Monday, July 30, 2012

6th Annual Fiber Christmas in July 2012

Fiber Christmas in July has a special place in my heart. It was the first Fiber Festival I had ever attended, and the friends I made have grown into lifelong friendships. We gather, discuss, promote, and generally make fiber mayhem for everyone to enjoy year after year.

Now, that means a full year of planning that you all don't see see from creating advertising, handing and mailing fliers, setting up the buildings, and finally managing the chaos that is the festival.

This year, we wanted to do some new things. We had two contests: handspun and chemo hat. One was to promote your skills as spinners; the other to gather hats for charity. Both wonderful in their own rights. The variety and quality of entries blew me away! I swear there was one particular handspun yarn that was so perfect, it looked machine made.

Another was the Passport Card, in which we handed out sheets with all the vendors names had to be marked to be put into a drawing. I loved seeing just how excited everyone got when they were looking for vendors. We were surprised by just how many finished getting their papers all signed.

Classes were a huge hit! We had several classes, some new, some repeats. We asked several months ago what classes everyone would like and found teachers for what we could. Each class wound up being filled to the brim with eager students.

I actually was able to take two myself. First was a soap making class. I had been asking for this particular class for a year or two now. I learned so much as to the hot process of making soap. The mistakes we made were nicely trouble-shot, so I know what to do the next time I make soap. I came home with 12 bars of handmade lavender soap that should be hardened and ready to go by Christmas. Aren't they lovely?

 I taught a class on Solar Dyeing. A technique I use every summer to get deep, rich colors using natural heat. I always worry about not giving enough info, but am always pleasantly surprised by just how thankful and open the students are. We went through several techniques and tips. They enthusiastically absorbed all the info and left with mason jars full of fibers and dye.

I also was excited to run some projects through a Felt Loom. This ingenious machine can needlefelt fabric into fleece fabric to make the most beautiful sheets of color. This first is a two sided tree with a rainbow background. It took no time at all to finish.


The second is a landscape of a mountain by a lake.We had to work carefully as to not move the fibers around too much. I have so much more detail to add, but it's on its way!

Finally, I took a wonderful class from Kate Lowder of Lowder Colours Farm. She is an expert on sheep and fleece. I could sit and pick her brain for hours. We all discussed a variety of sheep breeds, their history, and how that changed the way the fleeces are. It was very informative. Though I have a baggies full of fleece to sample and write down my findings. We hope to discuss them next year in a follow-up class and to cover new breeds of sheep.

All in all, I am joyously, exhausted. The whirlwind weekend of friends and fibers have me thinking ahead for new things to plan for next year. There are more photos on the Flickr Group if you want to see. We may have some exciting news on the horizon if all goes as planned, but you will have to stay tuned to see.