Well, Hi there! Its been a long time since I’ve seen you and you look amazing! I’m so glad we have a chance to chat and that I’ve finally decided to take the time to put fingers to keyboard with a blog in my head. Its been too long. Really, really, too long and instead of doing all the round up stuff that many people do once they’ve been away from their blogs for too long, I’m going to act like the military child that I am and have a conversation that just picks up right where I am right now.
Yesterday was the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour! I met some very sweet alpaca at Rosebud and there were a pair of very…frisky…llamas that I refrained from photographing while in their passionate state. I’m sure they wouldn’t have cared, being so single-minded and all, but I would have felt like more of a voyeur.
And, of course, there were fibers that just had to follow me home. I always love (read:spend my fiber budget in nearly its entirety) the tour and I really like that nearly everything I buy and spin is local. Like less than 50 miles local. Everything I got this year is not only local but also new to me in either breed, blend or both.
First up: Something totally not local at all. Well, the fiber isn’t but the blender is!
2oz of 45% Merino wool, 45% Qiviut, 10% Silk blend from Lauralee of Phonixx Fibers. She recently moved down here from Alaska and we spent a lot of time chatting about ‘home’.
For those of you not in the know, qiviut is musk-ox down and is the warmest fiber on the planet. It is also among the most expensive as the processing is quite intensive and the harvesting can be dangerous. I mean, you can’t shear a musk-ox, or you can’t try more than once because either you or the animal will suffer extensive damage. So that means the fiber is picked up while the critter is shedding. Out in the wilds of Alaska or northern Canada. Where bits of the tundra get embedded. Along with other vegetal matter…the processed kind. And the downy under layer is covered by and interspersed with guard hairs, the thick, coarse, wires that make a musk-ox look like a musk-ox, not a fuzzy cow. Yes, processing can be very, very extensive but the fiber is worth every. Single. Penny. A blend of Merino wool, silk and qiviut is heavenly to pet and will be spun super fine to get every smidgen of yardage out of it and turned into something very lacy. Thats the joy of such warm fibers. You need to/should spin them finely and knit lacy because a dense yarn or a solid piece of fabric would be nearly unwearable because of the warmth retained.
Next was Chloe, a sheep from Nora and Ed of Amity Farms.
Chloe is a California Varigated Mutant (CVM), Targhee, Corridale cross and has some of the most lovely, sproingy, beautiful fleece that I have ever had the luck to pet. I nearly bought her raw fleece but then saw that there was this already processed available and, considering that I would have taken it to the exact same processer, Barry Taylor of Taylored Fibers, I saved myself the wait time!
Jennie of Ananda Hills Farms and Fiber always gets a portion of my fiber budget and this year was no different.
This year I bought a 4.5oz Shetland/Silk batt of, I think, no more than 80/20 proportions. I’ve never tried shetland and silk and always love the shetland from Jennies flock and this fiber just shone and called to me from the table. Jennie recognized me from previous years and as I was petting the batts, mentioned that this one was her favorite and the best blend of the three, in her opinion. If the shepherd thinks that this one is the best AND its not the most expensive one AND the color is something new to me? Sold.
A new seller and breed to me was Finn from a seller from Bainbridge Island who escapes my memory. They do natural dying as well as raising the Finn sheep and angora rabbits and these bundles just had to come home with me. So much so that I had passed on them, left for another farm, disliked the other Finn on offer and drove all the way back to the farm to get them!
Finn/angora 90/10 blend on L, 85/15 on R, mother(L) /daughter(R) The daughter fleece has a bit of a blueish cast to it but I’m not sure if that is a fiber thing or what. The seller said that it was all natural and undyed so we’ll see what happens but I love the piebald sheep and the differences in the fiber colors is wonderful.
We had a great time touring and now, with a bank account noticeably smaller than on Friday, I have my fibers and drive to spin. All of it. Right now.
But I can’t. Because I also have to work. And run.
Lets talk briefly about the running because I have to work soon.
Last Saturday I ran the Great Olympic Adventure Trail (GOAT run) with KT, KV and MJ from work and we had a great time.
Only KV has ever run trails before and this was a challenging run but fantastic. I’m not a converted trail runner but it was great and I’m looking forward to the Defiance 30k in October as my second trail run because of this one. We earned those beers at the end, for sure!
I also ran my third Seattle 10k at the end of August and PR’d! It was a much better race from the previous year on this course though I’m not sure why. Maybe it was my placement in the pack but either way, it was wonderful. It was my first time not racing with my Garmin and I was afraid of going out too fast or too slow and generally not knowing my pace but I picked one that felt good and was a bit of a push and it was perfect!
New shoes came home with me on Friday and while they are still pristine, I have to change that tomorrow morning. It was going to be today but then I turned off the alarm and then decided to post here instead. No more excuses! I have another half in 2 weeks, the Quilcene Half on the 27th and then two weeks after that the Defiance 30k on 10/12 so I have to keep moving lest I hurt myself. Because I know only I will be hurt if I fail to train.