Good Wool for All

Musings on knitting and life.

My Photo
Location: 6 Miles from Lost City, On Clear Creek, in Oklahoma, United States

I'm a quiet soul living in the foothills of the Ozarks in rural Oklahoma. I am not of the plains - I am of the hills, valleys, water and wind.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Travel is magic. I’m not the first to discover this nor will I be the last.
Last week I took a pilgrimage. Designed as a knitting adventure, I loaded up my Jetta wagon and drove from Tulsa, OK over seven hundred miles to Taos, NM to attend the Taos Wool Festival. Alone. It’d been years since I’d road-tripped alone and I was eager for adventure.
The Low Road into Taos is harrowing, especially for someone like me who suffers from vertigo. I arrived tired and worn out in Arroyo Seco, the location of my hostel, The Abominable Snowmansion. After a great sandwich at the Taos Cow followed by a cold beer at Abe’s I crashed in my little cabin for the night. The next morning I trekked the 150 feet to the shower beyond the teepees, camp garden and summer kitchen. The slight nip in the morning air told me fall was near. Perfect for buying wool. Organic wool, hand spun wool, hand dyed wool. The good stuff.
The wool festival wasn’t until Saturday so I had the day to explore. Within driving distance of Taos there are more sights to see and experiences to have than can be realistically tackled. Hiking trails are everywhere, the pueblos, the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge (where two eighteen year olds recently leapt to their deaths holding hands – or so I was told at Abe’s), earthships, llama hikes, river rafting, casinos… and the list goes on and on.
I hadn’t made advance reservations so touring Georgia O’Keefe’s home wasn’t possible. But I’d heard so much about her I decided to drive two hours (back down the dizzying Low Road!) to Abiquiu and visit the Ghost Ranch, stopping on my way back at Oje Caliente, the mineral springs, for a soak.
Once I found my way to the Ghost Ranch (formerly called Ranchos de los Brujos or Ranch of the Witches) I stopped at the office and bought a map of the hiking trails on the property. Everyone is familiar with O’Keefe’s painting of flowers but it was her love of the New Mexico landscape that fueled creativity in the later years of her life. I walked, sat and watched as the landscape changed colors over and over again. From salmon-rose to dusty-plum arose cliffs that towered over the terrain. I couldn’t keep up with the changes and I knew better than to try. The Ranchos de los Brujos offered an inspiring show and I was willing to play along.
Finally thirst drove me back past the labyrinth and the zen garden to the office and museum. It was too late for a soak so I drove – again—up the Low Road, this time feeling stronger and at peace as I entered Taos. Dinner and some rambling through Taos shops ended when dark clouds gathered threatening rain.
The next morning I was working to contain my excitement as I headed to Kit Carson Park and the Taos Wool Festival. My goal was enough yarn for two projects and maybe a bit more if my budget allowed. I was enthralled by the natural dyed yarns presented by Leisel Orend of Earth Hues. I bought a few skeins, not knowing what they would become. Then I wandered around more through the huge circle of tents offering buffalo yarn, llama and alpaca yarn, fluffy clouds of sheep’s wool for spinning, felted or knit clothes and hats, spinning wheels and drop spindles, and a stage where you could see a sheep sheared in three minutes.
Exhausted I dropped onto the grass with a cold drink to people watch. The crowd was 80% female. As I sipped my drink and gazed at the people milling around I was struck by the difference between the women here and those at home.
Young women have youth on their side, smooth skin, and curves that haven’t been thickened by mothering. They’re always beautiful. But I realized that in the days I’d been in and around Taos it was the older women who were striking. Rarely seen were the chopped off old lady haircuts and polyester pants that I’m accustomed to seeing. Gray hair was worn long and with pride. Skin slightly weathered and tan, but not from hours spent under artificial light in a coffin-like bed. Women, fifty, sixty and beyond walked with grace and ease. They were the beautiful women in Taos.
I was reminded of the week before when a young friend found her first gray hair – just a week after her thirtieth birthday. Hysterics. Seldom had I moaned or complained about my own few silver strands and I realized why. I was looking forward to being like the Taos women. Stronger with each year, more graceful with age, and more beautiful than I could ever have been when young with smooth skin and narrow hips.
Before I left the festival, I walked back to Leisel Orend’s tent. In total I bought seven skeins of yarn, all dyed natural with plants. (I even bought some seeds to begin my own dyers garden.) No two skeins are alike, but as I laid them out that night I realized they were the colors of the Ghost Ranch.
The Ranchos de los Brujos had worked it’s magic on me. I can see myself at sixty striding around in a hand knit jacket the colors of Taos, long gray hair that flies with the wind, strong and beautiful.

cross posted on TBP Staff blog

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Patty in AZ said...

The only yarn shop I found was called Twain's Yarn Shop in Hannibal, Mo.

Have a great ride

9:08 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home