Maker Faire

My parents, my spouse, and myself all went to the Maker Faire in San Mateo this past Saturday.  Despite warnings of rain, the day was actually pretty comfortably partly-cloudy, which was a relief since last time I went it was very hot and the exhibition halls were miserable.

I lucked out and found a fiber seller (Woolpops) in the bazaar.  She was spinning on a Ladybug wheel, the same kind I have (but haven’t learned to use yet).  We talked for a bit about spinning and she showed me the less-prepped fibers she had that weren’t on display, though I decided I didn’t feel like picking that much VM out of my fiber.  I got four smallish bits of rovings.

Woolpops fiber 2016-05-22 22.02.14

  1. 1.2oz Navajo churro wool, in med-dark greens (called Sea Glass, but it looks more like malachite to me).  Rather coarse.  I’m not familiar with this wool.
  2. 1.5oz California Variegated Mutant (CVM), in muddy, mossy greens.  I like the texture of this one — fairly soft and springy.  I think I have some other CVM which might blend with it.  Or not.
  3. 1.4oz generic medium wool (feels a bit like maybe Coopworth or Cotswold, which I tend to get mixed up), painted in an ivory-yellow-orange gradient (“Candy Corn”).  Called pencil roving but a bit thicker than I usually think of pencil roving to be.  I’ll likely spin this into one long singles and then ply it with, hm, something.
  4. 0.6oz merino/Cormo cross pencil roving, dyed in muted pinks and brownish grays (“Easter Egg”?).  Really nice and soft.

I’ll likely card all of these except the yellow/orange into batts with a bunch of other fibers.

Later on I found an area where people could learn how to knit and, to my delight, spin.  I didn’t stay there long, but took the time to demonstrate to my longsuffering spouse how bottom-whorl spindles work.  (I don’t actually own any myself, other than the one knocked together for the spinning class I took in 2009.)  If I hadn’t been trying to see everything I would’ve been tempted to just borrow one of the spindles there and start spinning my pencil roving.  But my feet and internal temperature were actually holding up pretty well, so I didn’t need the break.

In another area we found a pair of people with an automated knitting machine.  One of the inventors was pointing out to me the fineness of the color pattern, at higher resolution (his term, where I would’ve said finer-gauge) than most handknitters would achieve — and I pulled out my sock in progress, knit with more stitches to the inch than their samples.  He and his co-inventor were very impressed, which made me happy. 🙂

My parents found some machine knitters elsewhere, from a guild.  I don’t know how I missed them, but that’s all right.  I’m not really that interested in machine knitting.

That’s mainly it for the knitting parts.  Another thing I really enjoyed was the dark hall, where lots of light toys were.  I had a lot of fun twirling a staff with two sets of color-changing LEDs on each end, a la drum major mace.  No one else there (when I was there) could do it as well.  It was still harder than I expected, and I think it was a combination of momentum and the grippiness of the staff, which actually made it hard to let go in time to pass it to the other hand.  I might need one of those to play with out back.  There were also neat conglomerations of lights which turned out to be clear plastic cups stapled together with Christmas lights (or similar LEDs on wires) threaded into them.  A very nice idea.