The Show et al. I neglected to mention we made a stop at Bendigo Woollen Mills, actually 2 stops because I was so far gone on Saturday I couldn't think straight so we went back on Monday and I bought 1 kg of cream alpaca. Also a 200gm ball of 3 ply grey that I thought for weaving but socks for the Bear sound better, and a ball of their wool/angora blend because it's so soft.
The show has gotten bigger in that there are more tents, etc. set up for commercial exhibits. This is not a fibre festival the way, for example, Rhinebeck is. It is primarily an agricultural show, and the showing and judging of livestock is the reason it is there. It has accumulated other stuff around it. I saw no new sources of fibre than I had seen in the previous 2 years and aside from the tactile and visual experience of seeing fibre, you could do all of this online. Most of the main fibre exhibitors also go to the Canberra wool festival as the Old Bus Depot markets in May. I may go only one day next year as part of a visit to Bendigo and not do the whole shebang.
We looked at all the sheep except the merinos who are in their new exhibit hall, saw the goats, and lots of alpacas. I will be writing an article about the show for Fiber Femmes so I will not go into excrutiating detail here. There seemed to be more alpacas in this show but I wasn't counting. They are all adorable and there seemed to be many more black ones this time. I love looking at the rarer sheep breeds but unfortunately you don't find fleece from these breeds on offer in the commerical sites. I'd love to see Romney or Border Leicester cross fleece but we seem to be drowning in either non-breed identified (no doubt some cross with a merino in there somewhere) or specifically merino. I would have to contact a breeder if I wanted a fleece of a specific breed like Romney or as I did with English Leicester. The coloured sheep folks always have such lovely stuff and I once again succumbed to their goods, buying 2 kg of charcoal grey fleece (see photo at right) which has a staple length of about 5" and tips aren't very bleached. It was labelled as black but, even knowing we have no truly black sheep, I could see silvery hairs in this. The left is alpaca from Petlyn's who also make wool combs. The fleece feels light as air and has some darker streaks thoughout. I do love spinning and wish I had more time to knit so why am I blogging??? I am currently spinning some CVM (California Variegated Mutant) which came in a 1 oz sample of rare breeds I bought at Rhinebeck from Spirit Trail. It is dark brown and is spinning up very finely which I did not expect. I also now have a real inkle loom and now (I hope) can weave with cotton because this loom has a better shed opening than the one I had which could only handle fibres with give like wool and also had a much shorter length for the finished project. I also bought 100 gm lots of mohair/angora, Finn/cashmere, 100% cashmere (white), silk (dyed), Polwarth/silk (dyed), Optim (white) and lots of dyes, both Landscape and Gaywool, which were much cheaper than I found them elsewhere.