72 degrees - green trees and grass!
We have spent three super days here at the Allegan County, Michigan fairgrounds. The annual MICHIGAN FIBER FESTIVAL is a knitter's, weavers, felters, spinner's and crocheter's dream. Buildings and tents full of yarn, raw wool, roving, books, spinning wheels, weaving looms, needles ...... on and on and on!
There has been so many vendor booths to visit that we have not left the fairgrounds. I had a restaurant in mind for John and I, but we just shopped then returned to the motorhome to have either our lunch or dinner. It is much easier to eat in that at a restaurant since we are eating a plant based diet.
I so admire fiber artists whose work is so good that they can sell their work. The weather really cooperated with them this weekend with the cooler temperatures. It is much easier to sell natural wool products when it is not in the nineties.
The talented weavers presented some beautiful rugs, place mats, bags and table runners. I loved looking at the different patterns. There was a pattern to please every person attending.
The top group of rugs were woven in different patterns that I had not seen before. And they were a bit larger than many rugs. I like the variety.
Karen in the Woods would have been a tremendous vendor with all her rugs and various patterns.
At some time, I hope to be able to see some of Karen's work in person. She is an inspiration and her work has encouraged John and I to do some loom shopping.
These animal sculptures are created by needle felting. They start out as a hand full of loose sheep, goat, llama or alpaca fibers. Using a special needle that has barbs on the end, the fibers are compacted and shaped into the animal that the artist has in mind.
When needle felting, one must keep an eye on their project! If you look up, your needle should be suspended in the air. Why? It really, really hurts when you stab yourself with a felting needle. I have accidentally sent a felting needle through the pad of my thumb when looking up to talk to someone. Not good.
I love the names that some vendors name their businesses. And these are true businesses. Many are farm based.
Vendors work hard to have products that the shoppers will like. Keeping the products affordable is a challenge. If these vendors charged by the hour for some of their creations, the prices
would be over the top.
Color is another aspect that vendors must consider. What is "in" this year?
What colors will be the trend for 2013? Will they like bright or muted?
Then to show the colors, samples must be knitted to demonstrate how they will look in a garment.
Robin Edmundson does a beautiful job of dyeing. She truly has the magic touch when it comes to color. I have been fortunate enough to take a couple of classes from her and have learned so much. If you look at Robin's colors, you will see colors that have been taken from nature. You see sunsets and oceans and many more color combinations.
There is also a goat breed called Pygora. It is a cross between a Pygmy Goat and an Angora Goat. Again, quality fibers come from the right animal.
The fiber from an Angora Goat is called Mohair. Mohair yarn has a "halo" and is often used when knitting lacework shawls.
It also makes a beautiful sweater. I'd love to knit a sweater. I wonder if I will ever do it. Just call me a chicken.
Sheep are the most popular wool providers. When you purchase your fiber at a show, such as the Michigan Fiber Festival, you are getting products from the United States. In addition, no harmful chemicals have been used in the processing of the wool. When you purchase a fleece (wool directly from the animal), you will find a little vegetable material (V.M.) in the wool. It is easily picked out when spinning, etc. I'd much rather have my fiber with a little V.M. in it rather than chemicals.
At many of the Fiber Festivals, you will find sheep shows. If you are fortunate enough to purchase a first or second place fleece, you are a mighty happy person.
getting their sheep ready for the show ring is an exacting activity. The animal must look perfect in the handler's eye.
After visiting the vendors booths, the goats and sheep three times in three days, we were ready to make some purchases. We bought a thousand yards of Mohair. What for? Can't say just in case someone reads this. In addition to the Mohair, I got another set of knitting needles to use with the Mohair.
Well, after three days of walking, walking, and more walking, we are about ready to get back on the road. Next destination? Not tellin... you need to come back and see where these Travelin Talleys are going next.
God Bless, and please be safe out there.
In the spirit of Judy and Emma, I leave you with this............