Fiber festival plans 2 days of activities

Posted: September 26, 2013

The Winchester Star

Sheep are among the animals featured in the breed exhibit Saturday and Sunday at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival to help people make the connection between animals and the clothes made from their fibers.

Berryville — The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival will celebrate the many facets of fiber with a weekend of activities.

Organizers have a full schedule of classes, demonstrations, vendors, animal exhibits, competitions, book signings and other activities planned throughout the two-day event to mark the festival’s eighth year, said Bethany Cecere, chair of the event and vendor coordinator.

The festival draws attention to the many steps involved in taking raw fiber and turning it into something beautiful, she said. “It is about keeping the craft alive and the awareness of all the different aspects of fiber, from the animal to the finished object.”

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds, 890 W. Main St., Berryville. Admission is $5 and free for children under 12.

For many people, there is a disconnect between the items they wear or use and their origin, said Katie Faulk, the festival’s board member at large and social media coordinator.

By having various parts of the fiber process represented, she is hoping people will make that connection again and learn something in the process, she said. “We want to promote and highlight the farmers who are raising these animals and the whole process it has to go through for it to get from an animal to your back.”

The event will feature about 110 vendors selling yarn, raw materials, notions, dyed fabric, decorations, artwork, equipment, books, and a wide variety of hand-woven, hand-spun, hand-knit, and hand-felted items, Cecere said.

The festival not only draws local businesses wanting to showcase their offerings but vendors from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, South Dakota, Ohio, and Michigan.

That kind of variety is a good draw for fiber enthusiasts, bringing in about 1,800 people during the two days last year, Cecere said.

Once they come through the gates, there will be plenty to entertain them, she said. There are 12 classes offered on subjects, such as making a felt neck warmer, point spinning, needle felted llama, beginning spinning or weaving, and Tunisian crochet, she said. The last is a technique that borrows elements from crochet and knitting.

Tunis Gray is a returning author who will promote her new book, “Knitting Architecture,” from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Gina House, author of “Wonderlace,” will sign her book from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

House currently has one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry, which is a social network website for knitters and crocheters, Cecere said. “Because she has touched so many people with her pattern, it is nice to get to know the person behind the pattern.”

A spinning competition featuring adult and junior divisions and a Fleece to Scarf competition will not only allow competitors to show off their skills but give people watching a chance to see firsthand how yarn is made, she said.

The Angora Goat Show and the Cashmere Goat Show, which will both be held Saturday and Sunday, demonstrate how the same type of animal can produce very different fibers, Faulk said. There will be sheep dog herding demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.

The Breed Exhibit will allow people to interact with fiber producing animals such as sheep, goats, rabbits, llamas, alpaca, and Junior the camel, she said.

There will also be a juried fleece sale where people can buy raw fibers, music playing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and three raffles where the featured prizes are a spinning wheel, a loom, and two sets of interchangeable knitting needles.

Information

The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds, 890 W. Main St., Berryville. Admission is $5 and free for children under 12. For more information, go to svfiberfest.com.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com