Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lopi dreams, Hampshire heaven, big trouble

Gypsy, an Icelandic fleece from Hedgegrove Farm, Le Moille, IL.

My favorite kind of fiber fair is the small local one, like Fiber in the Park in Earlville this weekend.  Cozy, friendly, completely local and with plenty of fiber for everyone.  You know from past posts I don't need to go to Rhinebeck to fill my car with fiber.  Lovely Icelandic fleeces were readily available at the Hedgegrove Farm booth staffed by Michael Bates, a friendly and informative shepherd. (You can find him through Local Harvest).

I was admiring his fleece realizing I have yet to spin Icelandic wool, except maybe maybe at a guild event,  and all I could think of was combs and heavy leather gloves to keep me from impaling myself.  I don't own combs for the same reason I don't needle felt.  I'm a klutz when it comes to crafting with sharp objects.  I muttered something about carding it and an attentive Mr. Bates said the magic word "Lopi" and I could see myself sitting at my Lendrum filling the giant bobbin with lovely lightly spun singles and making a really cool Icelandic sweater.  Which of course led me to buy two fleeces.  One is from Feta, who came along and was very friendly, so I had to buy her fleece.  And the one above which has some brown, and I can dye some of it for a pretty yoke.

This is where I got in trouble.
 Two fleeces is a pretty good haul for any fiber festival, but I had my husband with me, and Hedgegrove Farm happened to have a pile of unskirted Hampshire fleeces a shepherd friend gave him to get rid of.  I was kind of interested in just one, but I was also sort of distracted by the other fleeces.  Ted is the business type who enjoys negotiating and in buying Gypsy and Feta we ended out with six bags filled with Hampshire.  Now this is one of the down breeds of sheep, and the wool has a springy, crimpy hand.  It is quite soft, dyes well and many people love it for  socks.  The beautiful thing about this particular Hampshire is the six to seven inch staple length!  The stuff is lovely!

But it needs work, including skirting.  I've set up a skirting table in the garage and I will be getting to it after work tomorrow.  Craftsteading has never been so good!

Tomatoes and zucchini from the farmers market.

On the same Saturday, we stopped by the Farmers Market where I picked up two pecks of plum tomatoes from my favorite farm from Maple Park, IL.  That was enough to make two big pots of pasta sauce. One was a peck of tomatoes and mushroom marina, and above is my special recipe tomatoes, zucchini and pepper pasta sauce.  The freezer if filling up with the flavor of summer.  I also had enough to make a big vat of tomato, zucchini and black bean chili!

This is Feta: gray Icelandic with colorful yoke?
 I said goodbye to my 36 inch, counterbalance four-harness loom today as it was packed into a little red sedan bound for Oklahoma.  I'm glad she'll have a new good home and will continue to produce lovely cloth.  Plus, I've learned something important: yes, you can have too many looms!


  1. Oh, fabulous! I was wondering if someone we know would end up with the Hampshires or at least some of the beautiful fleeces he had.

    Can't wait to see the fleeces all spun up!

  2. How about sharing that zuchinni x tomato recipe with your sister in law. It looks like something that would be good with sausage sliced up in it.
    Those fleeces look really great and I don't even know one from another.