Our Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival Experience

So last Saturday a couple of us wandered off to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival. As we left, it was just pouring out and we wondered what the day would bring. But as it was predicted to be hot and muggy, we got all gooped with sunscreen and headed out. It is about a 2 hour drive, and I drove in and out of storms the entire way.  Once we got to the festival though, we did not see any more rain.  The storms had the added benefit of having kept everything nice and cool, so they day was most pleasant.

One of the first things we did was go see a sheep shearing demo.  I was surprised at just how still and calm the sheep was for this process, though it isn’t a job I’d ever want to do!  The demonstrator said that he usually shears about 100 head a day, up to 200 if necessary but that means there is no time for anything else.  It is very very dirty, and strengthens my resolve to never purchase a fleece to process by myself. Just not a side of my craft that I am interested in exploring.

We spent some time wandering around the hall of breeds, something which Bug rather enjoyed though she mentioned that she was nervous that a goat would try to eat her shoes.

Since IA sheep and wool coincided with world wide knit in public day, we grabbed some lunch and sat down to knit. Bug decided to wander off to a friendly tent of vendors called “Mother of Purl.” She’d rather befriended a grandfatherly gentleman there and was curious about some hammers, stones, and letters that were outside the booth. Turns out they were for hammering on metal. They were selling the little metal discs that could be hammered, but Bug managed to get one gratis.  She then befriended a young boy and his dad and they helped her create a disc with her name on it.

We hung out for quite some time waiting for the kids activities tent, as it had been advertised all over the festival. We were highly disappointed when we realized that not only didn’t they have kids activities, they didn’t even have the tend set up for it. We thought that was a bit of a bum deal.

My visit to the vendors procured me some very fun stuff. I went for more natural fibers and fibers which I haven’t yet spun. I found some lovely alpaca/cormo/silk blend

This is actually a richer warmer natural color than the picture shows.

I picked up a couple merino dyed wools,

And I found some camel for a very cheap price. This camel, it feels soft as butter!

I hope it is as easy to spin as the vendor assured me it would be.

The final purchase was rather unexpected. I’d visited an alpaca farm booth. There are alpaca farm booths all over, but this one also had some handwoven scarves. I thought they were just stunning. I passed up the scarf on the first round, but still went back. This is why I need to get some weaving lessons!

All in all it was a lovely day. I’d say the festival was a bit smaller than expected, but worth the drive this year. I am still annoyed by the lack of kids activities and not knowing they would not be there in advance. I spent the day telling Bug she would get to do them, so disappointing her was very hard.  But, we still had a nice time.