Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2013

I wanted to arrive at the festival before it actually opened so that I could get a good parking spot and be ready to pounce on the fleece sale!  Last year, I arrived early, looked at the fleeces and decided to walk around and come back to the fleece sale.  Right.  Well, I came back about an hour later and all of the fleeces that I loved were GONE.

So, I left home around 6:20 AM.  I was already passing by Raphine, Virginia on I-81 when the sun started putting on a show above the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The sun arrives!

I love driving through the Shenandoah Valley because it is such a beautiful area.  I was almost looking forward to the scenery as much as I was the fiber festival.  Well.  Almost!  Unfortunately, just south of Harrisonburg, I stopped as a rest area and when I pulled out, the FOG DESCENDED!  I'm not talking about just a little fog, I'm talking pea soup fog where about the only thing that you can see is the lane lines just in front of your car.  Forget about seeing any scenery!  I'm not really fond of driving on I-81 at any time, but in thick fog is a particular nightmare.  The traffic doesn't slow down below 70 for such a minor thing as being so foggy you can't see anything.  Pfft!  Slowing down is for sissies.  Thank goodness about the time that I got to Woodstock, the fog was lifting.  A good 40 miles in thick fog and fast traffic is not fun.

I arrived in Berryville about 9:20 AM and there were already quite a few cars there.  I went ahead and entered and headed straight for the building with the fleece sale!  There were a few people looking at the fleeces, but it was quite easy to examine the offerings.  I had decided that I really needed a black alpaca fleece.  I have it in my head that it is probably going to be the warp for a weaving project that I have in mind.  There were about five true black alpaca fleeces.  After debating back and forth between two, I finally decided on this one:

It really is black, but my camera wants to make it look gray!
Huacaya Alpaca Fleece
1.4 lbs True black, medium hand, nice staple length.

1.4 pounds
Dark Star Alpacas
Berryville, Virginia

Then, I started looking at sheep fleeces. I always lose my way when looking at all of the gorgeous wool fleeces!  So many breeds and so much to think about!  I finally decided on this one gorgeous soft gray fleece that had been covered.  Not ONE speck of vegetable matter!

Romney/Corriedale Cross
The sheep's name is "Truffle"
Dell Acres Farm, LLC

Nice, lovely, long locks.  Very soft, no VM.
4 pounds, 12 ounces
I'm in LOVE!
Beautiful color as is or over dyed for a gorgeous heathered yarn!

Then, I stopped at one of my favorite fiber vendors,  River's Edge Fiber Arts.  After drooling over some of the most gorgeous blends and beautiful vibrant colors, I decided that I just had to have this:

"Petosky Stone"
River's Edge Fiber Arts
50% Natural "Brown" Bluefaced Leicester and
50% Seacell fiber from Seaweed (the honey colors in the blend)
I wish that you could sink your fingers into this delightful blend!

Okay.  Time for a trip to the car. Well, maybe I will just walk through this building on my way out since I know that another of my favorite vendors is located inside!  Wild Hare Fiber Studio

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa, the owner of Wild Hare posted some photos of a new fiber blend that she is selling and I immediately fell in love with it and KNEW that I must have some!  It was available in 6 different colors and I was having a horrible time trying to make up my mind, but this is what I ended up with:

Wild Hare Fiber Studio
60% wool/40% flax
Blue and silvery white
8 ounces total

Wild Hare Fiber Studio
60% wool/40% flax
Okay.  So I was too lazy to take this one out of the bag,
but aren't the colors GORGEOUS?!
The colors make me think of fall.
4 ounces

Okay.  Unloaded at the car!  Back inside to go to the FIVE other areas where there were vendors and also to check out the animals.

"Buttercup" was such a sweetheart!
She didn't want me to
stop petting and loving on her!

Some other purchases that I made:

Greenstone Farms
75% mohair/ 25% Merino
This fiber blend is SO incredibly soft!
Natural colors
1 pound
I wish that I had gotten another pound!

Gurdy Run Mill
I bought a pound of this gorgeous blend at the festival last year.
I decided that I wanted another pound!
"Arctic Waters"
60% wool/25% alapaa/15% silk

I FINALLY bought a combo diz/wpi gauge,
a really cool camel bone shawl pin
and just some really cool buttons!

I just HAD to have these sticker!
 Of course, there were other great highlights of this event:  The yummy pulled pork barbeque sandwichs, the fabulous Dutch Oven Cobblers fresh baked by the Boy Scouts, and meeting so many wonderful fiber folks!

If you are into fiber, this is a great festival!  For more information about the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, click HERE.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Plant I.D.

 Do you recognize this plant? 

I have seen it growing alongside the 
Blue Ridge Parkway between Roanoke and Floyd, Virginia.

It is also growing on the bank behind my home in Roanoke along the edge of the woods. 

I'm thinking that it might be in the same family as Madder (Rubia tinctorum) which immediately makes me wonder if this would be a good dye plant! 

UPDATE:  Well.  I still don't know if it would be a good dye plant or not, but I have been told that this is Sericea lespedeza.  
It is considered to be a noxious weed in many states.