Sundays are for field trips. I let the boys have fun while I go out and explore all the lovely fibery places I can. What I’ve learned is that we’re pretty spoiled up here in the Pacific Northwest. When I did the LYS tour last spring I went to more than 20 great stores, all within a reasonable distance from my home. And not all the stores in the area participate. In addition to Brick and Mortar type locations this area seems to be a haven for independent artisans and fiber growers.
Recently I got to go check out some of these local goodies. The Capitol Hill Knitters of Dooooom (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/capitol-hill-knitters) got together and headed to Whidbey Island to visit 2 small fiber farms. The first was called Paradise Found Fiber Farm. Mary (the farmer) had Llamas, Alpacas and Pygora goats. This place was amazing and Mary was wonderfully welcoming. She showed us around her farm, let us have our lunch there and taught us a lot about the animals that give us such yummy yarn.
We got to meet the animals. There were Llamas:
And the softest Goat ever:
And Alpacas roaming free-ish:
She doesn’t keep her animals for breeding, only for the fiber. This allows her to give a home to animals that otherwise might not have a place. But you want to know about the lovely fiber. As to be expected it was scrumptious. I went with a very firm intent to buy nothing. After all I have a business to get into the black. But…there was this Suri Alpaca batt. Ok there were two of them. Just 2 sweet little bundles of fiber that felt more like silk than any wool I’ve ever encountered. And I promised myself I would do more spinning right? So home they came. See?
Next we went to see Crossfire Hill Farm(http://www.angelfire.com/ky3/crossfirehillfarm/) where they raise Corriedale Sheep. They wore these little coats to keep their fleeces form becoming completely penetrated with—well—stuff you find on a farm. You can a picture of it at their website. Karen is an award winning farmer, with several ribbons from the fleeces she’s entered at the local fairs. The fascinating thing at this farm was touching the unprocessed fleeces. First of all they have an incredible sheen. Figbread swore they glowed from within. I couldn’t really argue with that. Secondly when you touch them the amount of lanolin in the fibers is astounding. I have to admit that feel of slightly slimy fibers had a certain squick factor and I’m quite sure I’ll never want to spin “in the grease” but—the affect of the lanolin on my hands made me want a pair of socks spun from unprocessed fibers. If I could wear lanolin saturated socks in my boots (or to bed) I’d never need a pedicure again! And it makes your nails all pretty and shiny.
So all in all a good day. The stop at a wine tasting room on the way home didn’t hurt any either.