Ready for Day2?
The Estes Park Wool Market was a really fun experience that was wrapped up in so many wonderful layers I can never describe it in photos and text but I'll try. As Margene says, no yarn or fiber would ever cause her to drive that kind of distance - she goes for the friendships and people. All I can add is that it's rare to find so many people in one place that have the same enthusiasm for yarn and fiber without driving 8+ hours!
When I was a kid growing up our family hobby was collecting/flying/restoring antique airplanes, aviation history, and the people who had similar interests. Part of the hobby truly is the people and the travel part is just another layer of the fun I had over the weekend and when I was a kid.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am Mountain Time (6:30 in Kansas). I was amazed when I realized what time it was because it was total daylight outside!! I made a tricky batch of scones - high altitude never crossed my mind when I was preparing the mix so I had to wing it .... and then ended up overbaking them anyway because of the further oven adjustments that should have been made. They were okay but eh... not as great as they should have been. If there's a "next time" I won't be forgetting about the adjustments necessary!
We did a bit of spinning and knitting then packed our water bottles and left for the Estes Park Fair Grounds. Estes Park is a pretty small town so everything is within just a few minutes drive and often within walking distance - and the streets weren't ever very crowded during the weekend. I'm sure it gets a little worse during the busiest tourist season but still I just can't imagine it being too crazy. I definitely want to return to Estes Park and explore the Rocky Mountains National Park - I was sorry to leave without getting to take some hikes and really visit the mountains.
The market was free to enter and parking was $4 per car for all day, even if you left and came back. Our password to return after lunch was "Troop 10" because the Boy Scouts were helping with the parking. heh
I was on Margene's heels for a good part of the day - she already knew of her favorite vendors and where their "spot" would be after visiting prior years - so she made the wise choice of hitting the Plain and Fancy Wool corner first thing! Getting there early ensured the best selection and wow - people were walking around there with armloads of yarn!! Gorgeous choices - mostly single ply sport weight yarn spun from the wool of Grayce's own sheep and dyed in a mind boggling array of irresistable colors. I kept thinking "what? buy yarn at the first place? shouldn't I pace myself?" But when Margene said this would probably be the only yarn she bought during the entire weekend I decided I better take advantage of this opportunity! I left with two skeins for a Comfort Shawl and one skein that I hope to use for a Forest Canopy shawl. Good call Margene! The only other yarn I bought at the show was one skein of Trekking XXL in a colorway I couldn't resist! :)
Somehow I got seperated from Margene at this point and she made a bee-line for Tracy Eichheim's spindles where she picked up a hummingbird design spindle with our Hummingbird Whisperer, Val. There was a hummingbird feeder at the cabin where we stayed and the hummingbirds kept coming over and sitting on the windowsill just outside where Val was knitting by the window.
I soon made my way to the Tracy Eichheim booth because I was also searching for a new spindle on this trip. Little did I know of Tracy's reputation as a master spindle maker and the experience I would have chatting with him and his wife Jean. When I got to their booth I was talking to Jean a little and asking a few questions. She was mentioning a few details on their spindles but kept saying "he can tell you all about it, he can tell you why it's like that, he can tell you what would work best for your needs, he spins on every one before he's satisfied that it's ready to sell." I thought "oh, maybe I'll still be here when he's done talking to those other people." Wow, it was worth the wait! He came STRAIGHT over to me when he was finished talking to the other people and we had a very long pleasant and educational discussion about the physics of spindles, their construction, what type and weight I need for the weight of yarn I want to be making, what makes them spin well and many of the special features that make his spindles work so well. I left with joy in my heart and a 1.9oz walnut comet spindle in my bag. After reading all of the comments Margene received about her hummingbird spindle I am even happier that I asked to have my picture taken with Tracy, and there at the bottom you can see that I'm holding my new spindle. What a treasure and awesome experience - and yes - it does spin like a dream. I hope to collect more of Tracy's spindles and I can only hope that I get to purchase them directly from the master himself.
At 11:00am was the blogger meet-up! Yay! Look at all the people - and I hardly know any of them except Margene! Oh yes, I do know Miriam and Marissa and I met Jean and Erin and Kara too. And Kristi! Can't forget her... and I was happy to see that I managed to get her picture holding the famous cover-socks from Spin-Off (in the first picture below of her chatting with Mim).
