Taos Wool Festival – A Fiber Freak’s Paradise

Last weekend Mike and I attended the Taos Wool Festival in New Mexico. It was a great weekend. Not only did we get a chance to get away from it all, we also got to see the cottage fiber industry as it stands in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas up close and personal.

Not one fiber from any major yarn company was present. There were no crafty big box stores; every booth represented small, private enterprise. I had a great time feeling as much of the roving and yarn that I could and drinking in all of the colors. I also made a few purchases which will come up in later posts.

There were demonstrations and classes. The animals that make it all possible were also there:

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Goats were also present, but they were too skittish for pictures. People who harvested angora from rabbits also brought their bunnies.

There was a shearing demonstration. Mike said that the sheep did not look very excited to be part of it:

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Demonstrators showed their skill in carding, weaving, and spinning. Of course, all of this equipment was for sale.

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All kinds of fleece, art work – from loom work to felting – and premade handknit items that were white and suitable for dyeing, were available for purchase. It was a wonderful place to buy crafted items, fleece lined shoes and clothing, hand knitted clothing, felted clothing and accessories, blankets, felted hats, shawls – the list goes on.

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I was interested in the yarn and fleece. In the picture on the left, I am examining yak roving. The pile on the left, which I am holding, is pure yak, at $7/ounce. The pile on the right was a blend of yak and alpaca, at $8/ounce. Unprocessed yak was only $2 an ounce, but required washing and carding. The wool in the photo on the right is from Navajo-Churro sheep.

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Alpaca seemed to be the most prevalent fiber. Neither Mike nor I realized that so many people raised alpacas and llamas. Angora rabbit fleece was also available. It was delightfully soft and very white. I couldn’t help buying some.

So, you might be asking, why did I buy a bunch of fleece when I am a crocheter? That, my friends, is for another post. But, before I get to that, there is much more to share about the wool festival …

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