Thursday, August 21, 2014

Michigan Fiber Fest

Last weekend, my friends Jeanne and I got in the car and made our way to Allegan, MI for the Michigan Fiber Festival. So. Much. Fun.

I'm going to back up a little here and start with a confession. 2013 marked my 10th anniversary in the yarn business and I'd never been to a sheep and wool festival. (Clutching pearls.) So last year, I decided to go to the two grand dames, Maryland and Rhinebeck. The two of them bookended the summer in delightful fashion. They were all I'd imagined they would be. There was yarn galore, sheep and other animals to pet, herding dog demos and many many classes to choose from. Fabulous!

Adding those two events to my normal travel schedule was a bit much so this year I decided to stay closer to home. MFF seemed like a good choice. I was right. It was perfect for me. You see, I'm one of those people who gets overwhelmed by big department stores. Give me a small boutique over Macy's any day. So, a smaller fest was right up my alley.

There was just enough of everything. Just a few barns of shopping. Just a few barns of animals. A wonderful herding demo where we watched him work both sheep and geese(!) I was able to take everything in and feel like I'd had just the right amount of fun.

We were welcomed to the fairgrounds by a giant rooster. He sits up on top of the ticket booth at the entrance.

We watched the herding demo for awhile. They guys said the dog was pretty new at it, but I don't believe him. That dog did very well. My Sam could take a lesson on listening for sure. I don't need him to herd, just come when called. Once.

We ran into a few friends. Erica Owen was showing off Bare Naked Wool. Carl and Eileen from Bijou Basin Ranch were there too. How could you not buy something from these two? Honestly.

Did you know we dye yarn for them? You should see the Outlander colors. Makes me swoon. 

Enough of the socializing and plugging. We had shopping to do! If you are hoping for yarn p0rn, I'm going to disappoint. I don't really buy yarn. Well, that's not exactly true, I buys tons of yarn, but I don't usually buy yarn out in the wild. I think that's because I I have access to so much. And, I can make it look any way I'd like.  Besides, if I had too much "other" around, I might end up inadvertently incorporating someone else's aesthetic into my work and I want to keep my artistic vision pure.

But trust me, we had plenty to look at besides yarn. And my wallet came home significantly lighter.

There was the Coopworth sheepskin I bought for my bathroom rug. It comes from the largest flock of Coopworth in the U.S., Hidden Valley Farm and Woolen Mill. The staple on this puppy is close to 7" long. I can even begin to describe how dreamy it is on my feet when I step out of the tub and wiggle my toes.

Over in the next barn, we ran into a woman making brooms. Her name is Bev Larson of The Basket Lady and I had a tough time choosing which one I wanted. I finally settled on a lovely multicolored one. It's too pretty to get put away in a closet. I think I'm going to put a couple of nails in the door and hang it on the outside. Not sure whether that'll prompt me to use it more often. Probably not.

Over at the front of one of the animal barns was a table set up with info about Bluefaced Leicester and some other bits and bobs. Jeanne picked up a beautiful white fleece that she's going to use to cushion the stool she sits at when she's weaving. I couldn't resist this little guy. I think I will call him Nigel. 

A parting shot, right before the phone breathed its last gasp for the day and we road off into the sunset. My sheep friend. 

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