FIRST ANNUAL FIBER FESTIVAL DRAWS DYED-IN-THE-WOOL ENTHUSIASTS
You had to be a dyed-in-the-wool fiber enthusiast if you were among the lucky to attend the first day of the fiber festival. Two days before such a late Easter and who would expect not only temperatures in the mid ’30’s, but torrential downpours of rain hammering the metal roof on the unheated Noble County Community Fairground Merchant Building?
The vendors do a commendable job of rushing their precious cargo into the building and setting up colorful displays of yarn, handmade items, looms, spinning wheels, felt and fabric; while the Festival organizers provide heaters to take a bit of a dent off the chill.
The show opens and a few early birds begin to arrive. It is nice-it gives the vendors the opportunity for one-on-one time. Not a huge crowd, but a small stream throughout the day making purchases and sharing their love of fiber.
My Born Again Quilts booth is across the aisle from Pufpaff’s Fiber Processing Mill of Nashville, Michigan. Barely a crotchetier and never a knitter, I get to know Suzanne Pufpaff and learn about fiber processing and yarns. Suzanne lives on a farm where she not only raises sheep and her guardian llama Dusty, she also helps her son gather the sap from 600 maple trees and sells syrup too.
Suzanne processes and cards all sorts of animal fibers including some unusual ones: beaver, buffalo, camel, Scottish Highland cow, dog and cat! She uses organic soap and wood to heat the hot water for washing the fiber. She recalls one of her favorite customers the guy who collected all of his Maine Coon’s cat fur and brought it to her. She processed it, and felted it into two hats, so he can proudly proclaim, “I have a cat in my hat!” How funky is that?
Suzanne sells all types of roving. I’m curious to know what “roving” is. She explains roving is bulky yarn knitted or crocheted without being spun first. I can only imagine what a bulky sweater made of roving would feel like right now!
Women and children attend Suzanne’s felting classes and happily leave with their felted eggs and flowers. Watching Suzanne interact with her students I wondered whether she teaches knitting to southpaws. Indeed she does. She explains if the lefty already knows how to crochet, she can show them how to hold the yarn and teach them the continental style. For a Lefty who doesn’t know how to crochet, she teaches them the “throwing technique”.
If you want to learn more about Suzanne and Pufpaff’s Fiber Mill go to fibermill.yurtboutique.com
For a first time show, it was very good. I salute Gwen Swogger, her husband Lee and the Fairground Board for their outstanding effort.
The Second Annual Northeast Indiana Fiber Festival dates are April 27 & 28, 2012. I hope to see you there, hopefully in better weather!
A personal note: I would like to thank the many readers who either emailed me at the studio or through The Waynedale News regarding my Mother’s Day article. Your comments were most appreciated! LE