Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair
The fall fiber festival season in North America is beginning to slow. I love the festivals that each season brings, and fall events have their own unique flavor. Punctuated with crisp mornings and changing leaves, fall gatherings often correspond with our beloved sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats, and shawls coming out of storage. If you have not yet attended a fiber festival, know that it is perfectly appropriate to wear all of these items at the same time!
I’ve just returned from a great weekend at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) in Asheville, North Carolina. The region has a thriving textile community that welcomes vendors, instructors, shepherds, and shoppers from all over the United States. The event offers four days of workshops with a great blend of local and national instructors in everything from basketmaking to felting to handspinning. I had the pleasure of teaching alongside some fabulous spinning instructors this year: Abby Franquemont, Eileen Hallman, Judith MacKenzie, Esther Rodgers, and many more.
The SAFF event felt a bit different this year with vendors located in two new buildings. As in past years, however, vendors had booths packed with beautiful fibers, equipment, and finished textiles. I’ve always found that SAFF curates a great blend of offerings. Here are a few of the stops I made over the weekend.
Wild Hare Fiber Studio and Threeravens Fiber Studio Both Melissa Yoder Ricks (Wild Hare-Virginia) and Christiane Knight (Threeravens-Maryland) are well known for sharing their passions for fiber and community.
Dry Creek Naturals I always stop by the Dry Creek Naturals booth. This Georgia farm keeps Angora goats that produce stunning mohair, and Bluefaced Leicester, Cotswold, Cormo, and crossbred sheep. Bluefaced Leicester/Cormo fleece is one of my favorites.
Ewephoric Fibers Based in Gainesville, Florida, Ginger and Jane of Ewephoric Fibers carry a range of vibrant dyed tops and natural blends. The SAFF show special was a smooth, well-processed blend of alpaca and tussah silk.
Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild Members of this active guild hosted a Drop In and Weave booth at SAFF. Sitting behind beautiful warps, weaving beautiful cloth, they invited passersby to weave a few shots. The group also organizes the Blue Ridge Fiber Show each year.
Interested in heading to Asheville next year? SAFF is scheduled for October 28‒30, 2016.