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New England Spring Fiber Tour 2010

June 11, 2010

Well, here I am finally updated in the blog with a wrap up of my New England Spring Fiber Tour, 2010….which was a tale of my fibery exploits while being on-call “Grandma sittin'” in Massachusetts!

Unexpectedly due to several health crisis’ in Gordon’s family, we had to leave our California homestead ( right in the middle of spring planting time in the gardens…argh!)  to go take care of Gordon’s 90 year old Grandma for two weeks.  The upshot of the whole trip was several fiber related adventures, which has made me fall in love with New England all over again. Western Massachusetts is a treasure trove for the fiber artist…many local weavers, shepherds, and yarn stores that have me leaving for the airport with yarn laden bags, and a box via USPS with my loot!!

Where do I begin?  First a few pictures of Gordon’s mama’s farm…an 1800’s era farmstead in Shelburne Falls….

view of the fields from the creek

the Clesson Brook that runs thru the farm

Igor the Rooster, with a great "hat"

The kids had a blast at the creek, and we enjoyed many walks out behind the house.  New England is so green in the spring!

So you wanna hear more about the fiber and wool, right?

Well, fortunately for me, the first weekend in Mass. coincided with WEBS Yarn Store’s HUGE tent sale! WEBs yarn store is HUGE…biggest yarn store in the country i think.  The only yarn store I’ve been to where you can get a shopping cart for your shopping convenience!! lol!

the WEBS yarn store warehouse...a LOT of yarn in here!

Well, I didn’t manage to snag a picture of the crowd at the tent sale, but you can only imagine hundreds of knitters elbowing their way thru a serious crowd to get deals on bags of yarn…I scored a couple of sweater’s worth of yarn for a mere $35, plus a few skeins of sock yarn for only 4.00 a skein. Who could resist the bargains??

WEBs yarn store

Next on the Fiber Tour, we went into the village of Shelburne Falls, home to the Swedish weaving school, Vavstuga.   This is literally a 2 minute drive from my mother in-law’s home!!  What a treasure!!!  I cannot wait to come and take a week long intensive here!

the weaving room at the Vavstuga Weaving School

a student project on the Swedish drawloom

This charming little weaving school just sang to my heart.  To see the unique swedish drawlooms warped with all sorts of bright colors was so inspiring!!  I was 3,000 miles away from my own weaving studio, but was delighted to visit this studio, where students of all ages and backgrounds are learning new ways to warp and weave.  I was in heaven.  That night I even dreamt of weaving in that studio, playing with color and texture to my heart’s delight!!

I want to take their 5 day Swedish weaving basics course, and am hoping to do so in the Spring of 2011.  They offer lodging, organic meals, and 8+ hours a day of weaving.  Pure Bliss in my opinion…now just to talk my mother into childcare for the week!!!

I got to visit my friend Julia‘s farm, which is a delightful homestead in the woods of Colrain.  She raises Border Leiscester sheep, which is wonderful wood in many ways, Nice curly locks, good sheen, and nice big fleeces.  I have a fleece of her’s coming my way.  Julia is one amazing knitter, and is test knitting many garments for Gudrun Johnston’w new knitting pattern book.  If you haven’t looked at Gudrun’s designs, run don’t walk over to Shetland Trader. Her patterns are awesome.   She is traveling to Scotland this summer, and taking my friend Julia along as a knitwear model.  And just who is going to be the photographer for this event..none other than Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed!!!  How awesome is that?…i am tempted to beg Julia to allow me to come….perhaps i can carry their bags? something?  honestly, i couldn’t get away from this crazy life for that, but I can dream….and get the whole scoop from Julia when she gets back!!!

Another gem of a farm I discovered was Moonshine Designs.  They raise high quality angora goats for the mohair, and weave and knit exquisite garments from this soft lustrous fiber!  The shawls they weave from handyed mohair boucle yarns are one of a kind, and the colors are amazing.  I just had to splurge and buy a pair of their Mohair socks, made from 85% kid mohair fiber…so soft, and they wear like iron.

All in all, I came home feeling really inspired to get back to my studio, and weave!!!  Plus a box of new yarns from my excursions will help me with that!!  I am getting myself in gear for the season of craft fairs and events from my studio.  I will keep you posted on my new projects!!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2010 8:43 pm

    Thank you for including my blog on your blogroll, Mama Spider. I have enjoyed reading through your posts and looking at your most excellent pics and projects. I’ve signed up to receive e-mails when you post.
    Best wishes,

  2. June 20, 2010 6:54 pm

    So delightful to read about your adventures, along with links. I love Gudren’s patterns myself:) Maybe I could come along as your nanny next spring… ya never know!

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