Fiber Christmas in July
When I was in high school my best friend’s mom would always host a Christmas in July party. We’d eat cookies, listen to Christmas music, and exchange handmade gifts. To this day I love Christmas in July because it brings up so many happy memories. Now, though, I’ve learned there’s a FIBER Christmas in July and I love this not-quite-holiday even more! Last year Gus Baxter took the time to sit down with the folks behind this delightful event. Here’s what he learned.
Need a break from the summer heat? Looking forward to cooler weather and your favorite winter knits? Kate Lowder and her team have gone a step further and created a fiber enthusiast’s dream with Fiber Christmas in July. This two day event in Kellyville, Oklahoma, draws in crowds from Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri. This year’s special guest is Rhonna Robbins-Spaanas from Trondheim, Norway, who will be presenting on the progression of handspinning and the renewal of interest in the old breeds of sheep in Norway. Don’t miss this create fiber festival and all it has to offer. Grab your tickets and get ready for a great weekend July 27th & 28th.
Gus: Tell me about the history of Fiber Christmas in July?
Kate: Like many fiber enthusiasts, my friend Jane and I would attend small fiber get-togethers to share the love of our craft with our peers. We often discussed how Oklahoma needed an annual fiber festival. Finally, we decided instead of waiting for someone else, we had the knowledge, the DIY attitude, and the passion to make it happen. Using a Ravelry group, we invited all the people we knew to come and participate, and in July 2007, Fiber Christmas became a reality and, let me say, we had a blast!
The next year, we decided we needed to add classes, so back to Ravelry we went. After polling the public about what they wanted to learn, we searched and recruited teachers for each class. It was another great year!
By year three, we were on the fiber folks radar. That year we met Dawn, who came to Fiber Christmas as a knitter and left a spinner. Dawning Dreams was born, and yes I’m taking credit for corrupting and enabling this fiber artist! I pulled Dawn into the Fiber Christmas fold as she had fresh ideas and could help with the computer side of things.
On year four, we found Alan. We had previously struggled to find somebody to provide a concession that consisted of more than just candy and nachos. Alan’s cooking was perfect. He provided a variety of home-cooked meals at an amazing low price. Incidentally, this left you more money for fiber purchases. Our fiber family continued to grow with each new addition, bringing small town charm and unique skills to our festival one-of-a-kind.
Gus: Pretend you talking to someone who has never been to your fiber festival, what would you highlight as your “WOW” attractions?
Kate: When I tell people about Fiber Christmas I tell them about stepping in the door (yes, it is all INDOORS!) and you are met with a garden of color–fleeces, rovings, yarns, and an assortment of wheels and tools for fiber processing. We try to keep a unique group of vendors without duplication of products. The term “shop local, shop small” applies here, even though we have vendors from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.
The classes change every year, and we offer different choices than you see at many fiber festivals – more than variations on knitting and spinning. Last year there was a shibori dyeing class, for example, and this year we have two different felting classes in addition to spinning, crocheting, and fiber prep classes.
Gus: What are your biggest festival do’s and don’ts for enjoying your fiber festival?
Do: Check out every booth! Everyone offers something different.
Don’t: Be afraid to ask questions – we all love to talk and share about fiber.
Do: Touch everything – fibers and tools are the first step to a sensory education. Don’t: Don’t be afraid to take a class or just ask if somebody can help you get started.
Do: Ask, if you don’t see what you are looking just ask – we are all competing for fiber enabler of the year.
Don’t: Forget to sample Alan’s cooking. I swear some folks just come for that.
17808 West Hwy 66
Kellyville, OK 74039
July 27th, 2018
12pm – 6pm
July 28th, 2018
9pm – 6pm