Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh Shenandoah, I Love Your Festival

Yesterday, despite foreboding weather in the morning, I went to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, Virginia. Crossing the Shenandoah River, with a light heart and a fiber festival ahead, I broke out in song. (I can be sappy that way sometimes. Often.)

It was going to take more than a little rain to keep me away. And am I glad I did go. The weather broke, as you can see. The day was beautiful, and I had a wonderful time.

It's a new festival, only in its second year, small-scale, relaxed, and really enjoyable. It's spread out and roomy, and everyone seems to be chatty and friendly.

It has llamas.

It has a barnful of Angora rabbits.

It has children in Halloween costumes.

It has sheep, large and small. This little guy, on his way to the show-ring, is a four-month-old Black Welsh Mountain sheep, his owner was kind enough to tell me.

It has those amazing Border collies herding sheep.

And yes, it has a lot of nice fiber, local and otherwise. Here are a few things that begged to come home with me.

Hand-painted rovings for spinning, made by Fleece Artist, in Nova Scotia. The one in the upper right is Merino; the other two are Blue-Faced Leicester. Those colorways are so pretty, I'm not sure whether to dive in and start playing with them or drape them in a basket just to look at. The woman I bought them from was also demonstrating spinning with the great wheel. The great wheel is an older, historical type where the spinner stands instead of sitting, and turns the large wheel with one hand, while drawing the fiber with the other. That takes some coordination!

Coopworth roving from Misty Mountain Farm in Amissville, Virginia. I bought it as a little extra insurance, in case I run short of the wool I'm almost done spinning for my first handspun sweater.

Dyed Finn sheep locks, also from Misty Mountain Farm, in a beautiful dusky, purply mauve, ready to card for spinning.

Luscious, deep brown alpaca roving from Fall Line Fiber in central Virginia. The ladies there gave me a lot of help with ideas and estimating quantities.

French angora, from Aboundingful Farm, in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. The delightful owner gave me an extensive lesson in how to spin and finish angora yarn, in comparison to wool.

Malabrigo yarn, hand-dyed in worsted weight, from Y2Knit, in Funkstown, Maryland. They had a lot of really tempting yarns, including one with tiny filaments of sterling silver spun in. It's hard to believe. You'd think you'd be able to feel the difference, but it was soft and flexible like any beautiful yarn.

There were guilds and groups that were there just to demonstrate and share and talk. There was lots more. I even got that golden autumn day I'd been picturing, with slanting sunlight and leaves flying in the occasional breeze. All in all, a really nice experience, and one I'll definitely be looking forward to for next year.

It's all I can do to keep from jumping in the car to go back for the second day!

1 comment:

Mary said...

Oh, I'm so glad to see that someone blogged about the Shenandoah Fiber Festival -- I wanted to go, but was out of town. (Went to SAFF, down in Asheville, instead.) Looks like a wonderful time!