30 August 2014

I bought a sheep...sort of

Yes, I went to the Twist Fibre Festival in Saint-André-Avellin last weekend. It may seem strange but this was actually my first time at such an event. Maybe that's weird considering how relatively close Montreal is to some of the major ones? I never really had much of a desire to go, and in the past few years, it been out of my holiday budget.

However, I've had an idle interest in getting a good quality fleece to play with since I dug out the rather dirty Outaouais Arcott I've had for a while and started processing.

And after having such a lovely visit with Kathy Chapdelaine a few weeks prior, I had pretty much made up my mind that going to Twist would be a good idea. Not exactly like going to Rheinbeck, but a good place to start.

So Saturday after work, I hopped on the Metro & met up with my brother & rode all the way to the other end of the line. We took a bus out to Fairview Point-Claire & got a ride from the friends we were staying with who have a small farm near Rigaud, who were also interested in going to Twist to check out the animals.

We got to the festival around lunch time on Sunday. The festival was indoors, inside the community's hockey arena. At first it didn't seem like it was that big of a festival, but we it took quite some time for us to make our way through them all.

Jon and I spent a lot of time looking through the books and spinning accessories at the Gemini Fibres booth. He had ordered some hard to find knitting books from them in the past. I probably would have bought some hand cards or other spinning accessories if I didn't have them already and took a good look at the lazy kates they had. I also looked through their spinning books, but didn't see much in the "so you've been spinning for 5ish years and want to level up" category. Of course this might have been because we were there on the last day.

We stopped and chatted with Céline from La Maison Tricotée here in Montreal and Jon chatted with Julie from La Julie Factrie in Nicolet, QC, both former Effiloché colleagues. Later we also chatted with Kathy & David of Domaine Chambord & saw pictures of his latest rope braiding machine which was pretty cool.

I was happy to see that Céline carries Jamieson & Smith as well as some other hand-dye brands that I have recently come across online Hedgehog Fibres and Jill Draper Makes Stuff.

The yarns at the Absolute Shetland booth were really nice, but it was kind of crowded and I moved on after a bit. Jon bought 2 skeins of their pale & charcoal grey Shetland to make some stranded mittens with. It's really nice stuff.

From Trailhead Yarns

My first purchase of the day was from Trailhead Yarns & Fibre (who seem to be setting up their online presence). I bought some lovely purple Correidale roving & a screen printed project bag.

I was pretty surprised that most of the roving or top I saw for sale was Merino. There weren't a lot of other sheep represented which I thought was too bad. But again this could have been because it was Sunday afternoon.

From l'atelier de Pénélope booth

I also bought some really nice 38-count linen from L'atelier de Pénélope and some great neon BFL sock yarn from the Violette Yarn Co. booth.

Super BFL Sock

And my big purchase of the day (mostly because of the size) was this amazing fleece from Hopeful Shetlandsfrom Embro, ON, who seemed to me to be the only ones with raw fleeces for sale. And I was kind of surprised at how many they still had. Though maybe there just aren't that many spinners?

She had 3 really lovely darker wool fleeces that attracted me right away, one was a BFL Shetland cross, the other two were different shades of Shetland. But I had a hard time deciding which fleece to get, especially as I have no experience in what to look for in a fleece other than it would be nice for it to be cleaner than the Outaouais Arcott fleece I already have. In the end I ended up picking out a different, lighter grey fleece altogether which was so nice that I said "Woooooooooow!" as I unfurled it on my floor to take pictures. I think it will be an amazing first fleece to play with.

I bought a sheep

Want to know how to get immediate cred at a fibre festival? Walk around with a big bag of fleece. It seemed to be a conversation starter for the rest of our visit. This probably would have been more of a normal sight at a bigger deal festival.

Bag 'o' sheep, memories from Twist 2014. #weekendinthecountry #fibredweeb

In the artisanal area, we spent a lot of time at the Infuse booth, from Sutton QC, hearing about they traditional folding & dyeing techniques she uses to make the wonderful motifs on her scarves. I'm often drawn to the soft, light hues that result from working with natural dyes.

Jon also chatted with the woman from Meliooa about the process for her crocheted toques.

We spent some time looking at the animals out front and solved the mystery of the angora goat. We stopped at an LCBO & casse-croûte in Ontario before getting a ride back to Fairview to catch the commuter train back into Montreal.

Imports from Ontario. I better start working on the house cocktail list. #travelontario #weekendinthecountry Lunch break. #travelOntario

Waiting for a train. #weekendinthecountry #cicadachorus

Overall a nice weekend excursion to the country. And I have plenty of fluff to keep me busy for quite a while.

28 August 2014

Recent Acquisitions

Somehow in the past few weeks, without much intention to, my fibre and yarn stashes have grown somewhat. Since I currently work as a yarn shop girl, it is an occupational hazard for some yarn & fabric to follow me home, I've been very good about it (for the most part).

But besides a ball or two of sock yarn, or a few meters of fabric now & again, I really haven't added much to my stashed materials in a big way for quite a while. The stash is already quite healthy enough. Most recent additions in the past few years have been from visits to shops while travelling. And this month started like that too.

First of the acquisitions were from a recent trip to the county. While my parents were visiting in early August, we all went out to stay at a house in country near Cookshire-Eaton, QC for a few days.

Without fully intending to, we managed to work in a trip to a small yarn shop to round out our day of cheese tasting, junk shop scrounging & ice cream eating. Because my Mom needed some needles to knit mittens with, we ended up seeking out La Shoppe de Laine in Moe's River, QC. And I'm very happy that we did.

I guess I should say that this isn't really a typical yarn shop, mostly because the shop is located in an out building on the farm where Kathy and David raise a variety of animals and have yarn produced from their coats.

While the shop does stock some commercial & locally dyed selections which my Mom was drawn to (she loves angora), I had trouble selecting which of Chambord yarns I was going to buy. In the end I went with a skein of Rambouillet & a skein of Shetland/Baby Doll blend.

Chambord Shetland/Baby Doll Chambord Rambouillet

Also stored in the shop was raw fibre waiting to be processed & spun. Kathy mentioned that she was preparing for the upcoming Twist Fibre Festival and sold me some Lincoln Longwool Locks & raw Rambouillet fleece sort of as a preview to the festival.

Loose Lincoln Locks Rambouillet Raw Fleece

We also got to see some of her husband's collection of Victorian sock knitting machines that had been set up with dates and information about each machine. He collects & refurbishes the antique machinery and also makes socks & leg warmers for sale. We stayed and chatted for about an hour & even met one of her cashmere goats.

Overall a wonderful discovery.

I think I'll leave our visit to Twist Festival to another post.