Well, I suppose it’s about time I told you about our trip to WI Sheep and Wool a couple of weekends ago. For once, I did remember to bring my camera to a fiber festival, but I can’t say I took a lot of pictures.

We arrived around lunchtime on Saturday, and spent the whole afternoon wandering the two big show barns full of yarn. That part is all a blur of yarn and fiber and friendly faces from the Madison spinning guild.

I picked up a few more dye colors, adding Navy, Russet, Crimson, and Hot Fuchsia to the collection. I forsee more sampling in my future.

And we scored a set of sample cards from my friend Anne’s Blackberry Ridge woolen mill, which I hope will produce a scheme for a colorwork sweater sometime very soon.

Finally, I picked up two skeins of a subtly shaded blue-black yarn from Miss Babs to go with the skein from Stitches. I’ve been noodling around with a design that I’m pretty excited about, but it’s an “interesting” construction and therefore requires much sampling to make sure it will work. I think I’m on (very small) sample sweater #5 now, trying to get the shaping right before committing to a full sized version.

My favorite find of the day was this 2.5 pounds of Cormo roving, just waiting to be dyed up and spun into this years’ handspun sweater. We bought it from the farmer who’d grown the wool and had it processed, and it is beautiful stuff. There’s some for me and some for the shop, once I figure out what to do with it. (Blank slate syndrome is even stronger with “special” stuff.)

We also went to the fleece silent auction, where I resisted a whole room full of fleeces just begging to be taken home.

Many of the fleeces were pretty dirty looking, but there were several Targhees that were calling my name. I didn’t even know I liked Targhee, but it’s now high on my must-get-someday list.

During the afternoon, we met up with Becky and her mom Sandy, and Branden pitched the tent. We spent the evening knitting, plastic-canvasing (Sandy), and reading (Branden) before turning in.

In the morning, we wandered over to the breakfast hall, where Branden ate and I spent a long time talking with the guys are Hogge Millwork about their drum carders. During the walk through the market, and especially during the silent auction, it had begun to seem like quite a good idea to get a carder to help me process fleeces faster (so I can buy more!), and to explore making batts. I particularly like the Hogge carders because they are modular and can be upgraded over time rather than bought all at once. Something to think about, but not quite yet.

We also wandered over to the Hall of Breeds, where we got to see some newly minted lambs.

And many other breeds of sheep. The funniest was the Jacob:
Just look at those horns! We couldn’t decide if they’d make him really hard to work with, or if they’d make great handles for hanging on to. Either way, it must be quite a workout just holding up that head!