This week I am in New Mexico to take part in a bit of western wool madness -- The Taos Wool Festival. Honestly, it's beautiful here in Taos and, as the license plate attests, enchanted.
My knitterly friend, Laurie, signed on along with me to not just spend the week here, but to also join in Cheryl Oberle's annual Taos Knitaway. The Knitaway was held in the San Geronimo Lodge, a place that combines warmth, beauty, and a certain grace that makes you not only want to come back, but just move in for a while. Lodge owner, Pat Hoffman, is the source of this good feeling, and someone you are just happy you got to meet even once in your life.
This year's Knitaway topic: Japanese knitting. The ingenious Japanese have developed knit patterns that fit on a single page - a task that takes most western patterns pages of text, charts, and addenda. Once Cheryl had taught us a basic lexicon of Japanese symbols, I can now read a pattern, stitch charts, and maybe Nintendo instructions in Japanese. Cool.
And then we were off to the Taos Wool Festival, where there were llamas, alpacas, angora rabbits, and other wool-bearing critters. Sadly, the folks who sell buffalo fiber did NOT bring a live version, which was a huge dissappointment for me. I soothed this woeful condition by purchasing some truly gorgous wool of my own. Then I sat down under a tree and watched the wool world go buy, uh, by. For those of you who lament the bald commercialism and crushing hordes of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Show, just fix your sights further west. The Taos show is a refreshing antidote that features local and western small producers and has a sleepy, small town feel.
And then there is Taos, where there is a lovely courtyard garden to plop down in or adobe wall to marvel at or some other magical little detail to take in. Somehow, it all seems designed to make you slow down and just take a good, big breathe of air.