Fiber festivals are a dream come true for anyone who loves natural fiber, time-honored traditions, arts, crafts and being in the company of adorable farm animals and friendly folks.
The mission of the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is to exhibit and demonstrate the full spectrum of natural fibers (plant and animal) from beginning to end, from the animal or raw fiber to the finished product. This year’s celebrated breed [was the] Border Leicester and the featured handcraft [was] weaving.
The small city of Canby welcomed a steady stream of festival goers to the Clackamas County Fairgrounds this past weekend. As first time visitors to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, we were overjoyed by the number of people who attended. What a grand way to celebrate the fibers arts and show appreciation to the farmers who raise so many amazing animals.
A place to gather, learn and be inspired.
Hands-on workshops kicked off the three-day family friendly event last Friday. Throughout the weekend, spinners, weavers, knitters, dyers, felters, crocheters, and needle crafters of all ages came to watch demonstrations and learn about the many different breeds of fiber producing animals.
We had a blast snapping photos while walking up and down the aisles meeting farmers and animals along the way. This is Raspberry Trufflez, a Huacaya alpaca from White Oak Alpacas in Woodland, Washington.
Where’s all the baa-ing coming from? We simply followed the sound, turned the corner and found ourselves surrounded by Romney (pictured here), Shetland, Jacob, Border Leicester and Icelandic sheep. Some of the Icelandics had traveled all the way from Bozeman, Montana!
Down another aisle we were greeted by Cashmere, Angora, Pygora and Nigerian Dwarf goats.
But, where were all of the soft fluffy bunnies everyone’s been talking about? The English and French Angora rabbits sat patiently at the other end of the hall with noses twitching. It is very difficult to resist the urge to reach out and touch each and every one of them. To our delight, the owners were happy to let us pet their beloved furry friends.
Fiber treasures galore
Touching and seeing so many animals was pure joy. But, that was only the beginning. A sea of booths covered the central lawn and filled the exhibition halls. Let the hunt for fiber treasures begin! Fiber in all forms awaited discovery; bags of raw fleece ready to be scoured, fiber waiting to be carded or felted, beautiful roving ready to be spun, Bombyx silk cocoons ready to be reeled and yarn in every color of the rainbow. Plus, there were woven creations, felted hats and scarfs, knitted hats and socks, and much much more.
Many farmers had their spinning wheels set up and drop spindles on hand, willing to show curious onlookers how fiber is made into yarn by the power of one’s own two hands and feet. Have you ever seen yarn created? Nothing beats seeing it twist into yarn with your very own eyes. Thank you Cathy for the spinning demonstration of Opie’s super soft and beautiful fiber. What fun!
By the end of the weekend, hundreds of smiling visitors had walked the grounds, chit-chatted with farmers, and shopped to their heart’s content. Oh, what a wonderful way to spend the first weekend of Autumn!
The next Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival will take place September 27, 28 and 29, 2013 in Canby, Oregon. The featured handcraft will be dyeing and the celebrated animal will be Angora rabbits. If you don’t live in Oregon, then check out the Knitter’s Review. The website has a calendar listing of fiber events, gatherings and tours happening around the world.
Do you have a fiber related memory to share? What can you make with natural fiber? We’re all ears…