Last week’s Boulder wildfires: the spinning/knitting connection

On Wednesday, January 7, the Colorado Front Range experienced remarkably strong, sustained winds. In the vicinity of Boulder and Longmont, about an hour from where I live, those winds knocked over a power line very close to Bobra Goldsmith's Rocky Mountain Llamas. The resulting fire, wind-driven, quickly destroyed Bobra's home.

The good news is that Bobra's farm manager alerted Bobra in time. All people and, miraculously, all of the llamas at the ranch were unharmed.

The bad news is that Bobra didn't even have time to grab her purse. She escaped with the clothes on her back and the shoes on her feet. Bobra's mother was an artist and handspinner, and the fire consumed Bobra's collection of her mother's work (as well as an inherited Picasso).

Yet on the television news reports, Bobra used her time before the cameras to tell viewers how wonderful and smart llamas are. She also immediately moved a fifth-wheel onto the property so she can stay close to her animals. 

The Rocky Mountain llama community is providing lots of practical, animal-related support to one of its pioneering members. People showed up immediately to round up animals and reconstruct fencing. Yet Bobra needs clothes—especially cosy (and work-ready) ones. She's someone who appreciates, and has lived her life around, handspinning and hand knitting.

If anyone feels inspired to provide help, she could use socks (size 8), a couple of hats, some mittens, whatever else fiber folk might feel inspired to make from their stashes. Let me know in the comments if you're interested and I can give you an address to send items to. (Farm manager L'illette Vasquez did not lose her home, but is working even harder than usual because the farm got partially burned and she and Bobra lost some of their llama-care facilities. L'illette would likely welcome warm socks, too, and wears a size 12.)

Llama owner, spinner, and knitter Kris Paige is coordinating this effort. Kris has donated to Bobra one of the sweaters Kris knitted to test the concepts in Donna Druchunas' Ethnic Knitting Discovery, shown here being modeled by my daughter:

That's the motif sweater from The Netherlands section. The garment's a little big for Bobra, but we hear she likes her clothes that way—maybe so she can pull the sleeves down to keep her hands warm! Yes, of course, it's wool! (Thanks to Plymouth for the yarn donation.)

Let us know any time in the next several months if you've come up with a source of any extra heart- and person-warming items for Bobra. I'm sure she'll have the basics covered pretty soon because of local support. It's the spinning/knitting piece (one or both) that it would be nice to be able to offer.


Worksheets for the sweater are available in Ethnic Knitting Discovery, of course, and as an individual download in Donna Druchunas' store on Ravelry. It just occurs to me that there are some charted llama motifs in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Knitting in the Old Way, revised (2004) edition. Both books are available in many libraries.


4 thoughts on “Last week’s Boulder wildfires: the spinning/knitting connection”

  1. Oh my. I’d heard on national news of a llama farm being in danger but that the llamas were saved, but that’s all. Please email me with info and more sizes. Thanks.

  2. Heel-to-toe measurement for size 8 feet is just under 9.75 inches (24.75cm) and for size 12 is 11 inches (just under 28cm). Bobra is 5’4″ (161cm) tall, and slender, but likes her clothes roomy.

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