Another Fiber Fest!

I was curious what classes and demos were scheduled for last weekend’s fiber fest, but I couldn’t find anything about them on-line, so I decided to run over Friday afternoon. After consulting my friend, Google, I laid out a route going past a thrift store. It was right on my way, really!

None of the yarn they had tempted me, but I did buy one fiber-related goodie, a hand-thrown pottery casserole yarn bowl. It was ten dollars, more than I wanted to pay, but… when I picked it up, I noticed a significant crack! My heartbeat quickened at this opportunity to get a better price!

I mentioned the crack to the sales clerk, but before I could ask about his possibly lowering the price, he apologized, took the casserole from me and said he’d throw it away! I quickly said I was still interested in buying it and, in a whisper, he offered to sell it for $3.00. Oh, happy, happy me!

I like the way the top edge curves inward. I hope this will keep my yarn ball from leaping out as I pull yarn from it, a problem I have with my other large yarn bowl, a batter bowl with pouring spout in its earlier life. See the difference in their shapes?

BTW – it has the name Hazelton Jones on the bottom. Mean anything to anyone?

When I heard that all stuffed animals were on sale at ten for a dollar, I expected to find a box of pathetic looking scraggly over-loved critters, but instead I found these ten, all in beautiful condition! I also filled my like-new nylon book bag, $2.50, with ten books, again at ten for a dollar, nine for the foster kids…

and this one for me. I quickly flipped through ‘Better Homes and Gardens Blue Ribbon Bazaar Crafts’, © 1987, to see whether it was worth my dime. lol!

Once home, I was really surprised to find only one craft project in it that I want to make, the Christmas Afghan on page 190. I was even more surprised to find that although both this book and the pattern are listed in Ravelry, there are no finished projects… yet! My ‘Christmas Afghan’ could appear there some day, because I think this would be a great pattern for yarn scraps. Can you imagine it crocheted with many different colors, instead of just red and green?

Well, now, I think that’s enough about my thrifty treasures, as wonderful as they are; we were on our way to a fiber fest!

I wasn’t expecting a big crowd since it was Friday, but I was very surprised to see less than a dozen cars parked at the Nathan Hale Homestead! No one was at the information table out on the front lawn, so I picked up an Activities Schedule and started to read as I walked up the drive: Friday 1-6, Spinning Demo and on Saturday, also 10-6, a two-hour Felting Class $20, Spinning Demo including Rabbit Hair, and a Quilting Bee at 3. Before I got any further a woman dressed in historical costume stopped me and asked if I’d signed their guest book, so I went back and signed in.

That’s when I noticed a sound something like a slow even-paced woodpecker, tunk-tunk-tunk-tunk-tunk-tunk-tunk!. It was coming from a woman at a little table next to the door of a shed. She was thrusting a barbed needle (needle-felting) into a piece of deep rose wool batt over and over, ever so slowly turning it into a piece of felt. She told me that eventually it was going to be a felted case for her reading glasses!

Inside the shed someone was talking about sheep breeds and their wool colors. Did you know that all wool, other than white, is called ‘black’? I didn’t.

Once outdoors I tried my hand at spinning yarn with a spinning wheel for the first time, as compared to using a drop spindle. It did not go smoothly, but at least now I understand what the major parts of a wheel do. I once saw a spinning wheel at a tag sale, but I didn’t know if it was ‘all there’. If I should ever face another such opportunity, I think I’ll be able to tell!

Here’s a brief two-minute video by BlondeChicken Yarns that you might enjoy about spinning wheel basics. If you’d like to learn more, you can watch Knitting Daily’s ten-minute Spinning 101.

Saw unattractive cream-colored silkworms hard at work eating mulberry leaves and molting. Should I have taken pictures of them? ew and shudder. I was told that they are cute! and that “They tickle!” when crawling on you. Well, “I like fuzzy caterpillars more. Even huge tomato hornworms are better looking with their pretty markings and so GREEN! Plus they make that neat noise if you shake the tomato plant. Click – click – click-click-click!!” I can’t quite describe the look I got after I said all that. lol.

