Agujas

The Art of Knitting

A Day at the Fiber Festival

My very first spinning lesson was at the Kid’N Ewe And Lamas Too fiber festival a couple of years ago. This past weekend, I revisited this annual festival which is spread out over three large barns at the Kendall County Fairgrounds. There was weaving, spinning, felting, knitting and crocheting everywhere!

I spent hours swooning over fibers from animal and plant sources including camel, yak, buffalo, sheep, goat and silkworm as well as hemp, bamboo, and cotton. Many were hand dyed in stunning colors like these wool batts …

Gorgeous merino, bamboo, and angelina batts from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Gorgeous merino, bamboo, and angelina batts from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Luscious browns and golds from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Luscious browns and golds from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Glistening waves in a deep blue sea from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Glistening waves in a deep blue sea from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

… and this hemp fiber in deep tones.

Hand-dyed natural plant fibers from the Fiber Lady. (www.fiberlady.com)

Hand-dyed natural plant fibers from the Fiber Lady. (www.fiberlady.com)

There were countless hand crafted tools throughout including this lovely assortment of spindles and shuttles.

These wooden spindles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn't pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

These wooden spindles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn’t pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

Turkish and top whorl drop spindles from Heritage Arts. (www.heritageartstexas.com)

Turkish and top whorl drop spindles from Heritage Arts. (www.heritageartstexas.com)

Unique hand painted wooded spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Unique hand painted wooded spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

Hand crafted glass and wood spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.orkieslave.etsy.com)

Hand crafted glass and wood spindles from Yorkieslave Artworks. (www.yorkieslave.etsy.com)

These wooden shuttles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn't pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

These wooden shuttles are from Yarnorama (I think). I didn’t pick up a business card. (www.yarnorama.com)

Behind rows of vendor stalls in one of the barns, several teams were in full swing for the Fiber to Fashion demonstrations. Spinners using spindles and wheels were busily turning fiber into yarn. The yarn was fed to the weaver who meticulously wove it on a loom. The goal was to create a finished product – a 20″ x 72″ shawl – in one day.

One of the Fiber to Fashion teams working on their woven shawl.

One of the Fiber to Fashion teams working on their woven shawl.

The team pictured here held a raffle for their shawl. I bought one ticket for $1 but, alas, did not win. I watched them as they were making the fringe and putting the final touches on the shawl. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The air was cool, the sun was out, the animals were adorable, kindred spirits were plentiful, and there were three barns full of fibery goodness – perfect!

Spotted at the Fiber Festival

What’s a Fiber Festival without goats and alpacas!

Angora Goats Duo 10/2014

Cibolo Creek Alpaca 10/2014

Adult Angora Goat 10/2014

A Place for Weaving

During our trip to Comfort in search of yarn, we discovered another little gem in the quaint historic district. Comfort Crockery is immediately across the street from The Tinsmith’s Wife. The main area is dedicated to original artwork by local and regional artists. The items included pottery, glassware, jewelry and mesquite furniture. But what really drew me in was a sign that read “Loom Room.”

It turns out that Comfort Crockery offers weaving classes and all the tools needed by spinners and weavers alike. They had spindles, spinning wheels, fiber and looms. I chatted with the owner who gave me a preview of wonderful things to come. She led me through a hallway that opened up into a cavernous room that was to become the Loom Room. There were piles of lumber, saw horses and tools scattered throughout. The room was being carefully renovated.

As I soon learned, Comfort Crockery is housed in a historic building designed in the mid-1800′s by architect Alfred Giles of San Antonio. The town itself was settled by German immigrants who were “freethinkers.”

Freethinkers were German intellectuals who advocated reason and democracy over religious and political authoritarianism. Many had participated in the 1848 German revolution and sought freedom in America. They strongly supported secular education and generally did not adhere to any formal religious doctrines. They applied themselves to the crafts of physical labor and divided their time between farming and intellectual pursuits. Freethinkers advocated universal equal rights, and their moral values were dominated by their respect for life. They actively supported such social issues as the abolition of slavery and the rejection of secession. (Source)

So our quaint afternoon in search of yarn became a wonderful mini history lesson. These are some of the things I saw at Comfort Crockery.

September FO: Chunky Newborn Hats

One of my very best friends in the whole world is having babies. Yes, plural, as in twins. Clearly, knitting was in order. She said she loved photographs of babies wearing those big chunky hats. Easy enough: two newborn knit hats with pompoms, for two boys. All I needed was the perfect yarn.

Luckily, The Tinsmith’s Wife had many gorgeous options. I present to you Slubby Blue by Fleece Artist in the Pansy colorway. Isn’t she beautiful?

Slubby Blue*

As easy as these hats were to knit, the task still seemed daunting. I really wanted them to look just right.

Newborn Hats 1

Newborn Hats 2

I’m generally pleased with how they turned out but still have doubts. They just seem so tiny. What if they’re not chunky enough? Maybe I should have made the pompoms bigger?

Newborn Hats 3

The time for fretting is over. By now, my friend will be opening the package. I hope the little ones like them.

Knitting in Comfort

Anytime I travel, besides booking a room and mapping out my route, I always look up local yarn stores. On our girl’s weekend to Fredericksburg, I found two listings that looked promising but turned into dead ends. Stonehill Spinning simply wasn’t there. In its place was a vitamin shop. I have nothing against vitamins but it was disappointing. The next shop, Things in a Room, was there on Main Street but no longer carried yarn.

But our adventure didn’t end in Fredericksburg. On our way back, we took US 87 south toward Interstate 10, which took us through Comfort, Texas. There, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, was The Tinsmith’s Wife.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Interior

Located in the historic downtown, The Tinsmith’s Wife fills six large rooms with beautiful, colorful, exquisite yarn. There is one room with a large table for sitting and knitting. Other sitting areas are scattered throughout. This one was my favorite. Can you imagine sitting there, knitting in comfort and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face?

The Tinsmith's Wife - Sitting Area

Then there was the yarn.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 1

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 2

Feeling light-headed yet?

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 3

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 4

You should have seen my mother and my aunt. They behaved like giddy school girls trying on the sample knits and choosing the yarns they wanted so that I could knit shawls, scarves and sweaters for them. Clearly they forgot that I actually do have a day job and do not, as much as I would like, spend all my days knitting.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 5

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 6

Wendy, the owner, was lovely and helpful. She let me know that The Tinsmith’s Wife is a stop along the 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl. The dates are already on my calendar.

2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl Logo
(Source)