Fiber Festival: Beyond the Shopping

You’ve taken your classes and shopped the marketplace until your car is bursting, and it’s only 11:30 in the morning! What can you do with the rest of your day at the sheep and wool festival? Along with the price of admission, you have access to demonstrations that can be the best part of your fiber festival weekend. Here are a few demos you can’t miss.

1. The sheep dogs.

Whether it’s a simple demo or a judged trial, those working dogs streaking around the field look like they’re having a blast as they move sheep deftly. (Just resist the temptation to bring one home on impulse. Sheep dogs need a job, and if you don’t give them enough to do, they may decide that dismantling your couch is their new job.)

fiber festival

After you’ve finished shopping, stick around the Marketplace for demonstrations.

2. Demonstrations.

Whether it’s a historian showing how to use an antique tool, a vendor explaining the features of their wares, or (my favorite!) the historic engine that cranks ice cream, you can learn a lot about tools and their proper use at a wool festival. At Interweave Yarn Fest 2018, you can try out different knitting needles, learn to use a blending board, and explore punch needle rug hooking at the Marketplace Fiber Pavilion.

fiber festival

Young Mary does an excellent job of handling her little lamb. Photo by George Boe

3. Contests and shows.

One of the first fiber festivals I went to, the Maine Fiber Frolic, featured a show by the Maine Llama Drill Team. I’ve never seen the likes of it since—picture square dancing with llamas to the sounds of John Philip Sousa. You’re more likely to find Leapin’ Llama contests, Sheep to Shawl competitions, skein judging contests, and Lads & Lassies Sheep Lead Contests (where children demonstrate their animal-handling skills with sheep three times their size).

fiber festival

The llama llimbo is no llaughing matter. Photo by Christa Tippmann

4. The completely unrelated.

Many fiber festivals include exhibits with no apparent connection to the “sheep and wool” part of the event. Want to learn about cheese making? Fancy a taste of New York’s wines? Need some soap? Fiber festivals can be excellent places for all those things.

Check out your nearest fiber festival! Mine is Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado, April 12–15, 2018.

—Anne Merrow

Featured Image: Don’t let the floppy ears and smile fool you: These dogs work hard. Photo by David R. Tyner/Getty Images

Have a fiber festival we need to know about? Let us know in the comments! Find a list of festivals in the United States and Canada at www.spinweave.org/news-events/festivals. Find related Interweave posts on Fiber Festivals!


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One Comment

  1. Kris W at 5:18 pm April 11, 2018

    Yes, the llama drill team was a sight to behold. Alas, they no longer do that at the Maine Fiber frolic. BUT the Frolic is still a great fiber fest celebrating all fibers, not just wool. It’s always the first weekend in June so come to Maine and get your fiber fix then!

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