Saturday, February 22, 2014
After music classes this morning, we went to the Botanic Garden in the Albuquerque BioPark. This is one of my favorite attractions in our city and I take the small Bears there frequently in nice weather. It's a lovely place to walk around. Today, they held an event I really wanted to check out, the Winter Wool Festival, which took place in the Heritage Farm area of the Botanic Garden. The Heritage Farm is my favorite part of the garden, so when I heard that they'd be holding a wool festival there, I was excited.
The wool festival was interesting. There were only a few exhibitions but they were fascinating to watch, and the demonstrators were knowledgeable and friendly. We watched a drop-spindle demonstration, which I enjoyed a lot. I've watched spinners working at the wheel quite a bit (my mother-in-law spins this way) but had never really seen a drop-spindle in action. The spindles themselves were beautiful, hand-carved and made from varied woods. We also watched a fiber-dyeing demonstration. I learned a lot from the dyers; they had lots of books to share and they were eager to discuss their craft. I think they were working with indigo while we were there. I loved looking at their dyed wool samples, especially the over-dyed types. I've never tried dyeing before but I think I would enjoy it.
There were also knitting and weaving demonstrations going on, and lots of chances to look at interesting natural fibers. I saw someone I recognized from a Ravelry group for locals; I introduced myself and we chatted a bit, which was fun. She has a dyeing business herself and I admire her work. It was a nice event. It all made me want to try using natural fibers more in my own work. I've been hesitant to invest much money in yarn, thinking I should wait until I was "serious" about yarn crafts, but I think I've proven myself...to myself. Nobody else was saying this, just me. I think there's real wool in my future.
We spent lots of time in the garden, just strolling around and enjoying warm sun and early garden-growth. We looked at the G (garden)-scale electric train display for a good long while; we all love this. I can really lose myself looking at the little model buildings and figures - people with luggage, dogs riding on the backs of cabooses, cars and gasoline pumps and flower boxes in tiny windows. We spent much of our time in the Heritage Farm. This is a recreated 1930's homestead of the type which once flourished along the Rio Grande. It's a working farm, with fruit orchards, a vineyard, farmyard animals and a wonderful recreated period farmhouse. I love taking the small Bears there for a walk and a little learning. We also walked through the Japanese garden, another family favorite, and watched people throw bread crumbs to the koi. We'd eaten our own sack lunch earlier, while watching a folk-music trio perform in the Heritage Farm. All we had left was a clementine, and no, we do not throw clementines to the koi, little people of mine.
It was a beautiful day for a family outing. We've finally reached the point where nobody really needs a nap anymore; at five, the GB does still have a "rest" after lunch most days, but it's not a necessity. We can get out and do more now that they are older. It's liberating. Now we're home; there are K'Nex all over the family room and the GB is getting an lap-harp lesson from her daddy. We have bread in the bread machine; later on, the Bear and I will have fresh bread with our date-night tomato soup (the fancy refrigerated kind from Costco). I've got a hot cup of tea and new library books. Saturday has been kind to us.