Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fuzz Festival

Yesterday I met up with some friends to attend the first (and hopefully annual) Fuzz Festival in Exeter, New Hampshire. The event was sponsored by the 212 year old Exeter Congregational church. They put the word out that they were looking for fiber artists to demonstrate their art, and they could sell their merchandise. And fiber artists came. This gentleman was showing how you can spin angora right off of the bunny, and the bunny was enjoying all the attention.
I had planned to attend the Annual Hook In held in Eliot Maine, but decided to support this new event. It appeared that they had a great attendance and had a nice variety of demonstrators. Rug Hooking was noticably absent, but possibly due to the hook-in. One woman was demonstrating the many things that can be crocheted, including plastic bags, string, cotton fabric and tulle netting. She also showed how old patterns are perfectly suitable for today.
Since I love antiques I was fascinated by this old knitting machine. It would knit fine yarn or thread into a cylinder or tube. It still worked efficiently and was quite fast. She said it was probably from the 1920's or 1930's era.
Several vendors were selling their wares, and there was a nice variety of fleece and fibers for spinning and weaving enthusiasts. This basket of silk cocoons caught my eye, and although I am enjoying spinning I would have no idea how to get the fibers off of those little balls. I'm sure the vendor would have instructed me had I spent more time with her.
Weaving was beautifully exhibited, and anyone could work on a small loom if they chose to try. Items such as beautiful vests, jackets, tablecloths and eyeglass cases were available. There were also demonstrations of loom dressing, a Scandanavian tape loom, an artisan carving canes, wheel spinning, drop spindles and needlefelting.
One vendor took her scraps of fuzz, yarns, ribbons and fibers and formed them into large balls. The balls are to be hung outside so when birds are building their nests they have a nice source of soft fibers to pick from. Wouldn't it be lovely to see bits of fibers from your projects woven into nature by birds in your yard? Every nest should have a bit of purple and red, don't you agree?

Many vendors had varieties of fleece to spin...batts...balls...dyed and natural. I purchased a fleece for my favorite crafting chair to make it even more inviting and comfortable.
This vendor had beautiful turned wood items. I purchased a wood necklace scissor holder that is magnetized. I can wear my scissors close at hand in a beautiful turned holder. Cynthia's website is  She might begin making rug hooks and other items, but for now is focused on crochet hooks and other tools.

There was a "human loom" demonstration where people were working with strings to weave a mat as a group. Notice how everyone is bundled up? It was 8 degrees outside when we arrived...chilly!
Another artist was demonstrating making baskets. I enjoy making baskets and it reminded me that I should pull out my reed. I have so many interests that although I spend many of my non-working hours on my crafting I don't have time for it all. I am currently focused on rug hooking and spinning, but when the seasons change again perhaps my focus will also change.
I was pleasantly surprised and the nice variety of demonstrators, and it seemed that they had great attendance. I am sure that there are many people who now have a new appreciation for fiber arts, and have possibly found a new addiction. Surrounding yourself with fiber is a great way to spend time on a chilly winter day.


WoolenSails said...

Lots of fun activities and demonstrations. Always fun to learn new ways to use fibers. Still waiting for warm weather, lol.


Orange Sink said...

Excellent post! I would have loved to attend this! There does seem to be a movement and greater interest in the fiber arts and crafts. Thank-you for sharing this! Cathy G

Primitives By The Light of The Moon said...

What a great festival with so many demo's. Looks like it was lots of fun. Thanks for sharing!