Hayden Rosemary Farrell modified her typical washing and felting wool demonstration Friday at the Hayden fairgrounds, changing its focus from spinning clothing to making a bouncy toy ball. The reason for the change was her special audience, a stream of tots from local day-care centers who were spending a day at the fair.
Whether discussing spinning fibers or how to make small felt balls from clumps of raw wool, the message Farrell was trying to get across remained the same: wool plays a huge part in Routt County's agricultural community, no matter what age you are.
"The thing is, the more you get them wet and the more you roll them, the more they will bounce when dry," she explained to one small tyke who could barely see over the table.
People who visited Farrell's booth inside the exhibition hall might have just glanced at the raw wool stuffed into trash bags behind her. Farrell prefers to look a little longer at the varied strands of fiber, and what she envisions could fill anyone's closet.
She imagines classic, hand-made sweaters, fuzzy warm socks and even a doll's curly blonde hair.
With some soapy water and a little elbow grease, she knows that the clumps can even be transformed into a child's toy ball, simply by rolling the wool between her fingers.
"I've been doing the demonstrations for the last two years," Farrell said. "It's been so much fun."
Her main objective it to promote Routt County wool during a week that celebrates the area's agricultural diversity.
When folks stop by the booth, she is always glad to explain how the stuff in the bags is washed, picked and eventually spun into a material that creates a huge variety of very marketable items.
Today from 1 to 3 p.m. she will put on a demonstration of wool washing and felting, the process by which fibers are matted together to make felt.
The program will be geared toward a more mature audience than Friday's preschoolers. From 3 to 5 p.m., there also will be a demonstration on hand spinning the material.
Farrell, who raises and cares for more than 20 ewes on her ranch near Stagecoach Reservoir, has spent many years working with wool. She will spend the next couple of days trying to spread her knowledge to anyone who wants to listen at the Routt County Fair.