Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fiber College on the Penobscot Bay

This weekend I went to "Fiber College!" It was held at a campground in Searsport, Maine, an absolutely beautiful spot, a little more than an hour's drive from my house, on an absolutely perfect day. I went by myself, which is a good thing, because I really don't have any local friends who would spend a whole day petting wool with me and I wanted to be able to spent as much time with the wool as I could. And wool there was! bags full, bins full, baskets full, and even real live wool walking around! It was fiber heaven! Above are some bins of carded bunny blend (50% angora and 50% wool).
Colorful bunnies - aren't they! Here are some in their natural state.

The owners assured everyone who asked that their bunnies are never killed or harmed for their wool, and by the way they cuddled them, talked to them, and called them by name, I can tell that is true. They are so cute and fluffy! I would have loved to take one home! Instead I settled for some bunny blend handspun yarn. It's enough to make a scarf - and it is so soft! I have to find the perfect pattern for it. And it was easy to tell that these 'dollies' were their owners babies! I even got to feed them - so cute!

Besides all of the wool and spun yarn, there were classes and demonstrations going on. I hadn't signed up for any of the classes, but did enjoy some of the demos, like the spinning wheel, which I got a chance to try - now that could be addicting! And relaxing!

I also tried spinning with a drop spindle, and although I was definitely all thumbs, I'm determined to learn how to do it with the spindle that Vicki sent me in my ITEIII package last year. I even bought a bag full of angora/wool blend carded wool to practice with.
This was carded on an electric carding machine. The colors in my bag aren't
showing up very well in the photo, but they are different shades of purple and blue.
At other demonstrations I learned about dyeing wool with acid dyes (I think I'll stick with Kool-aid, although the colors were beautiful), and about mixing colors, combining colors according to the color wheel, etc. There were also a needlefelting, beading, silk dyeing demonstrations, and weaving demonstrations. There were also handmade items for sale. One booth had felted hats for dolls - and they were adorable! Another had necklaces made with many strands of a boucle yarn all gathered into a clasp - they were really pretty and would be so easy and quick to make. Others had felted items, hats, scarves, gloves, etc.

My shopping goal was to find very soft, locally, handspun yarn, and after many trips around the booths these are the yarns I came up with. At the top is

the bunny blend yarn dyed in shades of mauve. The blue/green yarn is a silk/alpaca blend and about the softest yarn I have ever felt. It's 300 yards of lace weight, enough for a scarf.

Although my goal was to buy local handspun yarn, I fell in love with the yarn on the right. It's a hand painted Schaefer yarn, 95% wool and 5% nylon, called "Nancy." It's made in NY and each colorway is named after a memorable woman. Mine is named Renata Tebaldi, after an Italian opera singer.

It's a textured yarn and the sample shawl that was in the booth was gorgeous! It was pricey, but it's a 600 yard skein, and the shawl pattern was included. This is what it looks like wound - I can't wait to get started on the shawl to see what it looks like knit up.

It was really a wonderful day, and I plan to go again next year. Maybe I can entice a few of my blogging pals to come along with me?
Maine knitters (and spinners) are the friendliest people in the world - and September is a beautiful month in Maine!


Dandy said...

Oh my gosh... I'm so jealous!!!
that looks like loads (LOADS) of fun!!
I'm glad your trying out the spindle... can we see a pic??

I know how much you love to join swaps... I joined another one... the "Mitten Swap 3"

you twisted my arm so bad for the virtual I thought I'd twist yours a bit too. :)

arn't I

aksunflour said...

Oh! What fun!!!! Thank you for bringing along your camera! You might have gone alone- but now you are not. What a wondrous day.

Of course the bunnies weren't harmed... the angora's are brushed to get the fiber. (renewable- but an awful lot of work.)
Hmmm.... wonder if I can talk DH into bunnies? If he can have a whole music studio- I can at least get a spinning wheel.

Unknown said...


Fiber College! I love it! I'll have to check to see if we have anything around here like that.

By the way, my sister swears that her spinning wheel keeps her sane. Of course, her kids think its a riot that "she who could never get out of bed on time" is getting up between 5:00 and 5:30 to do some spinning before work!

Mary Lynn

AR said...

Ooh, pretty pictures! I finally tried the acid dyes, instead of just kool-aid, and it was just as easy. I just love color!

Looks like a lot of fun!

jopal said...

I have been luking on the Fiber College website for awhile. Haven't been able to make it there yet. Timiing always off. MAYBE I can get there next time.

Nancy @ the Jersey Shore said...

You have such great fibery stuff up there in Maine. I am envious.

jackie said...

what a delightful day! all of those different things to be able and to see, touch and become familiar with. what fun!

Bonnie O. said...

I bought some Schaefer yarn called Marjaana which had similar colorways. I purchased the one called Jane Addams - magenta, purple, blue and sage. It's gorgeous but I still don't know what to do with it!