Saturday, November 3, 2007

Got My Goat

I mentioned in last night's post that we toured around Salt Spring Island. I must admit, once I chose the destination, I was also a woman with a not-so-hidden agenda... a brief Google search with "Salt Spring Island" and "yarn", I found out that there was a co-operative spinning mill on the island, not too far from Ganges, our main destination.

In all fairness, I did suggest to mum and DH that they ought to do a little research and find places
they wanted to go on the island. I can't help it if they chose to disregard my advice and the whole trip became more or less a glorified excursion in search of yarn.

So, we popped by the mill. Easier said than done, as the place isn't all that well marked, and the building itself is somewhat unprepossessing.

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There's a tiny sign on the door that announces it as the mill, impossible to see from the road and quite easily confused with the recycling depot next-door. We drove by it twice before we found it.

Once inside, we found a humble little spinning mill, and two busy workers. One was washing rovings, and volunteered his daughter to give us the nickel tour of the mill (Tours by donation, call ahead to make sure someone is there.)

After the tour, I'll admit to being antsy to actually lay hands on the finished product. All the finished goodies at the mill were spoken for, but they directed us to Bullock Lake Farm where there was finished yarn for sale.

There was no help for it but to bail back in the car and drive the 10 minutes back through Ganges to the farm. John, the farm's owner, was just leaving on a brief errand as we drove in, but assured us he'd be back soon. We kept ourselves entertained on this beautiful fall day by making eyes at his llama, which made eyes right back at us.

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We waited longer than expected, but when John came back and opened the store for us, it was well worth the wait. I fondled his yarn a bit, and then he asked if we had seen a mohair goat. When we replied in the negative (me looking a bit stunned... I had no idea mohair came from goats), he told us to follow him, as it was feeding time.

Thus did we meet the goats that are responsible for his mohair.

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We were utterly charmed with their gentle, playful nature, and with our host's obvious compassion and love for his animals.

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He keeps these bad boys around for the companionship more then the fiber... he says the amount of fiber he gets from the two llamas is negligible, but they are useful in charming the visitors to the farm and his cottage. And charming they are...

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Speaking of charming. Long llama eyelashes melt my heart, but this melted my pocketbook, as well...

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Wouldn't that melt your heart, too? 50-50 wool/mohair, all from the happy animals at Bullock Lake Farm, spun by the Gulf Islands Spinning Co-op and dyed by John. This stuff has an incredible sheen from the mohair, reminiscent of silk or rayon, an amazing drape, a clean, farm-goodness smell, and the pictures certainly cannot do justice to John's amazing colour work. I was in love. 1100 grams later, I staggered out of the tiny, exquisite yarn store with a paper bag full of love. I stroked it for the rest of the night, and still sneak into the sewing room to visit every now and then. (I love how you buy it in grams... like drugs. Hmmmm.)

I got enough for a sweater or vest in multiple colours, a pair of socks in the solid shades and another in the variegated. I don't know, and don't particularly care, what the weight is (DK? Sport? I don't have one of those wraps-per-inch jobbies.) The fact that I got to know the goats a little and met the man who pretty much was entirely responsible for the yarn was pretty special, and I will wear whatever this yarn turns into with happy memories.

Mum said the whole farm thing was the best part of our day on Salt Spring. I'd have to agree.

2 comments:

kate said...

I am green, just green with jealousy, I tell you!! In all my years of living on the West Coast I never went to Salt Spring Island!! Such a shame. What a wonderful day you all had - There is nothing like the gentle pace of happy farm and its charming habitants to put things into perspective.
See you soon - bring the yarn - I MUST TOUCH IT!!

~Velda said...

There is nothing better than knowing where something came from, from beginning to end! What a beautiful day that must have been. GORGEOUS colours too! Addicting, oh yes!VERY cute critters too! I love llamas