home I quickly abandoned my current knitting project to knit with these new yarns. Such a fickle woman am I. I tried stranded mittens for the first time using this Knitting Traditions pattern. It calls for eight colors so I had to modify it a bit, but I don't think using only 5 colors detracted one bit from the outcome. I'm very pleased with the results to say the least. Although I did pull my strands a bit tight in places, even with knitting them inside out to keep them loose, the blocking seems to have eased the yarn tension sufficiently. The only bummer is the thumb is a tad bit short, but still wearable. I was suspicious it would be (I have long thumbs), but then it seemed like it was going to be ok, but then it wasn't. Trust your intuition Ann! I'm hopeful that the yarn will stretch a bit with use. I know I could always undo the thumb and add more rounds, but that sounds too daunting to do with stranded knitting so I'm just going to leave it as is. Now to get going on the second mitten, then maybe a matching Scottish tam and cowl? Hmm...so much for summer tops.