Saturday, June 13, 2009

Estes Wool Market

I ventured out of Cheyenne today... it was Wool Market Day!!! Yes, even though thunderstorms were favored by the weather service, I decided to brave it and take a trip to Estes Park, CO.

Well, the first part of the trip is truly a test of courage. I am more than slightly claustrophobic, so the drive is no insignificant matter... (see photo below, click to zoom).

Yes, those walls are made of solid rock, and they go alllllllllll the way up! ...which inspires thoughts like... "how much do I really want the wool???"

Wooly thoughts prevailed, however, and even though I felt horribly squished, thank goodness the canyon widens out a little for the rest of the 45 minutes of that part of the drive. (All together, for me, it's about 2 hours each way.... yes, I LOVE wool... THAT MUCH! :-)

(Living in the country, I'm used to more than 180' unfettered skyline, so 15' is insufficient at best).

Soon enough I arrived in lovely Estes Park, and the sun was shining! Hooray! I immediately went to the fairgrounds, and the first sight to greet me was this gorgeous llama:

Her coat was extraordinarily soooooooft... I found out that she (and the llama behind her, to the left), are both very "girly" llamas, and I had such fun talking to their keepers that I forgot to ask their names! (Please forgive this breach of etiquette on my part!) Anyway, they had just been shown, and their owners were escorting them back to their pens.

All sorts of creatures great and small were at the festival, including no lack of sheep, angora rabbits, angora goats, paco vicunas, alpacas, llamas, cashmere goats, and... some very unusual visitors: YAKS!

There were three lovely yaks being shown outside, and there was fibre and yarn to be found inside!

Yes, the shopping... I'm afraid I went just slightly overboard. Well... I really couldn't help myself. I intended to get a couple of hand-dyed batts for spinning... and before you know it, I had a PROJECT come to mind, and I was fluttering around the place, buying all kinds of natural and dyed batts and rovings, angelina fibre, and similarly sparkly nylon to add into my soon-to-become-yarns.

Among the interesting people I met was a production woodturner from Colorado who makes lovely niddy nodddies, (large) needle boxes, and drop spindles. He's been at the show for several years in a row now, and since my mum couldn't go, she requested that I buy one of his boxes for her, so I did: a tall cherry box which has a very streamlined shape to it: so lovely and smooth.

I also got to spend a few minutes watching a spinner demo the navajo spindle. WooHoo! Now mine doesn't have to sit in the corner anymore as "decoration"! I can put it to work! (Amazing how 5 minutes can change your life! :-)

I saw all manner of creation at the show -- beautiful knitted and needlefelted art dolls, a giraffe hobby-horse, wet-felted flowers, nubbly yarns, smooth yarns, sparkly ones too! Lots of mini-looms for sale, as well as fibre beyond compare! Colors! Colors! Colors to the delight the eyes! and softness to delight the fingertips! and the chattering of hundreds of critters outside to spur you on!

Well, I'm so glad I didn't trust the weather service... and didn't chicken out on the drive... and wore my sturdy tennis shoes! I had a great time! Actually, it's my fourth year to go -- I've gone every year that I've lived in Wyoming, and look forward to next year!

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