Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Albatross, check. Fleeces bought, check.


Black-footed Albtross
Originally uploaded by Bill Walker
Hi knitters,

I'm back from my Marin / Mendocino weekend and it was a huge success, both for birds and for fiber. We drove up Thursday night to stay with a friend whom we met on our Alberta birding expotition, back in July. On Friday, the three of us got up before 5 am to be at the boat dock at Bodega harbor by 6:30 am. *groan* We were out from 7:30 am until 6 pm on the smoothest, glassiest ocean I've ever seen and ran into *large* flocks of shearwaters and storm petrels, along with smaller counts of fulmars, puffins, murrelets, jaegers and Sabine's Gulls. Oh, yeah, and quite a few Black-footed Albatross! If you look behind the albatross's head in the photo on the right, you can see how smooth the water was. I mean, it looks more like pond water than an ocean. It was just amazing. And did I mention the blue whales? This trip is going down in my memory as The Best Pelagic Ever.

Saturday we slept in a bit, had leisurely breakfast with our hosts in San Rafael and then struck out for Mendocino county. First stop: California Wool & Fiber Festival. I visited Margit in her booth & bought some nice dyed roving and a pattern. Then I bravely approached the Wall o' Fleeces... and fell in love.

The object of my affection is a silver grey Romney-Coopworth fleece, raised by Anna Harvey. The fleece weighs 9.5 pounds. Yes, *pounds*. It has long crimpy locks and a beautiful sheen. (Click through the photo link to a bigger view. Look at the color! The curl! Mmmmm, luscious.)

I talked over my fleece choice with the gals staffing the sales table, Linda Klein and Nancy Finn (yes, that Nancy Finn!!), who told me that it is quite clean and the sheep wore a coat. We admired staple length and the different shades of grey. Thus enabled, I plunked down a larger sum of money than one might expect to possess this fleece utterly. (Mine. Mine, my precious!)

I bought a second fleece, which may or may not turn out to be anything -- but it was very, very inexpensive at $6.25 and it's a Shetland. I was suckered in by the idea of spinning with fleece from this all-important breed. I think I might dye it.

I took both fleeces off to Shari at Morro Fleece Works for cleaning & carding into pin drafted roving. I'm still waffling though, about the decision to have that gorgeous grey fleece turned into a single-shade, evenly colored roving. Maybe I should do what Nancy Finn was hoping to do if she scored that fleece, and comb or card it myself into different shades of grey. Then again, can you imagine how much time that would take me? I felt better about sending the fleece off for carding with Nancy's support ("Oh no", she said, "just give yourself permission to spend the time on the spinning." And it felt like a blessing to go the way I have to go for now. 9.5 lbs? Prepared by hand? I'd be at the preparation until 2010!)

I left my fleeces with Shari and drove off to the rest of my Mendocino adventure - wine tasting in the Anderson Valley and our Sunday pelagic trip, which featured approximately the same birds plus the South Polar Skua in much worse seas in beautiful sunlight. I lost my lunch only once, thanks to my new anti-seasick patch, huzzah! We stayed over Sunday night and drove home Monday just in time for Knitting Guild and a four day work week. I plan to spend every boring conference call dreaming of crimpy grey wool. Mmmmm, soothing grey wool running through my fingers. Sooooo much more interesting that the day job!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Kristi said...

I love the happy smile on your face :)

September 18, 2007 3:17 PM  
Blogger Bogie said...

Great score! I support the decision to have the wool prepped. Maybe some day there'll be a drum carder in close proximity, but for now enjoy your new found love (lust?) for spinning!

September 18, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Did you see "The Birds" on television last night? Good job it was not showing before your weekend away - large flocks of birds in Bodega Bay would have kept me on edge!

9lbs sounds a lot of fleece - it will keep you spinning a while :-)

September 18, 2007 4:48 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful weekend! Wow. The fleeces is nices. Mmmmm. Hopefully I will get a chance to see it in action!

September 18, 2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! That is a lot of fleece!! and it is getting dangerously close to having an actual sheep of your own. Fight the urge. Sounds like you had a great weekend. I'm jealous. Mom

September 19, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Wiz Knitter said...

I'm with Mom... you're only one middleman removed from actual shepherdess! As your brother likes to say when he gazes out at our backyard, "mmmm... rows... of... corn..."

September 20, 2007 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

I'm way jealous - what lovely fleece! I can't wait to see how it evolves into some type of FO.

Let me know if you need some dyes ;)

September 22, 2007 11:15 AM  

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