Monthly Meetings

The Valley Weavers & Spinners meetings are on the first Tuesday of the month. Social Hour starts at 6:00 pm and the meetings start at 7:00 pm. We meet at the Denkmann-Hauberg house at 1300 24th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201.

If you are a gps funster here are the coordinates:
41.4993, -90.567195

N41° 29.958', W090° 34.0317'(precision: address)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fiber Magazines, Sheep Shows and Other Things to Throw Your Money At!

Hi all,

After a short hiatus to take care of family issues I'm back and I have a lot of info to share with you.

I have been surfing the internet as usual and I've gathered a few things that I thought you would enjoy.

The first is a magazine that I had not come across before called Wild Fibers Magazine.  It is put together and published in Rockland, Maine by Linda Cortright Editor/Publisher. 

This magazine offers beautiful photography that makes you feel like you have traveled to the location with the writer.  Their mission statement is "Our mission is to educate and promote all aspects of the natural fiber industry with special emphasis on sustainable practices and responsible use of natural resources throughout the world. We believe fibers represent an important chapter not only to artisans and cultural development, but an increasing sensitivity to environmental impact as well."
Subscription rates are $28 for 4 issues per year.  They accept contributions from anyone who would like to submit an article and instructions for submission are on the website.
  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------May 1st just happened to coincide with my huband's trip to New Jersey and I was able to tag along and meet up with a pen pal that I've had for over 20 years.  It also happened to be one of the days of the Maryland Sheep and Fiber Festival.

This was the first time I had ever attended a festival of this sort and it was a bit like brain stimulus overload.  In the future I will definitely make a plan ahead of arrival.  It depends on what your interests are to find direction.  If you are a knitter or weaver, you are going to want to hit all of the yarn booths.  For spinners they had a section of freshly shorn fleeces that you could purchase, walk over to a wool processor and send off to get back your roving ready to spin.  If you want to go absolutely crazy you can put in a bid on the prize winning fleece in the silent auction.  There are classes and demonstrations and my favorite, the sheep barns!  I love looking at the different breeds and checking out their personality and fleece on the hoof.  Thank goodness we flew out there and I didn't have access to a stock trailer!  There were plenty of booths with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos touting to help make spinning/weaving/knitting easier (saw a 12 harness table loom that was calling my name).  I loved the man and wife that showed a demo of unreeling of silk cocoons.  They had live silk worms munching away on mulberry leaves and made it look pretty easy to raise them.  Maybe I will give it a try and document my experience?

What I did learn was that I loved going and I hope to visit a few more shows this summer.  I also learned that my pockets are not large enough to hide a cria and make my escape.  I wanted so many things but I just came away with a nifty canvas bag, a pin and a nightgown with sheep on it.


After diving in a few fleeces, I was very attracted to a breed of sheep called the Cormo.  After a little research, I discovered that I want a couple.  From the site - "The Cormo were developed in the earlier part of the 1960's in Tasmania, Australia. To arrive at the current day Cormo rams the Corriedale breed were crossed with Superfine Saxon Merinos. The name Cormo is from the names of two of the parent breeds, Corriedale and Merino."

The fleece that was the 1st prize winner was a black Cormo fleece.  It had such a fine crimp and looked like it would be heaven to spin.  The staple is between 3 and 5 inches and the micron count goes from 17-23.  they are not a large breed at all.  They look to be easy to handle for a small farm.  I thought for such a beautiful fleece that I was going to run into a price tag that was going to make me weep with disappointment, but there is a breeder in Wisconsin that I have spoken to that is going to have some fiber wethers for sale for the incredible price of $100 each.  Color me there!  Now all I have to decide is do I want black or white, or one of each.  When I get the call that the boys are ready I will let everyone know in case we want to have a field trip.

I will see everyone at the next meeting.  Happy handwork to you all!


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