Welcome to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Wimi is on a quest to find fiber. She was intrigued by the Carolina Thread Trail, but it turns out that was something entirely different.
She made her first fiber sighting at the Art & Soul of South End craft show:
This is Carmen Coles of Blueberry Hill Farm in Grover, NC. The Coles have 2 guard llamas and 9 alpacas (with one more in the oven, Carmen says). They have raised alpaca since June 2006. The suri alpaca they raise have long, silky dreadlocks, which is lovely but has no memory. So when it's processed at New Era Fiber in Lebanon, Tenn., it has to be mixed with 20 percent of something else — wool, silk, bamboo. The Coles name their yarn for the alpaca that produced the fiber. Wimi just couldn't decide which alpaca she liked best, so she selected Herd Blend, made up of bits of fiber from the whole herd and blended with 15% merino and 5% mohair. Wimi was having fun wallowing in the mounds of fiber until Carmen starting talking about alpaca spit. Eww. Gotta go!
Time for a little rest:
Nice chair, huh? It used to be in the garden of a little lady named Mrs. Davis. Then photographer Curtis Krueger of Wilmington, NC, got the idea to carry this chair to every state in the United States and take its picture. He did it the old-fashioned way, actually carrying the chair up mountains and into fields and using film cameras. After seven years, 40,000 miles and about 550 rolls of film, he was done. Well, almost — he didn't yet have a picture of Wimi cooling her little knitted heels in the chair! You can see images of Mrs. Davis' Chair across America at CurtisKrueger.com.
A slice and a pop gives enough energy to walk a mile or so to Charlotte Yarn, where, wooHoo!
Cat Babbie, who works at the shop, told us a little about their efforts to broaden their crochet horizons. They were inspired largely by the interesting, impressive garments in Interweave Crochet (really! we didn't pay her to say that or anything!). Believing that crochet has "grand potential" to be as large as knitting, they're starting up classes. They have a number of students, from middle-schoolers up to grandmas. While we were there, we met a woman who was trying to convert a crocheted design to knitting. Why not just crochet it? we wondered. No, she was having none of it. Bless her heart.
Wimi had quite a lot of fun fiddling with the fiber, but left with a button, handmade by Cat. She made it at the Cub Creek Foundation in Appomattox, Va. It's stoneware embellished with lines formed pressed pine needles, then salt-fired. We don't have a picture, but you can see Cat's work at tanglesandmud.etsy.com.
That building really is pink. Wimi wants to live there.
Happy crocheting, in whatever city you find your best adventure!
p.s. Wimi really, really wants to go to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend. Alas, we simply cannot make the trip. If you go, can you please tell us what you learn about crochet while you're there? It would make Wimi happy. And, really, we're all about making Wimi happy.