Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Still no word on my lost fleece. I am going to hold out hope.
In the meanwhile, here's a photo of 2lbs of Rambouillet wool that was used in a demonstration done by the talented Linda Dewey of Lonesome Stone Fiber Mill. This 21? micron fleece from Colorado, in the grease, is just so amazing that I had to come home with some. Even though Linda doesn't usually sell raw fleece, she understood my weak in the knees expression and helped me out!

There will be be photos and more stories of Taos. I promise. Just as soon as I can get the film to the developer. (yes, I still use a film camera sometimes.) In the meanwhile...

You might wonder what the logistics for these book research trips are like. At this point, the professor and I have done about 8 of them. We have two more to go. I say "about" because some of the travelling becomes fuzzy. In order to make everything run smoothly, I do a ton of research. Where is the festival? What's close by? How much is a hotel room? What's there to eat in the area? Which airport should we fly into, or is it close enough for driving? This is all information that most people know about their regional festival, but we're travelling all over the country. Every time, it's also ...Who will care for the dogs? What about the mail? It's like planning for a weekend trip away--but in October, we'll do it three times.

Before the trip, I print mapquest directions for every step of the way, and I also bring old fashioned maps and even AAA guides. We print out boarding passes and keep all the paperwork in one place. We pack--and that includes the professor's cameras, two laptops (one for writing, one for photography downloading) and all sorts of emergency provisions. Rain coat, granola bars, extra batteries, you name it, we hope we have it. (and of course, two knitting projects, spindles, numerous books and work to keep us busy on planes.)

When does the writing and photography take place? We try to get to the festival bright and early the first day, and the professor shoots photos most of the day while I do research, collecting information, taking notes, talking to people and ...animals...and soaking in the experience. I sometimes get to meet friends, too. By the end of the first day, we are both exhausted...and sometimes we've travelled around the area to be thorough, if the festival's location, like Taos, is also fiber-rich. We retreat to a hotel room after dinner and begin work, usually around 7 pm, and we start out the day at roughly 6-7 AM. It's a long day.

I write a rough draft. The professor starts downloading hundreds of photos, so he can have empty memory cards for the next day. We compare results. Does he have photos of this? Should I mention X? We plan for what to do Sunday, how long to stay at the festival before going back to the airport, or what else must be covered to give a thorough accounting of the event and the experience. If it's a one day event, we hope we got it all, because there's no going back!

After the long trip home, we try to pick up our dogs if we've kenneled them or relieve the dog sitter. We start doing laundry. We sleep. I am usually exhausted the next day, so when the professor goes right back to his teaching schedule, I collect receipts and business cards, try to finish up laundry, run errands, get that back up film developed, and get us back to a regular routine. I'm usually too tired to do substantial writing on the Monday or Tuesday after a trip..in fact. a blog entry and some catch up email might be all I can do.

I'll leave you with a couple more treats from the trip. We stopped by the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center and I wish I lived close by so I could be a member. It's a non-profit organization. Instead, I bought a couple kinds of exotic yarns to try out--hemp and nettle-- and a skein of Joseph Galler Cashmere/Wool yarn. The Galler yarn was in a sale bin, where members dump stash odds and ends. I got this particular skein for 4 cents.

At the Taos Festival, I saw Lisa Joyce's fleecespun
and I had to have it. Spun on a Rio Grande Wheel, these are naturally dyed yarns as thick as a finger. The luster and locks are incredible, because they come from Myrtle Dow's Wensleydale cross flock from Black Pines Sheep. With wines, one talks about microclimate and Terroir. The same might be said about some of the arts and fiber I saw in New Mexico. More soon.

PS: Stay tuned! I am part of Donna Druchunas' blog book tour! I'll be posting her guest column on Friday, October 12th.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings, just "googling" and trying to find any interested party who might spin a bit of fur from my beloved dog. Would like to make something from it. Thanks for reply to arbyus22@yahoo.com.

October 9, 2007 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

I've emailed you a suggestion or two...Unfortunately I've had some bad asthma attacks from spinning other folks' dog fur so I can only suggest others who are custom spinning professionals. However, if there's anyone reading here who'd like to help, please feel free to email this person.

October 9, 2007 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing about your work in progress. it is truly inspiring.

October 9, 2007 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

The fiber and yarns are gorgeous. I cannot believe the sheen of the Wensleydale, unbelievable!!!! Glad you guys had a good time, man that is a bunch of work.

October 9, 2007 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger SueJ said...

What an interesting read! Thank you!

October 10, 2007 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

The fleecespun yarn looks interesting and certainly pretty, but I wonder how one would use yarn as thick as a finger? It looks pretty substantial in the photo.

What were your thoughts after seeing it in person?

October 20, 2007 at 9:51 AM  

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