Monday, October 21, 2013

Fiber Fusion Northwest: Live Animals, Spinning, Indie Vendors, and More!

On Saturday morning my husband and I took a chilly autumn drive up to Monroe, Washington for Fiber Fusion Northwest, a yearly natural fiber festival. The weather was quite foggy and cold, providing the perfect backdrop for wooly appreciation.

When we arrived we were all too glad to go indoors and savor the warmth. Brrr!

As we walked in the door we were greeted by friendly fiber animals. As someone who often works with synthetics (baby items need to be machine washable), I don't get to enjoy natural fibers as much as I wish I could. However, I love picking out special yarns to make into gifts. Seeing the animals was a really good reminder of where yarn comes from and how much work goes into it before it's ready to be used.

The folks from Heart of Dreams Alpacas had a few llamas with them. Three of the llamas were rescues that are looking for new homes. It's really unfortunate that someone would take on such a big responsibility and then not care for their animal properly. Thank goodness for kind people like those at Heart of Dreams who make room in their lives to help animals in need. The llamas were quite friendly. Folks got to feed them cut carrots, myself included. How soft their muzzles felt as they sniffed me! Their large, dark eyes regarded their surroundings with mild interest.

There were also a few goats at the festival with Heaven Sent farm. They were so adorable with their little horns. As they played they butted heads a few times which is always charming. It's so interesting to me how many different kinds of animals can be used for their wool. Have you ever worked with angora goat wool? I have yet to try it. I love how goats are always so friendly and fearless with humans. I said hello to them as I took their picture. Here they are below doing what goats do best: Eating.

Of course there were sheep, shown by Sauked In Farm. What fiber festival would be complete without them. Sweet, relaxed sheep with their darling faces. When we lived in Eugene, Oregon we often saw farm animals out in pastures, sometimes sheep, when we went on weekend drives. We also had many animals living right outside out back door in a nature preserve. Living in the heart of Seattle is quite a bit different. I've missed being around other living things.

The final animal exhibit at the fair was the angora rabbits. I couldn't find a brand label for them. They were soo cute! Their little wiggle-noses made me squee. It seems so random to me that yarn can come from rabbits but man are they soft. Look at those adorable tufts on their ears!

There were so many awesome indie sellers at the festival. It was overwhelming to think about how many hours of work must have been in that room. I'd like to tell you about a few of my favorite vendors.

One of the first booths we stopped by was Sentinel Ranch. I was lured over by the crochet. Yes, crochet! I was a bit concerned that I would only find tons of knitting, but I was wrong! It was so nice to see all of the crochet proudly displayed. Don't you just love the natural colors in this display? 

Man, this lady was awesome! Her brand is called Craftwich Creations, and she caters to crochet. Look at her freaking fabulous purple crochet outfit. I was totally in love with this booth. She had a bunch of handmade wooden crochet hooks for sale, among other things. Some of them were even on necklaces. Cool! She harvests the fiber, prepares it, spins it, dyes it, and then crochets with it! Such talent!

The hooks reminded me of magic wands. Indeed, what crocheters do can seem magical to outsiders!

This gentleman from Paca Pride told us all about his cool ranch where you can go "glam-ping" aka glamorous camping in yurts. That sounds fun! Alpacas are beautiful animals and it would be really neat to go out and meet some of them. He was spinning and was kind enough to show me how it's done. He was also the emcee of the event.

Carolyn from Greenwood Fiberworks was very friendly and helpful. She had yarn available, but most of what she had for sale was roving. Roving is fiber that has not been spun yet. I've heard that you can crochet with roving alone. The colors of her fiber were so pretty that I decided to take some home and give it a try.

Here is the roving that I chose. What do you think I should make with it?

I am so thankful for my loving husband who is so supportive of my crochet obsession. Having him with me at the event made it even more fun. Already an hour in, we weren't even halfway through the booths! One reason for that might be that someone likes to talk a lot *coughcoughme* and was spending lots of time chatting with folks.

There were many classes and demos going on in addition to the vendor's booths and the live animal exhibit. A "spin in" was happening in another area that welcomed knitters and crocheters, but I didn't want to subject Alex to a whole day of me stitch 'n' bitching when he doesn't crochet. Perhaps next year!

This woman from Spring Harvest Fiber Mill was doing a demo on crocheting corespun rugs. Crochet rugs seem to be really hot right now. 

The rich colors of the yarn by Huckleberry Knits really attracted me. I spent a long time deciding which booth I wanted to buy yarn from and finally chose this one.

I spent another chunk of time deciding which yarns I wanted. Alex was sweetly encouraging me to spoil myself, but I like to keep my stash manageable.  

In the end I settled on two hanks, which was one more than I had planned on buying. How does that always happen? One is a very dark, inky indigo and the other a bright, bold purple. So much potential... but I can't play with it until my extensive holiday crocheting and pattern writing are complete.

I also ended up with a very small hank of alpaca yarn from Pronkin' Pastures Alpaca Ranch. Who can resist alpaca??? The raw fiber from this ranch won second place in the alpaca category at the fair. Thanks to "Pickles" the alpaca for the lovely yarn!

This has been a gloriously long blog post! Before I sign off I want to show you some raw wool. It's important to remember where your yarn comes from and be accordingly thankful, not only to the animals, but to all of the people who make the fiber usable through raising animals, shearing them, washing the fiber, dyeing the fiber, spinning it, and selling it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you from Pronkin' Pastures for including us in your wonderful post about Fiber Fusion! We hope you enjoy your yarn. :)


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