Monday, May 08, 2006

And My Big Bonus of the Weekend Was...

I got to go back to the festival for another day. Yes, my husband is a sweetheart.

Let me explain. On Saturday, we had to leave the festival early because my oldest son (the one who thoroughly enjoyed the lamb) had a baseball game at 4:00. I really felt good having taken it all in -- but my purchases were slim: two balls of chocolate and cashew merino bought straight from the stall where the sheep was camped; two "bunny balls" -- a lovely set of blue/lavender angora rabbit, a bag of merino/llama/tussah silk roving, a Bosworth .5 oz spindle, and five unmatched Koigu mill ends (just for the principle of it). My husband took time (and both children) to wait in the long line to get me a festival t-shirt and a glass mug. That was it. Cheap day.

But it wasn't cheap for lack of trying to spend money. When we first got to the festival, we went on a Koigu hunt. That booth was elusive. But later, after checking a vendor directory, we found the booth location, and headed back. As it turns out, the throng of people waiting for Koigu must have blocked their sign, and we had walked right by it hours earlier. After talking with the staffer there, it seems that they sold out of nearly everything in record time. People were buying whole boxes at a time. I picked out five coordinating mill ends for $5 apiece and went on my way. I need to clarify here that I have never, ever, used Koigu and wanted it simply because everyone talks about it and this is one time when I wanted to keep up with the Joneses. My husband at one point asked what knitters use Koigu for. When I told him socks, steam started pouring out of his ears. "Socks!?! We've been searching for hours for something you're going to put on your feet?!?" (My husband won't wear wool on his feet so he doesn't understand.)

My husband also spent hours that day touching fleeces. He was so cute! "Wen, this whole thing is only $20! Why don't you snap this up before someone else does?" But once I explained that -- in addition to a wheel -- I'd also need to buy additional equipment and supplies to scour, comb, card, etc., not to mention the fact that we have old plumbing and things could get ugly, he moved on to rovings. Pre-dyed, prepared rovings all ready for spinning. And he was absolutely adorable as he and the boys touched all kinds of fibers trying to find ones I'd like.

It was a good day, all in all. Despite the boys' occasional disobedience (it was very hot and honestly, I started to get cranky too at one point), everyone had a great time. As long as we alternated exhibition hall/barn it seemed to work out. Especially when we stopped at the lamb judging. And I got to go home and spend the evening post-baseball spinning the new angora on my new Bosworth. That baby spins like there's no tomorrow, and the angora is a dream. I will post pictures later.

Yesterday started out as a wash -- MIL was coming for a visit from SC and she didn't get to our house until noon. She stayed for 2 hours. By three, I was itching. My husband looked and said to me, "Are you thinking about the festival? You're just dying to get a wheel." I reassured him that I was not going to buy a wheel that day, but that I was on a serious fiber crawl for when I get a wheel sometime in the next month. He looked at me with an impish grin and said, "Just go... have fun, baby."

And I ran out of the house and hit the road. The festival is really only 20 minutes away.

When I got there, I found a primo parking spot (two cars from the door!), and headed right to the main exhibit hall. I was on a fiber and spindle mission. I stopped first at Hatchtown Farm, where I found the most beautiful ball of varigated brown roving. The minute I picked it up I wanted to make it my bedtime pillow, it was so soft. Needless to say, I bought it.

And then I went to The Mannings, and hit the mother lode on Koigu. I think KnitandtheCity Wendy is going to have to explain why the Koigu booth has more mystique than The Mannings, but they had TONS of the stuff. At a small-fourtune/skein. Whoa Nelly. I bought five -- enough to do the Charlotte's Web shawl.

Then I went to the Woodchuck both, and bought a new little wooden spindle.

My next stop was a lovely booth (right now the name eludes me) where I fell in love with a 3/4 Lincoln/ 1/4 Navajo Churro ewe names Sugar Pie. This wool was just so springy and soft I couldn't stand it. Now this is where my true naivete comes through. The sign on the bag said $14/pound. I told the woman I wanted the whole pound and my eyes nearly fell out of my head when she pulled the whole bag off the shelf and gave it to me. I don't know why it didn't register that a pound of wool = a LOT of wool. I'm pretty sure it's a half-fleece. I bought it anyway. After all, I'm on the road to a wheel!

I found myself then strolling through the other halls where I bought four ounces of angora goat roving -- a lovely purple -- and a cute little decoupaged spindle. On my way out, I ran into Knitting Auntie (of Olympic aran fame), my uncle, cousin and some friends. Had a short little visit there, and then headed out.

On my way out, I stopped at one of the tent booths and bought what has to be one of the softest alpaca/silk rovings I have ever felt in my life. Bought three ounces of that in a happy sunny yellow.

And I called it a day. I now have enough fiber to keep me occupied when I finally get that wheel. I feel a need to interject at this point to explain that in another week and a half, I am going on an eight-day business trip. I don't think it's fair to my psyche to buy a wheel just before Hell Week. Especially since I can't really take it with me to play with in the evenings (14-15-hr days). So my plan is to get one right after I get back, take a few days off, and spin to my hearts content.

But I digress When I got home and walked in the door with my goodies, my husband smiled and nodded and said, "Boys, Mommy is home with her festival haul. Go on, show us what you bought!"

As I did, my dear sweethearts (especially The Yarn Sniffer) oohed and aahed at appropriate intervals, touched all of the rovings and smiled at the spindles and Christopher, of course, sniffed them all. And when I broke out the yarn, my husband said, "Your weekend is complete. You found your Koigu. You aren't REALLY going to make socks out of it, are you?" I think he was happy to hear that it's going to be a shawl instead.

And you want to know what is so incredibly cool about my husband? For hours after, he was asking about spinning, knitting, yarn compositions and speculating on what synthetics can be spun with rovings to make them stronger and more durable with everyday wear. He spoke fondly of Sugar Pie and was happy to see that there's more than enough there to make something useful and fun. I love him very, very much.


eyeknit said...

It's wonderful that your "boys" (all three of them) are good festivalgoers. I was so suprised that there was lots of fun for the less fiber-obsessed members of the family. I LOVE the new name of your blog, and also love Charlotte's Web. Somehow, I missed the "some sheep" sign! You were destined to make the Koigu shawl by the same name. I agree that the Mannings booth had the best Koigu selection, and that's where I ended up buying most of my stuff.

Anonymous said...

I had a very understanding hubby too. He watched my cowboy for all day on Sat and came with on Sunday. Boy... I need a vacation!

Anonymous said...

I believe the Koigu booth is mill ends and therefore the wool is sold at 12 cents a gram so you can get the yarn for about half price.