Tuesday, August 28, 2007

obit: Filature Houard

I just received an email from a self-described fiberholic who is going to the Languedoc area in France very soon. She wanted information on Filature Houard. Unfortunately, just a few hours before, I had received an email from Laurence a.k.a. LaineZinzin -- who vacations in nearby Bedarieux in the summer -- and she reports that Filature Houard finally closed down for business August 15.

Monsieur Houard had been trying to fight the imminent closure due to bankruptcy since last summer. He went to court last October and the factory stayed open for 10 more months. I'm glad I was able to go to the shop at least once. It will be missed by spinners and knitters.

The machines of the factory churns out fabulous threads and yarns. Let's hope someone or some entity will take a financial interest in it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Otto's cashmere

What spinner doesn't know Otto, his fabulous Petite and Finest drum carders and his even more fabulous customer service. No introduction needed here.

We -- Larry and I -- paid a visit to his farm in New Castle, Virginia, five hours from Washington, DC, and this gentle creature was who greeted us before Otto and Joanne could come out of the workshop-cum-office.

More cashmere goats slowly descended from the hill behind. Otto explained it was their habit to come down in the afternoon for treats: quartered crab apples that they nibbled on off one's palm.

We spent a delightful afternoon in the Strauch's porch drinking beer and nibbling on Joanne's tomato and mozzarella platter, talking about the next spinning retreat in France at Mic's place planned for Fall '08 and exploring the craft market in New Zealand. Add to that science fiction films and Hercule Poirot, my favorite film to watch while spinning. Otto mimics the Belgian detective to a T.

We got back home at the stroke of midnight, still thoroughly delighted and hopeful to spend more time with Otto and Joanne on the road on craft fairs and such.

The cashmere goats had already been brushed (no, they're not shorn) so all that's left are the guard hairs. Here's a closer look at the horns.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Japanese boots (jika-tabi) in print

Here's an interesting acquisition from Japan, specifically from a little Nara shop called Tabi-ji. It's a pair called jika-tabi.

Hubby was looking for these boots, usually black or blue, and normally worn by construction workers and Buddhist monks. When he finally found Tabi-ji, the boots came, surprisingly, in prints. And even more surprisingly, the shop owner, named Ryo, spoke impeccable English because he lived for sometime in Eastern Washington State.

As Ryo packed our purchases, he carefully included a couple of his brochures in the bag and said, "If you want anymore, just send me an email. I will mail to the US."

Here's how you contact Ryo:
Tel: 011-81-742-263588

Ryo in his shop.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Spin your newspaper and, yes, you can crochet or knit it too!

This you will see in the trilingual blog of Pirkko. Her instructions (in French) are here.