Honey and I just got back from a long weekend in northern New Mexico. On Friday morning we headed south to Taos, and on Saturday we did a big detour to a little town called Los Ojos in the north-central part of New Mexico in order to visit Tierra Wools during their Spring Harvest Festival.
It was a gloomy, windy day with snow threatening to blow in later, but they've got a wood stove in the middle of the shop room as well as in the weaving room. Those old adobe walls hold the heat really well.
They carry local, organically grown, naturally dyed wool, including and especially churro. While a lot of people quickly write off churro as only being good enough for rugs, I love it. I've had fleeces that were as soft as any garment yarn and some as course as can be. It all depends on the animal, the animal's age, and how the fleece is processed. Besides, if you like making bags (or rugs) it's a really nice wool for that.
In the room behind the main shop area is their weaving room. It's lined with looms along each long wall and several weavers were at work. It was interesting to watch them and I was even able to contribute my share in a color decision. If you're interested in taking classes on classic Rio Grande weaving traditions, check out the class schedule on their web site.
Off the weaving room is the dying shed and a woman was out there doing some natural dying. They had the dyestuffs in boxes right next to the pots and a special display to show them to visitors.
Off the other side of the main shop is another room that was full of rugs, sheep skins, food and music. The music was by a local guitarist and while we were there, an older man from the community came in and joined him in singing a charming song in Spanish.
We didn't stay long enough to see the shearing, but we did see the sheep in the back of their trailer. I can't imagine that they were too thrilled about losing their warm coats on such a blustery day.
I did manage to come away with several things to make me happy. A new spindle and some churro roving to try it out right away, some churro in the grease to clean and spin later, and some churro yarn in indigo. The red yarn came from Moxie, a yarn shop in Taos.
So, if you're ever driving through north-central New Mexico, drop in to visit Tierra Wools. It's a true, warm New Mexico experience with their creative local culture and people.