Walking into the front door and not seeing our booth there was very nostalgic. I still feel I made the right decision not to vend anymore, and feel full of possibilities of things to try with this fiber hobby. There is no way around missing the fun parts though of what we had done all those years.
Friday evening is a great time to go. There are still very few crowds on Friday evening, so shopping is a pleasure. I could spend as much time talking to those friends as I wanted without the distraction of customers, theirs or mine! Most of these friends I only see once a year. There were some surprises. Nancy of Sheep Street has moved from her main street store location in Morgantown, and bought acreage. Her store is on the farm and they now have over 50 sheep of various breeds. A rabbit breeder friend is selling all her rabbits this spring and her farm and moving to Tennessee. Several long time vendors like me, called it quits this year. New vendors take their place, and the number of them continue to grow. Greencastle is a serious fiber fair and worth anyone's time to visit.
I walked all three vending areas twice. I never got to do that before. Here's a picture of my best find:
Jacob lamb fleece
The picture really can not do justice to how lovely this little Jacob lamb fleece looks and feels. I do not plan to try and separate the colors at all, just spin it by the washed handfuls and make a yarn full of that tweedy goodness. Although the cut area sitting on top in the photo is very distinctly black and white, the locks of fiber all go from a very white tip to brown to gray. There's no real hint of that distinct black and white when one looks at the lock as a whole. It's going to be very interesting to watch the yarn develope as I spin.
Here's a picture of a lock. It's about 4 inches in length (sorry I forgot to put a ruler next to it).
I bought two books, Cat Bordhi's A Treasury of Magical Knitting and Galina Khmeleva's The Gossamer Webs Design Collection. I was looking at that last night, and I love the dictionary of motifs that this book includes. She shows them as squares with the motifs in the center, and I just thought what a lovely afghan could be made, say in baby weight yarn for a little baby girl, using these motif squares. Of course the shawls are always stunning and a goal for me is to knit one someday.
And for a lack of anything else to call it, my husband and I both got Jensen spinning wheel fever. I saw the wheels briefly last year, and of course had no time to really look at them. This year I was invited to take off my shoes and try one, so I sat down at the $1500 production wheel. It was double treadle, something I had always thought I would not like. It's big, something else I had avoided in wheels. But it was smoooooth, silent, and just absolutely lovely to spin. I felt I was sitting just a bit too low, but that would be a matter of the right chair, since I had to use what they had in the booth. The wheels are made of solid cherry, and are as beautiful as any good piece of furniture.
What surprised me was how taken my husband was with the wheels. I expected a response of, oh you have three wheels already! That fact was never mentioned, only talk of family heirlooms
Last stop before heading home was to pick up fiber from Wooly Knob Fiber Mill. I had taken two fleeces to them at the SWIFT meeting and they brought the processed fiber to Greencastle. Mine and a whole trailer full of other peoples! It saves on shipping though, and I still stand by my opinion of the quality of their processing. Both fleeces were turned into lovely roving. One was a Black Welsh Mountain lamb's fleece that feels lovely and looks so rich and black. The second was a dark brown Rambo, a ram's fleece but still very soft and lovely. I had processed some of both of these fleeces at home and was having problems getting the lanolin out with just my routine washing process. There is just no comparison to having a fiber mill do that washing for you, with their super hot water the fiber comes clean and soft. To then have it turned into a roving that practically spins itself, is the icing on the cake.