Chronicles of a yarn farmer, shepherdess, and fiber geek!

Chronicles of a yarn farmer, shepherdess, and fiber geek!

September 16, 2009

WSWF - Sheep, Spinning, Knitting

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival was a good combination of sheep shows and spinning and knitting classes. Initially we planned to take sheep and participate in the BFLBA show, but then decided to just go and enjoy the show instead of hauling sheep. It was great to have the freedom to move about without sheep duties. There was a lot of nice looking BFLs at the show. Steve and I did help out at the show on Saturday morning. I introduced the UK judge, John Stott, and acted as announcer and Steve helped with recording class placements and ring steward duties. He also helped during the NAMSS show on Sunday. I didn't get to take a lot of pics during the show because I was so busy. But here are a couple of pics that I did take:

I figured if we weren't taking sheep I might as well take classes. The WSWF offers some of the best classes! On Friday I took an all day "Spinning Fine Wool Yarns" with Patsy Z. We spun a variety of fibers and Patsy was a wealth of knowledge:

Then after the BFLBA show on Saturday morning, I moved on to my "Thrums Knitting" class. A thrum is a little piece of unspun fleece or roving that is knit into your project. Thrums make the inside of your garmet soft and fuzzy, and extremely warm. After a while the soft wool inside (the thrum) starts to felt and takes the form of the garmet. Thrums are used in hats, mittens, socks, and jackets. I think thrum mittens originated in Canada's provinces of New Foundland and Labrador. Here's a pic of each side of my knit sample from class:
Outside (right side) of my sample piece.

The inside of my sample.
That would make for extremely warm socks!

Then on Sunday I took an all-day "Binge" knitting class. It's pronounced Binga. In Halland, Sweden the old word for knitting is "bindslöjd" (the dialectal form "binge" is used to identify the knit designs and knitting patterns of the area). Traditionally, the binge patterns are knit in the colors of blue, white and red:

Samples of the Binge patterns

Bjärbo pattern - wrist warmers - half done
This is what I started in class.

Not much is written about Binge designs and knitting. Carol Rhoades taught the class and presented a wealth of information about the Binge designs and history. She gave us a list of some good resources about Binge. Most of the Internet searches I've done have come up in Swedish. Google will translate some of the sites which helps. Here are some links to some pictures of binge garmets: jerseys and caps (double flower, Bjarbo, Crown Princess Margareta's hat).

Then as I strolled through the vendor barns, I discovered a vendor that sold kits for Bohus hats. Of course, I had to pick up a couple. The patterns for the hats are in the book "Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Trandition (and the womens who drove this Swedish cottage industry)" by Wendy Keele. The kit is basically just the yarn.

The Swedish Bohus tradition and its 400+ designs allowed women to supplement their income during the depression in the 1930's and help their local economy. Here are a few pics of the hat kits I bought and the corresponding sweater in the same design in the book:

Design: Blue Shimmer

Design: Blue Shimmer

Design: Dean

Happy spinning, knitting, and/or shepherding!


Garrett808 said...

thanks for the great photos!! I love seeing the photos of the biggest class there!

maybe you could do a workshop in Minnesota or one of the Dakotas next year?? you can visit my farm then too!

Carol said...

If I'm ever in the area, Garrett, I'd love to visit your farm. I'd love to do a workshop in Minnesota!

I didn't get many pics of the BFLBA show because I was too busy announcing. Not too long after the batteries in my camera tanked :-( so I didn't get any other pics of the festival.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Thanks for posting the pictures of the wool festival.
That is very interesting about the thrums. They must make the garments really warm.