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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Say hello to my little friend. No really, he's tiny.

My First (Half of A) Whole Fleece: Michigan Fiber Festival

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I mean, really, what's not to love?

It was kind of a last-minute trip to the Michigan Fiber Festival this weekend, but it was really fun. I decided to drive to Kalamazoo on Friday night so that I could be not as super-tired at the actual event and on the way home on Saturday.

The weather was perfect, and I met an indie dyer (Lynae) and designer (Adrienne) as I was checking out of the hotel in Kalamazoo.

I grabbed the magazine for the festival as soon as got there. I always do that so that I can just romp around and coo at sheep, then go back and do major shopping online later.

I met a couple of other people who I really hope will chat with me soon on the podcast: Nyla Catanzaro, who raises Shetland sheep (she is in Converse, IN, and doesn't seem to have a website), and Allison Sluis of Ewe Spun Wool Works. To be more accurate, I met some of Allison's adorable Icelandic sheep, and grabbed one of her business cards.

Mostly, I really did just wander around and freak out about how adorable I find sheep (and alpacas, and bunnies, and goats...), but I did complete the one shopping goal I had for the day.

My friend, Tara, and I had agreed to shop for fleeces and look at buying one together. She found a gorgeous silver Romney that weighed 7.5 pounds. We did the math and it came out to just under $20 for each of us. I took one look and said, "Let's buy it!"

She was a little shocked and told me she was expecting to have to argue for it. Obviously, she hasn't shopped with me very much. I'm always a little afraid that something I like will get snatched up by someone else, so if I like it and it hits the price range I want, I tend to buy right away.

We ran into some other knitting/spinning friends and they recommended the Wooly Knob Fiber Mill for processing our fleece. We visited their booth and discovered that they are not only semi-local to Fort Wayne, Matt is actually a member of our spinning guild. We hadn't seen him around this summer. So, he wrote us an invoice and packed our fleece away. We won't even have to pay shipping, since he will bring it to a guild meeting. Perfect!

I only realized later that I really was too excited about the fleece - I forgot to take a picture! So, instead, here's a photo of some of the sheep I stared at for about 30 minutes. They are so cute!

So, this weekend marked my first large-scale purchase of wool. I should end up with about three pounds of fleece, or enough to make two adult-sized sweaters. (!) I haven't decided what to do yet, but I'm looking forward to the adventure.

p.s. - If anyone out there sunburns really easily, I recommend the Walgreens Baby Sunscreen Stick. It doesn't smell funny, it didn't make my face break out, and it only made me look like I was auditioning for kabuki theater for about 20 minutes. After that, it absorbed and I looked mostly normal, I think.

p.p.s. - Oh, and I also got this tiny sheep action figure for my desk at work. (Isn't he cute?)...and a set of niddy-noddies and a three-level Kate for spinning. I used the Kate to spin a three-ply yarn on Sunday and it was woooooonderful.

p.p.p.s. - Clearly, I'm still a bit high from wool fumes.