Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I should never shop alone

Whew! I'm still trying to catch my breath from the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair, and also to find places for everything I brought home.

Seriously, I thought I would shop so much less since I wasn't meeting up with Karen and her crew this time - you know, the more eyes you have, the more must-have stuff you spot, right? Not so. It turns out that when I am alone I am even more likely to chat with people I don't already know, and whether it's somebody with a great thing to sell or somebody with a great insight into buying, I am always interested.

Which sort of explains why I went to the Fair hoping to pick up a little more fiber to spin, and came home with this:

I just couldn't help myself.

Let's start in the top left corner with the fiber I spotted immediately after passing and then walking back to a booth selling undyed 100% cashmere fiber for $44 a bag. I know this was a good deal, and if it hadn't been my very first stop of the day I would have gone for it, but at the time I still had self-restraint and remembered the beautiful blue $3 cashmere sweater sitting on my dryer waiting to be unraveled or sewn with. Plus I don't think my spinning skills are really ready for cashmere. Yet.

The point is, when you've walked away from a chance like that and toward Pygora Fiber mixed with just enough merino wool for memory and it feels like heaven and costs in the $25 range, you're going to say Yes Please, immediately. (isn't it beautifully white? And seriously, so soft. I can't wait to get working with it.)

While I was paying for the Pygora, the first lot of door prize winners was announced and guess who was in the mix? Yes! And as one so often hears in such situations, I never ever win things, so it was extra exciting. I chose a gift certificate for The Yarn Source and spent a happy hour browsing my way toward its booth, where I found the colourful bump of fiber across the front of the basket. It's a whopping 250g of Polwarth, and I love these colours, and I got wonderful advice while paying for the part of it that the gift certificate didn't cover:

If I tear it into long strips (and don't break them), then label and bag them such that I start spinning from the same place in every strip, and ply them the same way, I will get self-striping yarn.

I am absolutely going to try this, and if I botch horribly I will still have something beautifully variegated, so it will still be okay.

Here I must pause and point out that while I did walk away from The Yarn Source at this time, I also went back, so as to buy this Tabachek spindle:

I've been wanting a spindle with extra detail on the bottom for better traction when I start it spinning, and this one just feels wonderful. I am really, really happy to have it. By which I mean it is an effort to be typing this right now and not sitting in a pile of fiber with it.

I guess we're going counterclockwise so I will tell you next about the yellow-hued fiber, which blends mostly wool with a little Husky fur. Now, I've read about the whole idea of yarn blended with dog fur but not having a dog myself I have not been overwhelmed by any urgency to try it. Until I visited the Frog Pond Collective's booth, that is, and was shown samples of how dog fur puffs out after blocking.

Let's just say it's pretty. Also, very soft. And also, apparently, incredibly warm. Sold.

One of the last places I visited, because it was the second last booth on my circuit and not because I wasn't looking for it, was Wellington Fibres. If you go to Ontario knitting shows you'll know Wellington - they always have a compelling display of small, nondescript brown boxes with enticingly beautiful clouds of colour peeping out of the top. Of course, not being a spinner, I always just gawked and walked, but now that I know how to work a spindle I really wanted a box of my own. In the end I chose not a box but a ziploc bag of happiness - the exact shade of green I want for the handspun Fair Isle hat I plan to make when I finally come up with enough smooth yarn for it. The label says 'carded wool'; my hand says 'soft'. I don't know when I'll find out what the spindle says, because, um, that is a lot of fiber in that basket.

And it's still not everything! But it's enough for one day, I think. I'll tell you more tomorrow, and maybe even post my pictures of the Knit Bridge. Ha!


heklica said...

Wow, this is great! I wish there were low cost flights to Canada :)

Kathleen Taylor said...

Woohoo! I've not spun dog hair either, but I've seen it in yarn form, and it halos out just like angora rabbit. I can't wait to see what you make with all your treasures.