Friday, October 29, 2010

The Wool Festival at Taos

Yarnie heaven. That's what my visit to The Wool Festival at Taos (WFT), the coolest fiber fest in the west, felt like.  

Presented by the Mountain and Valley Wool Association since 1984, and always held the first full weekend in October, this festival delights in many ways.  

WFT is large enough to offer a dazzling array of fiber and related goodies, and small enough to allow you to enjoy thoroughly checking out each and every booth before exhaustion sets in.  This is truly a knitting and spinning paradise.

The set up in festival venue Kit Carson Park, in the heart of historic Taos, New Mexico, is ideal with vendors' tents ringing the tree-shaded park, and information, meet-up and refreshment tents grouped in the center.  

Although crowds were thick later in the day, shopping was a breeze when we arrived at opening time of 9 AM.  The full-fever pitch of a true fiber frenzy had not yet been reached, but you could feel it brewing in the atmosphere as shoppers dashed from booth to booth to get the best choice of merchandise. 

Vendors, many of whom are from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and California, were relaxed and friendly, even the staff working the crowded tents at Brooks Farm, Elsawool and other popular sellers.  


Sixty-eight vendors exhibited wool and exotic spinning fibers, handspun, millspun and hand-dyed yarn, woven, knitted and felted finished garments, rugs, hats, sheepskin shoes and accessories, hand-made wood fiber tools, buttons, jewelry, body products, and so many other wonderful things I can't begin to list them all here. 


An entertainment and competition stage, fiber animal pens, workshops, silent auction, fashion show and technique demonstrations rounded out the offerings.  

You know I can't resist the animals, including this mama alpaca and her cria.

These sheep, in a large pen, swirled and flocked together in a tight clump.

I loved the hand-dyed yarn at Royal Fibers Spinnery.

I would've bought cartloads of wool if I could have!  But in the end my pocketbook dictated that I be choosy, so I selected some things I haven't tried before including: Brooks Farm Mas Acero in a grey-brown mix;


cushy Elsawool worsted weight, woolen spun Cormo in soft grey;

and some cool natural stone buttons.

A favorite part of this year's festival was getting to meet many fellow Ravelry members, including founder Mary-Heather Cogar (seen taking a photo in the Ravelry meet-up tent below).

Mary-Heather (Rainydaygoods on Ravelry) is such a nice person, and she did a super job of conversing with complete strangers for hours, always with a friendly smile.

The festival's site in the heart of Taos is surrounded by streets lined with intriguing galleries, shops and restaurants, making it easy to walk to a small cafe for lunch and check out a few of the local shops.  

Across the street from the cafe was La Lana Wools, renowned for their gorgeous, naturally-dyed fibers.  

I loved Common Thread (big Indian dude notwithstanding, LOL), a specialty shop offering silks and exotic fabrics by the yard.

Displays were pure eye candy.

In the same block as the fabric store is Weaving Southwest, a large, airy space in this area of tiny boutiques.  

Filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves bursting with yarn, hand-woven rugs, giant looms, knitting tools, and racks of finished knitted and crocheted items, this well-laid-out store delights fiber artists of all sorts.  


The front of the shop held large boxes of wool, silk, mohair and alpaca yarns at amazing clearance prices of $5 and $8 per 100 gr. skein.


The Taos area is, of course, famous for many other things not limited to spectacular scenery, charming southwest atmosphere, outdoor pursuits like cycling, hiking, river rafting and rock climbing, and the Taos Pueblo.  

In fact, because there were so many wonderful sights, smells, sounds and other treats for the senses that I cannot possibly relate them all here, I highly  recommend any knitter, spinner or weaver consider the Wool Festival at Taos for a fiber holiday some year soon, and discover the wonders of Taos for themselves.  

And just one teensy, non-Taos-related note before I close this long post, I am absolutely thrilled to bits that my new free pattern, Greyhaven, has been nominated in the Ravelry Cowls Group for their November knitalong!

Voting closes this weekend, so if you are interested in participating in the KAL, please pop into the group and vote for your favorite pattern in the November KAL thread.  

That's it for now, new knitting projects and recipes coming up soon.  Until then, peace, blessings and happy stitching!


  1. What an awesome recap of the the Taos Wool Festival! It sound like you had a wonderful time! :)

    Congrats also on the cowl design being nominated. It's a beautiful cowl! :)

  2. Photoknitdog, thank you so much! It has been a good month so far. :)

  3. thanks for the lovely Taos pics! and congrats on your cowl.

  4. Love that photo of the clump of huddled sheep--fleece on the hoof!