Saturday, August 15, 2009

Michigan Fiber Festival (2009): What You'll See

Earlier this week I was invited (or I may have invited myself--but let's not quibble about it) to the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan. I jumped at the chance and had a fabulous time today. It was my first time to any kind of fiber festival and went without too many expectations.

There were a lot of vendors, and animals, and demonstrations. Here's some of what I saw today:
You could buy fleeces in a very raw state, washed but not treated in any other way. Basic sheep wool was around $10/lb while alpaca was closer to $30-$35/lb. You could get any colour you want as long as it was a white, brown, or grey/black.
I saw my first drum carder being demonstrated. I can really see how this would beat using a couple paddles. (Cue "significant" music...Christina's getting tempted...) Or if you didn't want to card your own you could buy roving:
Most vendors had it rolled up into nice balls. These ones happen to have been dyed, but many were still in their natural state. A lot of it ran about $2/oz. (That was alpaca, I think.)

There were spinning wheel vendors who would gladly let you try it out:
In fact, the person I went up with found a used wheel in the very model she was looking for and snatched it up right quick!

Or if smaller tools are more to your liking, you could get any number of beautiful spindles:And of course, if you want to skip all of that (like me), you could also buy yarn, yarn and more yarn:
There was a lot of really nice stuff! I limited myself to one item, but more on that in a future post...

There was also a vendor with traditional rug hooking:
I am really drawn to this and will probably get into it when we actually have floors (or walls) that I'm willing to dress up with rugs. These are done with strips of wool fabric. (There was another vendor showing locker hooking with roving. Also nice, but the pattern is a lot less distinct.)

I found a vendor of leather straps and other accessories for purse making. I just fell in love with this bag:
It was huge, like really huge. But beautiful. And then she showed me the inside and it was lined with red suede of the softest kind. Really really beautiful and I coveted it. I didn't, however, even ask the price. It was really huge. What would you use it for? When I mentioned the [rather overwhelming] size, the lady mentioned they carried their cash machine in it on another trip. Ok, but, um, I don't usually carry a cash machine with me...

But it really was beautiful. A work of art. (Once again, if I had walls worth dressing up...)

And the final thing I have to show you are buttons:
The picture will show you how pretty they are. Colourful and large sized for big bulky knits. What the picture doesn't tell you is that they are all made from unused optical lenses! Being an optician, myself, I was very intrigued. The designer, Maggie Joy (out of Chicago, but she doesn't have a website), also makes lovely earrings and shawl pins, but I resisted. It was all a little out of my budget right now. But gorgeous, without a doubt.

And that about wraps up what I saw for vendors, products and the like. Soon I will post all the animals that were there.

Prepare yourself for much cuteness!

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