I'm blogging from the desk of my dear childhood friend because my laptop can't find her wireless network. That means at least for now I can't post pics, but I did finally find my camera!
Hiking in Yellowstone has taught me that I am definitely a Flatlander. Buffalo, NY is my home, and it is at sea level. Yellowstone varies from 5800 to 8500 ft above sea level. Above 6000, I had a really tough time! Just walking from the car to the scenic overlooks were enough to give me side stitches as if I were running from a mugger. My breathing was labored, my heart was racing, and I was TIRED! Oh, well. I won't be signing up for any marathons up here.
We have seen everything in the way of wildlife except a Grizzly. The coolest was a cow elk nursing her calf. The colors and animals and stones and "green" eco-theme of the park have been very inspiring in the way of my new project, working with sustainable yarns. I've been sketching designs, and modifying others. I think this trip will probably yield it's own collection.
One thing that was impressively cool was to see bison/buffalo shedding their down. It's the only part of the bison that becomes yarn, and they shed it in long, soft tufts that look like dread locks. I took photos, and these guys look very Rastafarian at this time of year! When the down has been shed, it is then cleaned (rinsed), dried, carded, dyed or not, and spun into amazing yarns. If you haven't had the opportunity to work with buffalo yarns or blends, check out Buffalo Gold, an American company specializing in buffalo fibers. These are not cheap, but they are magnificent. They wear like iron, but feel soft and supple. In the blends, they have good memory, but alone are a little unstretchy. The website lists LYS who carry their product, and sometimes you can find it being sold on eBay.
I'll post pics to this article when I can pull them from my computer. Until then, I'll be in Big Sky country breathing hard and shopping for local sustainable fiber yarns!