Still unpacking


I’m still taking stuff out of boxes and trying to fit it into the new puzzle that is Sparrow Hill, the house that is currently called home. Unpacking is an interesting process when everything was boxed up at lightening speed by a crew of strangers who knew little about the textile arts. A box that was marked as loom parts contained a spinning wheel, and most of the small looms got boxed up generically as art supplies.

I want to do this right, examining everything and deciding whether I still need to keep it. It’s a balancing act between not being wasteful and not being encumbered by stuff. It’s OK to have things if you use them.

I have discovered things that I had long forgotten, like a small pile of silk and linen that I dyed blue with indigo. I am being drawn back to the dye pot, back to working with indigo and madder. I’ve been talking about these dyes again, thinking out loud. “But what about yellow?” asked a friend who has just started dying silk fiber.  I just gestured to the meadow. Yellow is out there.

Massachusetts Sheep And Wool Festival

There were sheep, and there was wool. That’s a proper festival, right? Sheep amaze me. I seldom photograph them, but I love watching them and especially listening to them. Maybe little lambs bleat, and goats certainly do, but adult sheep have a monosylabic, emphatic BAH that sounds a lot like a person doing a bad sheep imitation.

Even in the pouring rain, it was a good festival. It’s much smaller than the NY Sheep and Wool, but somehow it is distilled to be the best parts of a festival. There were lots of vendors selling fiber tools, and there was a lot of fiber. That means less yarn and less miscellaneous stuff. That’s fine with me.

I bought tools and fiber.


Shall we start with the looms?

The tapestry loom is from Stephen Willette and he designed it so that you can warp directly onto a pair of rustic sticks and weave the tapestry in between them.

The tape loom with a small bit of weaving on it was made by Regina Britton, who is the author of Tape Loom Weaving Simplified. The tape loom is the precursor of the inkle loom, and it’s used to weave weft-faced bands.

The loom with the cheery red knobs is a vintage Bon Hop loom, and it’s a type of rigid heddle loom. I’ve wanted a rigid heddle loom for some time, but I refuse to have one with plastic parts. The Bon Hop is all wood.

The fiber is Cormo top from Foxhill Farm in Lee, MA. Cormo can be as soft as Merino but it doesn’t have that sticky candy floss feel while spinning it.

The smaller tools are some clever little things. On the left is a cone stand from Hampden Hills Alpacas

On the right is a small yarn bowl, also by Stephen Willette.

The really small stuff in the front is a wing-nut tightener from The Wheel Thing and a set of colorful cable needles. The needles were a gift from J. but I know you can get them from Hampden Hills Alpacas.

See what I mean about a small festival full of good stuff? Go next year, if you possibly can. The festival is held at the Cummington Fairgrounds and it is held on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Buy a weekend pass for $15. and leave early on Saturday so that you can go to Webs in Northampton. Then return to the festival on Sunday for more festival fun.