Today is the first day of the 32nd annual Taos Wool Festival! I wanted to share this this weaving by Joe Bacon with you as a kick off to the festivities. To me, this piece embodies the origins of this festival… a place for sheep ranchers and wool artisans to gather, learn and enjoy delicious treats (the roasted almonds are my favorite)!
Woven with 100% natural Churro Wool, Joe combined hand-spun yarn with tufts of unwashed natural fleece. When Joe first brought this piece in it smelled real funky, like a sheep had just walked in the door. I was in love at first sight. This style of weaving allows for the natural beauty of the fibers to speak for themselves.
Wool Festival was born to bring ranchers and fiber lovers together, to help create sustainable lifestyles for both parties. You can read more about the 1st Taos Wool Festival in this article (its a good one). For us, being in the fiber world and owning Weaving Southwest, is more than just running a business.
To us it is all about supporting people in doing what they love. We are lucky enough to be in the position to do this… whether it be the ranchers that raise the Churro sheep in the mountains of northern New Mexico, or the spinners who operate and maintain a mill in a rural town on the East Coast, or the fiber artist that has chosen this art form as their way to express beauty or the student who has longed to weave for decades and finally has found the time to peruse their dream. To us it is all about supporting each other.
Without the rancher, there would be no wool. Without the spinner there would be no yarn. Without the yarns shop, there would be no place for an artist to scan shelves of yarn for the perfect color. Without the artist, the yarn shop would not exist, nor would the spinner or the rancher. And then there is the most important factor… the sheep. Without all of our love for what we/they do, then where would the sheep even belong. So, once again, to Joe’s piece… lets all close our eyes, draw in a breath and say it aloud “Let Us Now Praise Famous Sheep”!
And with that, let us all ring in the 32nd annual Taos Wool Festival! Let the festivities begin!
If you are in Taos for the Wool Festival, make sure to check out Tierra Wool’s booth. You will likely see Toni and Molly there, tell them Teresa sent you and be sure to stock up on their beautiful yarns (I’m talking three bags full!). Their yarns are amazing and their colors are superb! Then make sure to head on over to Fred Black’s booth, if not only for inspiration. But beware, you may end up walking away with a rug or two. Bettye and Alex George Sullivan will also be there, make sure to check out their beautiful rugs on your route through the festival. Oh, and don’t forget to grab a bag of roasted almonds and meander on over to the sheep shearing. This really is one of the best parts of Wool Festival!
When the crowed gets overwhelming or you just need a break, head on up to Arroyo Seco and come see what we have been up to. Joe and I have been dyeing up a storm. Our shelves are full of freshly dyed Rug Yarn, 2-ply Tapestry Yarn, Churro Yarn and a beautiful Alpaca blend. Our artists have brought is several new pieces, so the textiles are sure to bring you a bit of joy. If you haven’t been here before, just head north to Arroyo Seco. We are smack-dab in the center of the village and Joe Bacon’s beautiful piece is hanging outside our shop. You can’t miss us!
On top of the normal beauty of Seco and our shop, we have a few special things for you!
First off, have you picked up the latest issue of Handwoven Magazine? Our wonderful weaver, Kim Hamill, won the Handwoven Magazine’s Reader Challange! She is featured in the September/October issue and we have this beautiful blanket displayed in our shop! To me, this is how I imagine the perfect blanket to be: beautifully woven, slightly coarse, just heavy enough to keep you cozy and color combinations that make you drool. Kim is one of the most amazing and versatile weavers I know. I feel so lucky to call her part of our Weaving Southwest family. Kim was also invited to do a review of our Churro yarns for Handwoven. If you haven’t seen the issue, be sure to pick it up, download it or just stop by to see the wonderful samples she wove… and her beautiful blanket!
Second, there is more Churro news. We just received a sweater in the mail from the amazing Maureen O’Doogan. You may or may not have heard of her before, but “Holy Cats!” (as our daughter would say) she is a knitting force to be reckoned with. She created a sweater out of our Churro (yes, I said Churro) that is to die for. Honestly, I love our yarns, but I didn’t even know something like this could be created out of this yarn. We are partnering with Maureen to create something fantastic… more on this soon. But, in the meantime, stop by and check out this beautiful sweater. Honestly, I knew this was something special, as I felt the fabric she created while I opened the package she had sent. And, sure enough, it was the sweater of my dreams!
Third, we will be Dyeing in the Road on Sunday, October 4th! From 11AM-5PM, we will be showing you how we create our beautiful colors. If you want to see what happens behind the scenes at Weaving Southwest, now is your chance. We will be there to answer any questions you have and you will be able to see how we create our beautiful colors.
This festival is very dear to my heart. My grandma, Rachel Brown, was one of the founding members and I grew up going to the festival every year. I remember looking forward to eating a bag of roasted almonds while watching the sheep being sheared. The beautiful fleeces, yarn and textiles were an added bonus to my young eyes. To this day, I am still enamored with the Taos Wool Festival.
If you are not here this year, think about it for next years plans. Not only is this a wonderful festival, It is also the most beautiful time to be in our area.
Also, if you aren’t in our area for Wool Festival, not to worry. Shoot us an email or give us a call and we can tell you all you need to know about Kim’s blanket, Maureen’s Sweater, our dyeing and all the beautiful colors we have pulled out of the pots!
Every time you purchase something from us, we want you to know, you are not only supporting us. You are supporting the entire fiber economy… the artists, the spinners, the shearers, the ranchers and, of course, the sheep. And we want to thank you for all this!
Happy Wool Festival! And a happy start to a woolly season!
Teresa, Joe and the Weaving Southwest Team