Friday, October 08, 2010

My friend, Michelle Hoffee, and I attended the Taos Wool Festival this year (Oct. 2nd and 3rd). I have been twice before and love this event. The vendors must be from New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas so there are booths here that I don't see at other shows. And there are many small cottage industry vendors who are raising their own animals, making things with their hands, etc. I love to patronize people who are raising their own flocks and working so hard to bring beautiful fibers to the handspinning world.

We started our trip in Chimayo, a small weaving community about halfway between Santa Fe and Taos, and spent the night in a wonderful B&B called Casa Escondidas. This is alovely little inn about a mile on a dirt road off the main highway.
Next to Casa Escondidas is a winery. This beautiful yellow plant, Chamisa, proved to be the bane of the trip. A good dye plant, thousands of them blooming along the road and in the hills, but a cause of much sinus distress to my travelmate.
On the way out of Chimayo, we stopped in to Centinela Weavers, the business of of Irvin and Lisa Trujillo, famous local weavers who have won many, many awards for their weaving. Their work is amazingly beautiful. To my delight, we were able to see Lisa weaving a beautiful blanket and had a great talk with her.

Next stop on the way to Taos was a visit to the Espanola Valley Arts Center, just down the road and over the Rio Grande River from Chimayo. We bought an assortment of dye stuffs and I bought a book on the Colcha embroidery.
On the road to Taos, we made two stops for New Mexico red chili powder and some Hatch chilis and chili powder. Many people had their chili roasters going. Guess this was the season. I went for medium hot and Michelle got extra hot. Oh, boy! Here's a shot of the Taos Guesthouse with the afternoon thunderheads looming in the distance. Although it threatened rain every afternoon, we only had a few drops one day.
Here we are on our way to the wool festival, walking up the quaint New Mexican streets of Taos. Our B&B was up this road, Kit Carson Road, about a mile.
This was the front of a small museum.

The road to the middle of town -- looking the other way up Kit Carson Road.
Here we are at the festival, which is held outside in Kit Carson Park.
One of the many fiber booths.
Another booth with lots of fleeces and fibers.
The first morning was our time for "serious" shopping as we sought out our three favorite vendors: Kai Mohair, Anniroonz, and Rocky Mountain Colored Sheep Breeders co-op booth.
On the right at the Anniroonz booth is Myrtle Dow -- Mama Sheep (Black Pines Sheep) -- who has been instrumental in breeding some of the most lovely award-winning fleeces. To the left is Nancy Irlbeck from Anniroonz Ranch and Ann Morrison from Wind Dance Ranch. Michelle bought a few fleeces: a jet black Wensleydale, a white Teeswater and a white Wensleydale, a very curly white Wensleydale lamb, and we split a beautiful white Wensleydale with a staple length of about 5-6 inches. At the Colored Sheep Breeders booth, we split a cocoa brown fleece of CVM, Cotswold and Corriedale.

Our first stop, though, was Kai Mohair, owned by Lisa Shell from Texas. She has the most gorgeous mohair. Both Michelle and I bought tons of Lisa's solar-dyed kid mohair rovings and mohair curls. All of her fibers are very soft and beautiful and we'll use them for spinning and other fiber arts projects.
Here is Michelle showing Lisa a skein of art yarn she spun using some Kai kid mohair and curls.
Some of my stash from the Kai Mohair booth. Luscious colors.
Here are some sheep that are waiting to be sheared and some that have already lost their fleeces. There's always a sheep shearing demo.
After attending the wool festival, we meandered around some of the shops in Taos. LaLana Wools (owned by Luisa Gelenter) is a must -- beautiful naturally-dyed yarns, handspun yarns and sample garments of the many patterns they offer. I love this very artsy shop. We also stopped in at Weaving Southwest, now in a new larger space.
Weaving Southwest has stunning weavings, art to wear, hand-dyed yarns and weaving and spinning supplies. Another must on a trip to Taos.
And we happened upon an absolutely fabulous fabric store -- Common Threads -- where we bought buttons, ribbons, fabric and silk scarves. If we only had such a treasure in our area.
Had to have our picture taken in the fabric store. We had many nice comments on our felted pieces that we were wearing.
Last stop on our trip to Taos was a drive out over the Rio Grande River Gorge and a visit to the famous Earthships. These are ecologically friendly houses that are built into the ground using all manner of recycled materials. A little eerie out there, but very interesting.
Michelle at the entrance to the visitors' center.
A close up of the spire with recycled bottles.
A new structure that is being built -- using old tires and cans.
A beautiful wall using recycled cans and colorful bottles -- the afternoon sun shining through.
Well, it was a more than wonderful trip and I've reserved my room for next year. Lots of trips and adventures to look forward to in 2011.

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