A Day At The Estes Park Wool Market 2019

Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark

Last weekend I packed up the family and plenty of snacks to drive up to the Estes Park Wool Market. It’s a fun local wool festival that I enjoy visiting every year with a neat marketplace, classes, demos, and animals. Then when we’ve had our fill of the festival, we can head over to Rocky Mountain National Park which is always worth a visit. Since we had to skip the festival in 2018 (new baby + no sleep = so tired), I was really looking forward to going this year. Plus, it would be the Mini’s first fiber festival! How could we not go?

Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark

I wasn’t about to let precious knitting time go to waste and brought my Curve of a Boat shawl with me for the drive. The pattern was great for letting me knit and watch the scenery at the same time.

Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark
Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark

We started in the marketplace. Mini didn’t mind being pushed around in the stroller too much, but she definitely wanted to be carried around for a better view of all the yarn and excitement. Thankfully, she let me follow my usual festival shopping routine which looks like this.

  1. Go in with a list. I like to make a list of all the projects I’m shopping for and what materials I need. If the festival is going to be super crowded or huge, I check out the vendor list before hand and write down which ones I want to visit as well.

  2. Next I take a full circuit of the market place to see which ones catch my eye or might have something I want. Unless I see the absolute perfect yarn/fiber, I write down the vendor and their location so I can come back later. Admittedly, this is way easier to do at smaller festivals where backtracking isn’t so much of a hassle.

  3. Once I know which vendors I want to visit, I get down to shopping and trying not to get overwhelmed by all the pretty yarn. Knowing where I want to go helps me get exactly what I want for a project and not settle when the perfect thing might be in the next booth. And when I see a sample project that I like, I take a photo of the info so I can look it up later.

Once I know which vendors I want to visit, I get down to shopping and trying not to get overwhelmed by all the pretty yarn. Knowing where I want to go helps me get exactly what I want for a project and not settle when the perfect thing might be in the next booth. And when I see a sample project that I like, I take a photo of the info so I can look it up later.
Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark

My shopping list was pretty short this year. I only had two things on my list: a large, single skein gradient to knit Wingspan by Kyle Vey and fiber from Hummingbird Moon. I couldn’t find the colors I wanted for Wingspan but I did buy two very fun fiber bumps from Hummingbird Moon. The colors she dyes always spin up magically, and I can’t wait to see how these transform.

After finishing up in the marketplace, we took Mini on a walk to see all the animals. There were sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits. I’m pretty sure she liked seeing all these new and interesting animals, but was much more interested in getting lunch.

Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark #navajochurro
Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark #alpaca
Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark #llama
Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark #goats

We left the festival and grabbed burgers before spending the rest of the day wandering around downtown Estes park. I picked up a few souvenirs and just the right amount of chocolate drizzled caramel corn. It was a nice surprise to come across the Estes Park Area Weaver’s Guild during our walk. Their space was filled with huge floor looms and a giant walking wheel. The wheel and been repaired and restored, and my fingers were itching to give it a spin. Maybe it’s finally time to get back to my own spinning wheel.

Learn how to shop at a fiber festival, and follow along with me for the day at Estes Park Wool Market 2019. | withwool.com  #fiberfestival #epwoolmarket #spinning #knitting #estespark #spinningwheel

All in all, it as a good trip and a nice family adventure. We all had fun and I’m sure we’ll be back next year for the festival. We didn’t make it to Rocky Mountain National Park this time, but now we have a reason to go back to Estes Park again soon.

17 Fiber Arts Things That Made 2017 Great

I’ve enjoyed making lists since I was kid and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I wanted to write up a 2017 review, but couldn’t muster up the energy or motivation to write about in paragraph form. So, I’m taking a page from Austin Kleon’s blog and making a list of the knitting and spinning that made 2017 great. Somehow the 2017 list was 17 items long without any extra help from me.

All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com

1. The Bearded One and I going to our first fiber festival, Estes Park Wool Market.

2. Completing 100 Days of Spinning where I spun and worked with handspun yarn for almost all of those 100 days.

3. Putting in the work to design more knitting patterns. Most of them didn’t make it past the layout stage, but they’re so close to being released in 2018.

All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com

4. Releasing the Melded Scarf, a free pattern for a striped reversible scarf, in February.

5. Knitting a Boneyard shawl with my own handspun yarn.

6. Mostly staying on the sheep and being more conscious about my yarn and fiber buying. The stash is still worthy of the name Yarn Fort, but it hasn’t taken over any more space.

