That's The Fold and Toni Neil.
We park in the driveway. Toni is in the garage with an armload of skirted fleece. Her CVM ram has just been shorn for the first time in two years. The staple length is daunting, the smell intoxicating. She offers a taste. "Here, smell this. Isn't it great?" And it is. The fineness of the fibers teases my spinner's eye.
Inside, the shop is cooler. Eric (the German Shepherd) and Al (the husband) wave hello with tail and hand, respectively. One fights hard to not look everywhere at once. There is so much. Dropspindles, handcards, bags of fleece, bags of roving, shelves full of exotic fibers, a room of yarn. Blue Moon Fiber Arts dyes more than just STR. Some of their yarns are humdingers. Ask Toni about Koi.
Last year, I spun briefly on a Lendrum Saxony. This year, I'm looking at travel wheels. I cannot resist the call of the Lendrum, however, so I sit down and spin for a bit. It is a smooth, quiet, seamless, efficient wheel. I'm trying SO hard not to be a wheel ho.
I spend some time with the Majacraft Little Gem II. Toni says that the Little Gem I had problems with the driveband leaping off unpredictably. The problem is solved on the Little Gem II. I am now totally a wheel ho because I like this one, too. Toni then forces me (!) to try a regular Lendrum. I understand why I see this one at spinning gatherings as the most popular portable wheel.
This is not just about playing with wheels. Toni encourages me to spin the fibers I want to try. This wall of fleece takes words away. It encompasses an entire wall, and represents only a small portion of the fiber in the shop. I try Rambouillet, merino/silk/alpaca, Debouillet, yak, Icelandic, CVM, and more. It is a banquet of roving, a feast.
I bought it all. Kathy was smart enough to say, "Yes! Me too!" when I called her. I was clearly giddy and excited over my find. Debouillet was on my Life List of fibers to spin. I didn't think I would ever find it. (Birdwatchers have Life Lists. I decided that I would have a fiber Life List. When you see me buying 2 ounces of this or that weird fiber, that is what I'm doing. My guidebook is In Sheeps' Clothing.)
Toni is a source of fiber from www.rovings.com. I have some Polwarth/mohair from last year. Mr. Etherknitter's cap had half of the yarn (one of the plys) as Rovings Polwarth. I troll their website regularly, unable to order because I've been unable to narrow down colors and fibers. I asked Toni what she had.
"Oh! I just got in four boxes from them. Shall we open them and see what's there?"
FOUR BOXES? Oh. Yes. Now. Me. Ooops. I tried to act coolly unconcerned and indifferent. I failed.
I am surrounded by bags from Rovings, all colors of the rainbow. For Cassie? That's a fleece washing sink behind me to the right. Let the record show I did not buy blue.
Another product unique to me was yarn from Rovings. All natural colors, there was Polwarth (aran and fingering), Polwarth/silk, cashmere, cashmere/silk, yak, and more. Several came home with me, including a dark brown/grey fingering Polwarth/silk skein destined to be Swallowtail.
My box of fiber has not yet arrived. I can't show you what came home with me yet. I did not buy a wheel. I bought no STR. Oh, and by the way? The maple wheel at the bottom of the picture of the fleece wall is the Lendrum Saxony. There is a year's waiting list for them now. It's a temptation, isn't it?