This morning, we decided to catch the last day of the Royal Agricultural Fair, here in Toronto. I had never been before, and we were motivated primarily by the opportunity to let our little guy get out and meet some animals.
The fair is a wonderful place for young children. I grew up in a small town, and I sometimes mourn the lack of oppurtunities my child of the city has to connect to nature and to understand country life the way I did as a kid. Fortunately, our son (whose favourite song is “Old MacDonald Had a
Farm”) really enjoyed the fair. While it felt a bit of a incongruous in downtown Toronto, there were all the trappings of a country fair, from prize winning produce, square dancing and butter sculptures to horse shows, a petting zoo and loads of friendly farm animals. The sloppy kisses of a very friendly cow and the antics of the Super Dogs had all three of us laughing, in a way that reminded me why we drag ourselves out of our pjs and off the couch on Sunday mornings. For me our “family field trips” are the absoloute best moments of any week.
What I had not anticipated was how interesting the fair would be for a knitter. It was fun (and a little strange) to see where and how the wool, alpaca and angora makes it to my local yarn store. The highlight for me came from a booth run by the friendly farmers of the Meadowview Alpaca Farm. They breed and raise alpaca, and sell yarns, fibres and accessories produced from their livestock. Their booth was stocked with fluffy and unbelievably soft yarn, and I was completely unable to resist dropping down my credit card. They were happy to answer any and all questions I had about the yarns and about their animals, in a way that let me know they really enjoy what they’re doing.
Running my fingers through the silky raw fibre and talking to the farmers helped me think about knitting in a way that had never occured to me before. For all my rhapsodizing about the beauty of making my own clothes, I had never really stopped to think about where all those saturated colours and textures at my local yarn come from.
I picked up this particularly soft, brown sock yarn and two thrum mitt kits. I tried on a pair of these toasty marvels and had the technique for stuffing the mitts with fluffy lining demonstrated to me. Tonight, I’m very tempted to abandon my holiday gift knitting and experiment with the thrum mitts – we’ll see how long my self-discipline holds out, and I’ll definitely keep you posted on what becomes of farm fresh alpaca yarn.