Spinning Fiber Festival Memories

Navajo Churro from Prairie Rose Woolen Works. Photos by George Boe.

Navajo Churro from Prairie Rose Woolen Works. Photos by George Boe.

Do you remember your first fiber festival? My mother took me to my first one—the Taos Wool Festival in 1991. I was not yet a knitter or a spinner, but I did crochet. Later, in 2007, I took my first spinning class at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. I was able to try out several spinning wheels, and I purchased a great used wheel from a local shop. She is still spinning like a dream!

This year I was fortunate enough to attend my first Estes Park Wool Market, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Spin Off editor Anne Merrow, Interweave photographer George Boe, and I spent two days in June roaming the barns at the Estes Park Fairgrounds and snapping photos of fiber producers, kids who participate in 4-H programs, and of course lots of animals. It was a blast!

Tom Barr shearing a sheep.

Tom Barr shearing a sheep.

A favorite memory from the festival was meeting a Navajo Churro from Prairie Rose Woolen Works whose grandfather killed a coyote—no small feat for a ram! I am always in awe of the strength and dexterity of the shearers. Tom Barr impressively sheared sheep after bleating sheep. Yet the best part of a festival for me was meeting the wonderful people who raise the fibers I love to spin. We met a lot of families ranching and showing their prize animals together.

My local fiber festival is an event I look forward to every year! The Spin Off special issue Spin + Knit celebrates the joys of spinning and knitting and the community of producers, mills, and dyers that come together to share their passion for fiber at fiber festivals.

Happy spinning and knitting!
Elizabeth

 


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