I'm a native Texan, so I'm biased -- but I LOVE the Hill Country. These hills make my heart sing and my cowboy boots scoot! Boerne, deep in the heart of Texas, hosted the Kid 'n' Ewe Fiber Festival this weekend. I dragged my husband Neely along, with the promise that we wouldn't spend ALL our time looking at fleeces and yarns. But oh, it was a fiber lover's paradise. (And here's a disclaimer -- The following pictures are just a small sample of the wonderful stuff available from the vendors, simply what caught my eye. I'm not affiliated with the Festival at all. So to all vendors not shown here, I apologize, but I loved your wares too!)
There were yarns aplenty -- a rainbow wall of rug yarns from Vanessa Emmons -- She's BritKnits at www.TheFiberCo-op.com;
scrumptious hand-dyed lovelies from Brooks Farm -- www.brooksfarmyarn.com
and heavenly soft mohair hanks from South Texas Angora Goats --www.angoragoat.us
The Festival emphasized the wonderful animals which give us their fiber, and the ranchers who make their living caring for them. Cindy Telisak at Jacob's Reward Farm --
-- offers non-ranchers an opportunity to purchase "shares" of a working farm/ranch, and in return receive a proportional share of the farm's products (including fleece!) Details here: www.jacobsreward.com.
Wellspring Suri Alpacas (www.WellspringSuriAlpacas.com) showed two of their herd for us to pet and enjoy --
Who wouldn't love this face!
And of course, fleece was for sale: raw fleece, to be washed and carded before spinning, like this from South Texas Angora Goats --
and this from Trinity Ridge Alpacas -- Steve and Janet Hancock from Trinity Ridge were so friendly and generous with information about their ranch, which hosts "open farm" on the 4th Saturday of every month, when anyone can visit and learn about alpacas. Go to www.trinityridgealpacas.com for more information.
Before you can spin the raw fleece into yarn, you must wash and card it into roving like these hand-dyed examples from Lynn's Texas Fibers (www.texasfiber.com) --
or send it to a mill like Ozark Carding Mill (www.ozarkcarding.com) for processing.
Myles Jakubowski of www.wyattspinwheels.com --
makes exquisite hand-crafted spinning wheels, and he generously brought some beauties for spinners to try.
A little less intimidating, at least for me, are drop spindles such as the beautiful shell and glass ones offered by Butterfly Girl Designs (www.butterflygirldesigns.etsy.com)--
and the lovely handpainted wooden ones made by Sally Ball (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com). I bought these two -- the Celtic Knot design for my daughter and the moon design for me:
Sally makes spinning look so easy! The spindle she's using here is painted with her original dragon design (which I covet unashamedly! I'm waiting for you to post one on your Etsy page, Sally!)
So what did I bring away from our weekend in Boerne, other than happy memories? Fleece from Trinity Ridge's alpaca named Pharoah, yarn from Brooks Farm, spindles and batts from Sally Ball --
a tiny, 3-inch-tall alpaca herd because Neely refused to let me bring home the real thing (aren't they cute!) --
and, most important to Neely, a stash of wine from Sister Creek Vineyard, located just a few miles away from Boerne in Sisterdale. The Muscat Canelli is most delicious! --
The next fiber festival in Texas is the Yellow Rose Fiber Producers show in Seguin, April 15-16, 2011. Check out www.yellowrosefiberproducers.com for more details. See you there!
edit: Check the 3rd comment below for a fiber farm that I missed at the festival: Fancy Fibers Farm offers a "diverse selection of fiber, including Suri, Mohair, Cashgora, Angora (rabbit), and both Shetland and Border Leicester wool." Find them at www.fancyfibers.com