All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com

7. Spinning along with Tour de Fleece for the 5th row in year.

8. Pushing my spinning boundaries to try new batts and more textured yarns.

9. Going to Interweave Yarn Fest.

10. Finally playing around with the drum carder and figuring out how to use it.

All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com

11. Digging into my fiber stash and spinning a beautiful gradient from one giant batt. 8 matching skeins!

12. Taking my first ever spinning class about different ways to spin color with Maggie Casey.

13. Going to meetings and being a member of my local fiber guild.

All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com
All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com
All the #knitting and #spinning that made 2017 a great year. | withwool.com

14. The KIS hat and Mosaic Sisters patterns being used to teach classes on color work and mosaic knitting respectively.

15. Getting a whole room to use as my studio where I can work and get to all my art supplies, yarn, books, and notions. Wanted this for years so it’s great, but scary too.

16. Developing a new appreciation for hats knit with fingering weight yarn.

17. Wearing and enjoying my own hand knits. And seeing the Bearded One wearing and enjoying his hand knits too.

Estes Park Wool Market

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

Early this year I started putting together a list of 100 things I wanted to do. There are small things like riding my bike around town and big things like taking a trip to Yellowstone. I am no where close to even having 100 things I want to do written down, let alone completed, but a big chunk of that list is fiber arts related. No surprise, right? Well, I wrote “Go to a fiber festival” and I was finally able to do just that on Saturday at the Estes Park Wool Market.

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com
I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

There were sheep, goats, llama, and alpacas. Some of them really hammed it up for the camera.  

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

I tempted the Bearded One to come with me with the promise of herding dogs. We were able to see amazing Border Collies at work, and then we got to pet them! They were such a sweet bunch too. This handsome guy’s name is Bruiser.

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com
I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

There were so many venders with beautiful yarn and fiber, and I couldn’t resist enhancing the stash. I fell hard for 200 yards of bulky 100% alpaca spun together with metallic thread. So soft and cuddly. Then I broke from my usual color scheme and bought a wild variegated skein of pinks mixed with dark, muted colors by Traci Bunkers. And I got an awesome wool/bison felt hat from The Buffalo Wool Co. It kept the sun out of my face for the rest of the day. Looks good too. 

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

The last thing I bought was an orifice hook for my wheel. I’ve only been trying to find one that would comfortably fit my hand for literally years. I found this one at Clemes & Clemes. It’s made of hand turned maple with a long hook and a spot to attach a charm or lanyard. Tried it out when I got home and it’s perfect. 

Wool Market was a great first fiber festival and I’m looking forward to going again next year. Hopefully, I’ll remember to sign up for a class or two before the deadline. I’m also thinking about submitting a skein or two to the handspun competition.     

Saturday also happened to be World Wide Knit In Public Day. I made sure to get my knit on during a side trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

Interweave Yarn Fest 2016

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

Normally I hear about an interesting yarn/spinning convention/festival, find out it’s a day’s drive away, decide NOPE, and do my best to forget about it. Not this time. I’ve been looking forward to The Interweave Yarn Fest since I realized I’d be able to go without needing to spend a day in the car or book a hotel room. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any classes this year - and a few of them were really tempting - but that didn’t stop me from doing a little stash enhancement. 

I walked into the marketplace with a vague plan. I was looking for yarn and buttons for 2 projects and new types of fiber to spin. There was no shortage of yarn or fiber, but after doing my first walk around it was all fiber that really caught my eye. Then I got caught up in a whirlwind of yarn fumes until I escaped out the front door. I stuck to my shopping list, but looking at all of my fiber purchases now, I’ve realized that I bought something that satisfies every reason why I love to spin. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com
I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love trying my hand at spinning new fibers. I’ve spun lots of wool but only a few ounces each of cashmere and alpaca. So, one of my goals for this year is to expand my fiber repertoire, and now I’ve built the stash to do it. I’ve got yak/silk, llama/silk, and merino/silk. Apparently, I really wanted to spin silk this year and didn’t know it until now. The blue roving is 100% mohair. I even splurged on an ounce of ultra soft paco-vicuna. Looks like I’ve got a pretty full year ahead of me.

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love spinning color. I was walking by the 100th Sheep booth when I spotted this amazing blue and rust colored roving. There was no way those colors weren’t coming home with me. The 6oz of blended roving looked amazing spun up and I couldn’t resist it either. Note: The ball of roving is a big as my head.

