Monday, March 26, 2007

Somewhere there is a pack of naked baby alpacas...

...because I have a mountain of baby alpaca wool in my living room!

I’m still recovering from this Saturday’s Nanaimo Fibre Swap and Sale. Despite a mix-up with the newspaper listing and some very wet and dreary weather, the fiber event was a huge success. I was there early to help set-up and I swear the place was packed with eager fiber shoppers a good half an hour before the actual start time. It was steady for most of the 4 hour event! From equipment to books to fleece to yarn to finished textiles, there was something for everyone.

Hello to everyone that stopped by the 100 Mile Diet & Fiber table. It was a wonderful morning and afternoon and I got to meet folks from all the Vancouver Island.

As expected, there was a plethora of local fiber producers selling their lovely wares. I made a pact with myself that I would only buy local fleece. Considering that there were some absurdly good deals on yarn at some of the tables, I’m amazed at my own willpower;)

I have a grand old plan to see a 100 Mile Fiber project through from carding to spinning to knitting on my own buy the end of this spring. I couldn’t have asked for more at this fair. There were vendors from all over the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island region. There was an incredible range of local fibers and considering how affordable the raw material was compared to buying it at the store, I couldn’t resist. Despite the big pile of treasures that I managed to acquire, my wallet actually was still quite healthy and full afterwards (thanks goodness!).

Even before the starting bell is rung...

Local soft...sigh

I got 14oz of unwashed Lincoln fleece for a buck!!!

Washed Romney - a big old box for $5!!!

4 lbs Hampshire washed for $10.

I figure once I manage to card and spin this batch, I'll be a decent spinner. Knock on wood.

I also picked up a drum carder for $25!! Considering that even used drum carders can usually cost a couple hundred dollars, I was practically doing cartwheels down the aisle. At the end of the day, one of the vendors gave me a pair of used hard carders. I will try not to brag too much of my good luck for it may taunt the knitting gods to smite me with carpal tunnel syndrome or to curse my stitch markers to move about when I’m not looking. I’ll just go into my corner and do a little happy dance.

I was very much tempted to pick up a loom for a song and dance. Until I manage to figure out how to fold space or at least get one of those Narnia wardrobes, I'm going to have to hold off on it. I don't have any room for it considering that any spare space is now being taken by a growing stash of fleece which barely fits beside my overstuffed stash of yarn.

I’m not the only one that got a great deal in equipment A friend of mine also picked up a swift for $15 and bobbin winder for even less. These fiber fairs are a great place to pick up equipment for the novice. I also love the idea of reusing and passing on equipment so it doesn’t end up in the landfill.

I got to wear my Arachne capelet that day. I would get a photo of me in it but there’s never anyone to take photos of me when I’m wearing my stuff. Why is that?

Anyways, I love it. It’s made with local alpaca (chocolate brown and teal). The gold is wild silk dyed by Gabriola weaving goddess, Trish Moon. I adore alpaca. I was stroking my capelet all day long. A few others joined in the tactile pleasure too ;)

The all-over design is my own. The patterns I used was classic paired falling leave for the bottom teal border. The chocolate lace was intended to look like the leaves of wolfbane/aconite, the plant that Athena used to turn Arachne into a spider. They are variations upon Barbara Walker's smocked lace.

The Arachne spider is also Barbara Walkers'. (Hey, you might as well borrow from the jedi). It the Spider pattern in Charted Knitting Designs. I just used 2 yarns to make the pattern 'pop' and made some minor changes to make it fit better in the overall design. It’s a nice project for someone who’s looking for a bit of twist stitch fun!

BTW, Trish Moon’s naturally dyed yarns are now available at Nanaimo’s favorite LYS, Mad About Ewe. They also brought in some gorgeous local alpaca yarn from Qualicum Beach.

I look forward to hearing about the your locally grown creations and seeing those photos! Send them to


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea for a blog!

That capelet is gorgeous. I can't fathom the idea of doing it in 2 yarns, especially with such slippery yarns. I'm inspired to start up a 100 mile knitting project! I'll see what's in my stash...