I spent most of today out in Livermore at Retzlaff Winery with my awe-inspiring fiber-shopping buddy. It was good times from beginning to end. Starting with getting to park down the rows of the vineyard:
I had been to the winery before and was curious about how they would handle parking.
We got there right at the beginning, because the shopping buddy wanted to get some fleeces from Janet Heppler, and the best ones were sure to go fast. Sure enough, she snatched up two really lovely fleeces -- one of them one the sort of fleece that even people who don't know how to check a fleece look at and know is good stuff. That's Janet in the blue shirt, shopping buddy kneeling down (to write a check, not to be knighted), with the two fleeces beside her.
As she was dropping the fleeces off with a processor to get them cleaned and into a spinnable form, I noticed this:
4 lbs. of Teeswater wool, washed and ready to prep. So I bought it. That's enough for a couple of sweaters.
There were many many kinds of fiber there, some less tempting than others. I know wool spins up to look quite different from how it looks as fiber, but there was something about this one that was less than inspiring. It did make me kind of want some cotton candy, though.
Also represented were some vendors with stuff other than wool, like the ubiquitous Carolina Homespun. I had thought I might look at spindles and maybe get some carders, but I'm happy with the spindle I'm working with now and I'm still dithering over carders since I don't know how to judge them except by weight.
I also tried the Schacht Ladybug wheel there, and it was nice. Not, like, save me a couple hundred bucks on a spinning wheel nice, but I'd spin on that nice.
After a while most people slowed down on hitting the booths (and the very best fleeces sold out), and we settled into a large group of spinners.
I decided against lugging my wheel along, and brought the merino/silk I've been working on. I've been being all anal about cop formation on this spindleful, and it's very gratifying. A layer of parallel wrapping all nice and tight, then a layer of criss-crossing to lock it into place. It's working very nicely for me, with only one small collapse that I could have avoided (I unwound the cop onto my hand to the point of collapse, then fixed it). I admit that most of this spinning was done on Thursday at a class about solar water heating, but I did make some progress today.
At the end of the day, the shopping buddy finally decided to get one of those nifty sheepskins she'd been ogling all day. She really wanted the goat, but it was not washable because of how it had been processed. So sheepskin it was. She loves it. Her cats will loooooooove it.
She and I also split a grey Pygora fleece. This is my half, about 17 oz. It's marvellous stuff, soft and lush and curly.
And I got a couple of alpaca second cuts (not the same as sheep second cuts; they're shorter but still workable). In all I brought home the Pygora plus these:
Clockwise from upper left, that's 16 oz. of white alpaca, 16 oz. of black alpaca, and the Teeswater.
I think I'm set for fiber for a while now.
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