Virginia Fiber Farmers Market
|Spinner Suzanne Hediger modeling a sweater spun from Avalon Springs Farm. Photos courtesy of Caroline Hockenberry.|
Melanie Anderson was in the Unicorn Fibre booth answering questions about their great products.
A Fiber Farmer's Market is held each March and July at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, Virginia. Uniquities, a yarn and fiber shop located in Vienna, hosts the event to help knitters, crocheters, and spinners connect with local fiber producers and toolmakers. Shop owner Brenda FitzSimons says, "We want to allow the community to see and purchase what our local shepherds and artists have to offer, while giving them an education in the process."
Last month, Uniquities celebrated its tenth Fiber Farmer's Market. Coordinator and spinning instructor Caroline Hockenberry tells us a bit about the event:
"Uniquities brought together over a dozen area fiber producers, and yarn hand-dyers for this afternoon event. Past markets have included drop spinning and felted soap classes, as well as a fleece-to-scarf demonstration consisting of a seven-person team that handcarded and spun scoured fleece and wove the resulting yarn into a scarf during the four-hour market. One of the participating vendors, Solitude Wool of Roundhill, Virginia, donated the fleece for the demonstration. Otto Strauch demonstrates carding fiber throughout the afternoon at Uniquities' table, using the drumcarders he manufactures in New Castle, Virginia. A customer can select a raw fleece from one vendor and take it to one of the local fiber mills' tables to have it custom spun into yarn. Being involved from start to finish of the final product provides a great feeling of satisfaction.
"As a small business, Uniquities appreciates what our local farmers and artists are facing in this age of big-box stores and online shopping. We invite vendors who are producing beautiful products but may not have a brick-and-mortar outlet for their wares. It allows us to engage our customers with the sources of their yarn, fiber, and tools, and put a face with the products they use. Much like a typical farmer's market, customers can speak directly with the producers and feel they are supporting our local economy, all while adding to their stash!
"At the heart of the event is a spinner's circle for our spinning enthusiasts. Set up in the middle of the gymnasium that houses the event, and surrounded by over a dozen vendors, twenty to twenty-five spinners spend the afternoon spinning and sharing information with onlookers attending the event. At the past several markets, a local harp player has generously offered her time to play in the middle of the circle. Customers have commented on how the spinning adds to the energy of the event, and it always encourages a few new spinning students to sign up for a class."
Uniquities is located in the small town of Vienna, just outside Washington, D.C., and is the largest spinning supplies provider in northern Virginia. Caroline Hockenberry is the shop's spinning instructor and Spinzilla team captain. Still looking for a Spinzilla team? Team Uniquities Yarn Shop wants you! Contact Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the Uniquities website for dates and details about upcoming Fiber Farmer's Markets.
|A good time was had by all.|