After lunch and a quick run back through the market (to pick up a few things we had to think about and see if there was anything else we couldn't live without) a group of us went back to the cabin to rest up before dinner and wash the dust from our feet. We ooh'd and aah'd over the fleeces purchased by Karen and Miriam, knit a bit, tried new spindles, and showed off our yarn purchases.
We soon concluded that it was time to head off to The Stanley Hotel for cocktails. It was a fun place to visit and I'm sure it would be a wonderful place to stay.
I even got a little video clip of Mim spinning in front of The Stanley Hotel:
So we had some drinks, I took a million bad pictures, and then we went to dinner. Bye Stanley Hotel - see you next time! On to dinner at Claire's on the Park!
It's possible that there are bad restaurants in Estes Park but we didn't find one, and the service was always friendly and sometimes even fun! By the time we left Claire's our waitress was ready to take the weekend off for next year's Wool Market and learn to knit and spin so she could hang out with us! We should have told her that knitting and spinning isn't required. :)
Everywhere we went the mountains were an automatic background - at the fair grounds and even during our dinner on the patio at Claire's.
We went back to our cabin after dinner for more knitting and spinning with pleasant company. It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day.
Tomorrow - how could I forget the animals at the Market?! And my trip home.
Daily Square Report:
With today's mail we're adding 40 squares and one cloth to our totals! Hooray! That makes 1427 squares received (can you believe we're almost up to 1500!?) and only 813 needed to reach the 40-ghan goal. Whew. That is just a LOT of squares! Forty squares came from just four packages y'all!!! I'm using the word "amazing" a lot to express how I feel about this project and the daily squares, etc - and I guess I'll probably wear that word out because I continue to be amazed by the squares coming in and the correspondence accompanying them.
URG. I could not get a good "stack" photo today and they're already put away - sorry. Also the movie I promised is WAY too big to upload to YouTube (there's so much to learn about this stuff). I even went out and took another movie and it's too big too! You'll just have to check out the "put together" pictures today and this picture of Lila Pearl with the afghan. :)
Two of today's packages were extra fun surprises. I'm really enjoying the bond I feel with the people sending squares (and other stuff!) but some people like to remain more private than others. Of course that's just fine - but do I love getting letters and cards with packages telling about the people who knit them and what makes this project special to them.
One package I got today was from someone that I already feel like I know because she's been on my list of favorite ebay sellers for over two years (before I even moved back to Kansas!) and people mention her all over blogland. Linda of Emtnestr fame sent a package of squares and a lovely letter explaining that years ago when her children were babies she lived in this area and had the experience of taking cover in the basement for protection from a tornado. She lives in Vermont now and it was such a happy treat to receive her squares and nice letter.
The second surprise package was packed full of squares and a letter from Tricia in Pennsylvania. Tricia explained that she read about this project soon after it began and was so touched that she took the story and pattern into to her spinning guild meeting in May asking for help from her friends at the guild meeting. At the June meeting she was greeted with a beautiful stack of squares. Her young neighbor Kathleen (16yrs old) also knit a square when she came over for dinner and to spend the evening.
Oh how I love these letters and the expressions of caring that are being extended to the families of Greensburg. I'm so anxious to look into a crystal ball and see the end of this afghan story - to know how many afghans we will have and to express to the families in Greensburg that they represent a lot of prayers and caring and reassuring hugs from people around the world wishing them the best possible future as they rebuild their lives and community in Greensburg. But I know it's the process and experiencing the project as it seems to take on a life of its own is quite an adventure. Thank you everyone for all you're doing to help.
Today's squares have come from the following people:
Donna - Reston, VA
Linda - Wallingford, VT
Barbara - Papillion, NE (this is at least the third package from Barbara! Woot!)
Tricia - East Stroudsburg, PA ("North Country Spinners" Jean, Tricia, Jenny, Caroline, and 16yo neighbor Kathleen)
Knit On everybody! I'll be back again tomorrow with more squares, more pictures, and a farewell to Estes Park. :)