My BFF and I went to the Estes Park Wool Market on Sunday.
It was a cold, rainy and muddy day. Fortunately most of the show was under cover.
Sheep to Shawl:
We saw a few teams competing in the sheep to shawl competition. Each team came with a warped loom and washed fleece. During the show, they had to card, spin and weave their project. These teams were working furiously to finish their projects so we watched mostly and didn't talk to them too much.
There were 3-4 spinners making yarn for one weaver. Each team had a drum carder, bags of fleece and a poster board describing the team.
I like this type of competition because you can see most of the process right there in a small space. It was a great way to show my friend how wool becomes a finished object.
One of the teams had a Nadeau "Hand Skill" loom. It was built in about 1950 and was used entirely by hand.
The shed is changed via this wheel with the pegs on it. It was quite the curiosity and looked more like an old plumbing fixture than a tool used to make fabric.
I didn't realize there would be so many animals at the wool market.
We saw many different kinds of sheep. I don't remember what breeds they all were... I know we saw some Corriedale, Romney and CVD (but I don't know what that stands for).
This was the biggest sheep I had ever seen...
...until I saw this guy.
I wish the livestock pens had been labeled with the breeds but I did recognize the Jacob, Navajo-Churro and Baby Doll sheep right away.
We saw Yaks and Rabbits.
There were also a few breeds of goats.
One of the nannys looked like she was going to kid any day. We could see the babies moving around and her udders were quite full.
The Cashmere Goat show was going on while we were there.
Finally, we saw Paco-Vicunas, Alpacas and a lady walking three Llamas.
In the vendor's tent we talked with many artisans and proprietors, touched lots of raw fleece, rovings and yarn.
We saw beautiful hand painted rovings, yarns and finished objects. We saw fiber related tools and some very interesting textiles.
We even talked with a member of the famed Vigil family of weavers from Chimayo, NM. I didn't realize who she was until we left. Their rugs were fantastic.
I picked up a few rovings and promised my BFF that I would spin and knit her a hat from any roving she wanted, so she selected this beautiful hand-painted Bamboo/Merino roving.
I love being able to browse and touch everything, as well as talking with the shop keepers and farmers about their products and the animals they come from.
Aside from being able to handle all of the fleece, yarn and textiles, one of my favorite things was to be able to show my friend the Navajo-Churro Sheep in full fleece, then show her raw and washed bagged fleece then finally the finished Rio Grande style rugs woven by members of the Vigil weavers from Chimayo, NM.
While we never did see the tops of the mountains, we did (finally) get to see the Colorado Blue Sky.
Sunday was an absolutely wonderful day. I sure wish every day could be all about fiber.