Learned that most colonial American homesteads set aside about an acre of their land on which to grow flax. (scroll down to Gina Gerhard) After harvest and several steps of fiber prep  (There’s still a flex-retting pond at the homestead.) it was spun and woven into fabric that would eventually become clothing and linens. I asked if an acre would produce enough for everything the family needed. She said probably not in the case of the Hale family, after all there were ten children!

While I walked around I was knitting on the easy turtleneck portion of yet another wool neckwarmer for my Warm Hands Network project. A few knitters asked me what I was working on and one pulled a little white baby sweater from her bag. It was So Cute!, but then aren’t all handmade baby items cute?! I told another knitter, obviously far more experienced than me, that I would like to be able knit my dickies from the bottom up, so that depending on the amount of yarn I had I could just make the turtleneck part a little shorter or longer. She immediately said, “Sure you can do that! You just change the increases to decreases.” I thought – that’s far easier for you to say then for me to do!! But when I asked her how you turn a three from one increase into a one from three decrease (double decrease), she immediately showed me on my turtleneck! I wrote out ‘slip 1 stitch (as to purl), knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over’ (abbreviated as SK2togPSSO) in my notebook, not trusting myself to remember what I had seen her do just the once. Now I’m in a hurry to finish the blue neckwarmer I’m working on. I want to try this out!

Note to self: count the stitches in the last round to find out how many stitches to cast on to knit one from the bottom up.

I spent a lovely afternoon chatting, knitting and learning. Are you terribly disappointed that I didn’t take any pictures? I had my camera with me, but I didn’t even pull it out of my bag once. Am I a blogging failure?! lol.

There was only one booth with items for sale, wool and yarn from a neighborhood flock of sixty-some sheep. Where had I gotten my idea that there would be many booths? It wasn’t until I read the rest of the activity schedule that I saw at the very bottom – “Please Sign In – We are trying for 300 Fiber Artists.” (my emphasis) Aaaah… they’re referring to the guest book, which we were asked to sign so they could keep a running total. They were hoping to reach three hundred over the three-day event. It seems we, the visitors, who had been invited to bring our fiberwork to share with each other, were the ‘Fiber Artists’, not any vendor(s) who might have come to sell their fiber-filled wares. Hnh. Rather confusing to me. Quite the misunderstanding.

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3 Responses to Another Fiber Fest!

  1. Edith says:

    Yes…I’m terribly disappointed there are no photo’s 😦 LOL But it sounds like it was very interesting. BTW, I love silkworms, most children here go through a silkworm phase, and they ARE cute and do tickle when they crawl over your hands 😀 I found them fascinating!

    • Nope, not cute. Look too much like the worm you can find inside your apple. yuck.

      But you’ve got me curious… do you mean they do a silkworm project in school or that you have silkworms in South Africa “in the wild”?

      The ones I saw were raised indoors for demonstration purposes. I don’t think they would survive a New England winter. Plus mulberry trees are rare so she had to get permission to pick leaves from the few trees she has found near where she lives so she can keep them fed!

      • Edith responded in Ravelry:

        ” Cute! I loved mine 🙂

        It wasn’t a school project, it’s just a silkworm phase…someone at primary school will arrive with some silkworms and sell some and it goes from there. Mulberry trees are very common where I live, in gardens in our area. We even had a mulberry tree at school. I loved touching the worms, they are zebra striped and so lovely and chubby. Watching them spin was fascinating too. Sounds like our silkworms are maybe a larger variety? Apparently if you fed them beetroot leaves then they’d spin pink silk…never tried that though! ”

        and I answered:

        The zebra stripes make yours sound a little cuter. 🙂
        These were almost solid cream and about an inch and a quarter (3cm) long; I don’t know how big they were expected to grow. Feeding them beet leaves sounds like a fun experiment!

        These are the kind of caterpillar we were most likely to play with as kids, fuzzy, wuzzy ones!

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