This weekend is the Fourth Annual Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour and I can’t tell you how excited I have been waiting for it to arrive. Last year, I was all excited about going and then I didn’t have a job so no real money for fiber…but this year there was no problems what-so-ever.
Mike and I started our tour with a stop at Metro Bagels for our Chai (regular for him, soy for me) and bagels (plain bagel with jalapeno cheddar cream cheese for him, parmesan bagel with sun-dried tomato and garlic cream cheese for me). We have a tradition of starting out our explorations with a breakfast from them and haven’t seen any reason to stop yet! Everything goes better with chai and bagels to begin with and today was no exception.
We arrived at Ananda Hills promptly at 10am and spent over an hour talking and walking around there, admiring the tomato hot house, the guardian dogs with the chickens, seeing the Shetland sheep hiding in the hills and right outside the barn door, and talking for a long time with J and C, the amazing people who own and run the place. I don’t think we could have had a better start to our day than visiting with them!
Out to Quilcene we went and onto Jacob’s Fleece where we met the lovely JG and her flock of Jacob sheep. Talk about colours! They have such a distinctive look and I must say, I have a ‘thing’ for critters with spots so they really appealed to me.
Finally for today we stopped at Taylored Fibers, home of the Taylors and their fantastic fiber processing business in addition to seeing their Chevoit sheep. I had quite a lot of alpaca to drop off for processing as well as something else that I’ll show you in a moment, but what I was really looking forward to doing was meeting Judith MacKenzie. She was lovely and I hope that someday I’ll be able to take a class with her. Fiber people are just some of the best people there are, I swear its true.
Because we had to head home for a delivery, there is one more farm to visit on the tour and we’ll see them tomorrow. We had a fantastic day visiting the sheep and their farms and their owners and I can’t wait to do more tomorrow.
One last thing…did you think that I could visit sheep and shepherds and not bring home souvenirs? Nope, me neither and that would be why I brought my checkbook.
From Ananda Farm, I found a perfect Shetland in multiple shades of brown. In a world where historically colours have often been bred out in search of the “perfect” white, I can’t tell you how excited I am. Actually, I can: Excited enough that I forgot to take a photo of the bag ‘o fleece before I handed it over to Barry Taylor and only have the sample of the locks that I pulled aside for myself!
From Spring Hill Farm: 2 bumps of Dark Grey Romney, 15.75 and 15.25oz = 31oz (1oz shy of 2 lbs)
Now, in the direct sun, you can see that they look MUCH more brown…but with myself casting a shadow:
Quite a bit more grey. Mike picked this out for himself so I am already plotting a project with him in mind!
Jan was spinning some of this herself and I just loved the tweed-y way the colours were blending.
I also picked up 2 ounces of pure heaven in batt form from Karen Rose of Rosebud fibers, a Port Townsend local company. I was powerless to resist and you can see why:
At Taylored Fibers, I dropped off my lovely new Shetland to be processed…along with 2 alpaca fleeces. One was a 3+ pound cria fleece that I had been lucky enough to A) find on freecycle, B) be the first person to respond to the posting, C) have 2 years of growth, not the normal 1 and D) have Judith MacKenzie look at it just prior to me handing it over for processing and nearly have her swoon. She laughed and was enthralled and could have knocked me over with a feather when she told me that she had bought some alpaca fleece recently that was nearly exactly like this…for $65/lb. Seriously. I knew that it was something special, so fine and long and just lustrous but now I’m even more excited about it!
The second was a birthday present from my amazing sister J. She went to a fair in MI and walked thru the shearing and showing barn where alpaca fiber was on display. After looking around and feeling and talking to people, she made a purchase of 3 pounds of cream alpaca with a gorgeous crimp to it. It has a 2-3″ staple and is so lovely. I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful sister!
All told, I have…a LOT of fiber now. Alpaca, llama and wool that were an amazing find from freecycle, alpaca from my sister, Romney, Shetland and Jacob from local sheep AND some lovely brown from Friday Harbor sheep that I cannot, for the life of me, remember the breed! I have satisfied my want for natural wools for…most likely the rest of my life.
And tomorrow I get to visit Icelandic sheep…and THAT will be it. Really.