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love learning new yarn constructions and new techniques. The handy Fiber Preparedness Kit packed full of punis, dyed locks, and roving seemed like a good way to branch out from my usual 2-ply. As for the firestar, there’s a drum carder coming my way and I want to make some sparkly batts. 

The market was also full of handspun and handspun-looking yarns. Inspiration and motivation was everywhere you looked. There was handspun with beads and coils. There was handspun that showcased color. There were absolutely gorgeous crepe constructed yarns that I want need to learn to spin. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love fun spinning and batts are fun spinning. This absolutely giant 8 oz batt (Ysolda’s Mousie for scale) fit the bill perfectly. I can’t wait to start tearing into that thing. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I only bought 3 skeins of yarn and none of them were for projects on my list. One of them was a secret gift and the other two, well, I’m a sucker for beautiful grey -  Stone Walk by Western Sky Knits - and a good gradient - white to purple by OgleDesign. Enough said. 

Now that the yarn fumes have faded, I’m happy I went. I came home with yarn, fiber, ideas, a ton of inspiration, and even a pair of earrings. Looking forward to going back to Yarn Fest next year. Until then I’m going to keep an eye for other fiber events to go too. What are your favorite festivals?

The 5 Reasons I Went To Stitches West

I got up bright and early Friday morning to go to Stitches West. I was wearing one of my favorite knitting cat shirts and a small matching scarf of my own making. In my backpack, I had knitting for the round trip train ride, extra shopping bags, a snack, and all my usual purse accoutrements. So, was it worth the almost 4 hours I spent on Caltrain and the Santa Clara VTA getting there and back? Yes. Absolutely, positively yes. Will I be going again next year? Definitely.

Stitches West is a like a yarn shop combined with a spinning shop, both of which are on steroids. This was the second time that I’d been to a Stitches event, the other being Stitches South, and both times were enjoyable. What’s more, these two events make me want to go to other festivals because they give me an idea of just how much amazing fiber goodness is out there. Here are the 5 reasons I went and why I try to go to other fiber festivals. 

All the yarn and fiber you could want. Even knowing what to expect, I was still completely overwhelmed when I walked through the doors. There was yarn to my left and yarn to my right. It came in every color of the rainbow and any weight you could want. I didn’t know where to start so I just walked the aisles trying to keep my mouth from falling open. I went with the intent of restocking my stash of spinning fiber and was completely spoiled for choice. A sweater’s worth of wool from Miss Babs, a brand new tote bag, and buttons came home with me too.

It’s easy to find new yarns and dyers. Once I had my wits back, I was able to start picking out individual booths that interested me. Many of these dyers I might never have found if I only had the internet to rely on, such as Wonderland Dyeworks. The second I walked by her booth I knew I couldn’t leave without some of that delicious fiber.

You can touch everything. Seriously, you are encouraged to feel yarn and fiber to gauge it’s softness and quality. There’s different breeds of wool, alpaca, llama, silk, and various plant fibers to get your hands on. 

There’s the chance to meet your favorite designers. The night before, I printed out Dotted Rays by Stephen West and cast on so I’d have some knitting for the train. The shawl pattern is a pretty straightforward knit with an ingenious treatment for the short rows. When I walked past the Mixtape booth, I had the opportunity to tell him how much I loved the pattern which was great to do face to face. 

Inspiration is everywhere you look. If you’re in a making funk, inspiration is all around you. Maybe it comes from a particular skein of yarn in a booth. Maybe you see an amazing shawl on someone’s shoulders. Maybe a bump of fiber gives you the jumpstart to spin for a sweater. Inspiration to knit, crochet, and spin is hard to miss.

Wander the Web 15

Autumn-Orange-Bobbin.jpg

I’m halfway through spinning a lovely and slippery bump of orange superwash merino. It’s been a great big learning curve but I think I’ve gotten a handle on it. The second half shouldn’t be so tough! 

 Overnight Pumpkin Butter

What It Means to Be an Introvert

How to be a Super Awesome Fan-Girl (or Guy) at Fiber Festivals

Halloween Pom-Poms! - Skulls, eyeballs, ghosts! I must make a few of each. 

Choose your Apocalypse! 

Dark and Stormy Caramel Corn

An empty parking lot becomes a temporary mini golf course. 

Malted Chocolate Chip Whoppers Cookies - I made these cookies on Thursday and they do not disappoint.