Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wild and Woolly: Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2013

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, which happens the last weekend of September, marks the glorious end of the fiber festival season, being the biggest festival in the state. How knitters and spinners look forward to strolling among the booths indoors and outdoors, listening to folk music, sitting on the green lawn under the shade of spreading oaks, enjoying the warm late summer breezes and the company of other fiber people.

And then there was this year.

It started with a storm warning for the entire region:

Oookay, then. Not just rain, but high winds were expected, and traveler warnings went out all over the news and social media.

Yeah, but this is the Pacific NorthWet, so what's a little rain? We all know that September is highly unpredictable, and I watched the little weather icons on my computer change as often as a 19th century lady of fashion. Rain? Sun? Wind? Thunderstorms? Who knew what we'd face come Saturday morning?

So, as we gathered in carpools and drove up to the festival at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds, the winds were kicking up. By the time I got there, the outdoor booths were battened down, tarps shielding the goods inside. The rain was just a drizzle at that point, so we had a stroll around.

Under the protection of tarps and plastic, the intrepid vendors went on. Some worked at spinning or knitting, and there was this lady with a peg loom:

The wool stayed protected under the canopies, but hey, it once protected sheep from the rain, so what's a little dampness? Here's Huckleberry Knits, still bright with color:

The indoor vendors fared just fine, and when the rain started coming down in sheets, some people retreated indoors (or hid under the canopies). The Bellwether was there with locally-raised wool:

This will be the last year that Blue Moon Fiber Arts comes to OFFF, alas! We will miss the chance to buy Mill Ends and Rare Gems at the fiber shows (I guess we'll have to make the trek up to the Barn Sale instead, oh, twist my arm...):

A lovely blaze of color from Woolgatherings:

And we're losing Crown Mountain, too, for they're going out of business and moving to Germany. Lots of folks snatched up some bargains this year:

Out in the barns, things were a little damp, but these Angora goats were well protected against the elements:

The Shetland sheep looked right at home:

Some alpacas just got a haircut but seemed to be taking things in stride:

And the Angora bunnies were insulated under all of their fluff:

As for spinning on the lawn... that got moved upstairs in the Main Pavilion. Some spinners brought chairs, others borrowed whatever chairs and benches the fair organizers could rustle up. Groups of friends gathered to eat lunch, spin, knit, show off their purchases, and learn from each other:

There was quite a crowd, but people moving in and out all afternoon:

The spinning and knitting entries were upstairs, and this display of gorgeous RavensTail weaving, which is tradition weaving from the Pacific Northwest. Originally it was done with the wool of Mountain goats or from little wool dogs (now extinct, alas). The weft is heavy-gauge tightly thigh-spun, while the weft is very fine. Twined weaving on a warp-weighted loom produces the patterns and designs.

Here's the master weaver at work, with a project on the loom:

I didn't plan to buy much. I've got so much stash already, and spent most of my budget on a pair of nice hand cards. I found one Mill Ends skein of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon that I'll use for a pair of socks for hubs, since I'm pretty well outfitted with socks for right now. At a used book booth I found The Four Little Puppies, a book I remember having as a child, which had been my Dad's book. I don't know where it went to, but now I have a copy and can reread the adventures of Wags, Tags, Rags, and Obadiah. And... oh, dear, as though I don't have enough fiber already, but a friend came with llama fleeces that a relative who raises llamas gave her, and was giving them away. How do you say no to a free llama fleece?

What I will DO with a free llama fleece is still another question. Glad I bought the hand cards now.

And on the way home we hit a chocolate shop in Canby:

I'm well stocked up on wool and chocolate now. Life is good.

1 comment:

Mereknits said...

I am completely jealous, it looks like a fabulous place to visit even in a storm.


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