Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Road Trip! Taos Wool Festival and beyond

Saturday was the perfect fall day for a drive up the scenic high road from Santa Fe to Taos.  It was sunny, cool, and the aspens were glittering like gold coins.

I'd heard about how wonderful the Taos Wool Festival was and I was excited to finally go.  There were dozens of vendors at Kit Carson park in the center of town, and a genial crowd of all ages (well, mostly middle-aged I have to admit) were enjoying the chance to hang with their fiber tribe and fondle some yarn and fleece.

As a tapestry weaver, though, I was disappointed not to find more yarn I could use.  There was lots of yarn for knitters and crocheters, and lots of fiber for spinners, but not so much yarn that was suitable for weaving.  I did score some, though.  First was an irresistible set of 50%bison/50% silk mini-skeins in some rich colors from the Buffalo Wool Co.  They are a tad soft but will be great to blend with firmer wefts, I think.

Then I found, from Woolly Lizard, several skeins of fairly fine singles wool that had been hand-dyed with natural dyes, in colors that echoed our New Mexico landscape.  At $5 per 105 yard skein, I grabbed a handful!

Sam and I fell in love with the felted work of Minna White at Lana Dura.  I love their tagline:  "Giving sheep a job!"  We purchased a couple sets of laminated coasters for gifts and a gorgeous two-sided runner that looks fabulous on our dining room table.  (We love how they look with the ceramic succulent pots of my friend Kerry, whom you can find on Instagram as @kerrymac.)

Before we left Taos, we headed up the road a bit to the fabulous Millicent Rogers Museum, which included a gallery of Rio Grande textiles from their collection.  It was fun to see some really old examples of early Saltillo and Rio Grande weaving.  Most were wool but one was cotton!

Here's the cotton blanket, from about 1880.  Like the other blankets, it is made of two widths seamed together.

There are so many beautiful pieces in this exhibit; I am going to limit myself to sharing just a few.  This blanket was woven in the Rio Grande valley, possibly in Chimayo, between 1880 and 1900.  It is a rare example of weft ikat weaving in New Mexico.

I love this detail of the ikat.

Here's another gorgeous weft ikat piece.

This was another of my favorites.  It's labelled as "Rio Grande Germantown Saltillo Style Eyedazzler" from about 1880-90.

I love how the weaver wove tiny diamonds in the natural yarn along the border.  They are barely visible but show such a sensitivity to design. 

On the way home we stopped to take photos and I spotted another fascinating fence.

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