Fiber Revival 2013

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Stitched By Jessalu bags on one side, Mad Color spinning fiber on the other.

Part One: The Purchases.

What more do you need to hear? There was a fiber festival, there was shopping. We all love reading about others’ expeditions and what they came back with, so here’s my annual Fiber Revival post.  This yearly event takes place on the serene Spencer-Pierce-Little farm in Newbury, MA, in the beautiful Merrimack Valley. It’s a comparatively small event sponsored by the Newburyport Spinners.  Every year vendors and fiber enthusiasts spread out over the farm’s grounds with their wares and their chairs; it’s a BYOC (Bring your Own Chair) event! People fan out in groups under the trees with their projects, enjoying the scenery and the company while waiting for the Ipswich Ale truck to roll in.  I love being exposed to so many knitting and spinning products, wandering around the farm, peeking in on the people who brought their spinning wheels and seeing what’s on the bobbins. Oh yeah, and the farm animals–I love visiting the farm animals. I started going in 2009, and so far the weather cooperated with us–each year the day of the festival has been sunny and beautiful.

I got an early start because I desperately wanted to stalk shop at two tents in particular: Stitched By Jessalu and The Woolen Rabbit. I love Jessalu’s fun and funky project bags, and I was on the hunt for one in particular.  As for the Woolen Rabbit, I’ve purchased spinning fiber from her, but I’ve never bought any of her hand-dyed yarn. I wanted to buy some of her yarn and one of the cute hat patterns featured on her blog, to cast on later that night.

My project-bag problem has been well documented on this blog, and I’m afraid it’s not disappearing any time soon.  I discovered Jessalu’s bags a couple of years ago at Spunky Eclectic’s tent, and I’ve noticed them popping up around me ever since. In particular I noticed a couple of people at the North Shore Yarn Crawl last March carrying around small box bags with the Tardis from Doctor Who on it, and man, did I ever want one. They never seemed to be in stock whenever I went on to her website, so on Saturday I planned on arriving at the festival when it opened at 9:00 AM. in hopes of scoring a Tardis bag. My early start paid off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATraffic was light (well, it’s pretty light anyway once you hit the country) and I got there a little earlier than expected. People were already inside the gate when I arrived at 8:55 AM. The vendors had set up so I walked over to Jessalu’s stall. Success! There was one bag with the Tardis fabric that I wanted. The little Dalek notions bag was a delightful find and the perfect compliment.  There were a lot of bags with cartoon renditions of popular sci-fi characters such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, (OS and NextGen). There may have been some superheroes or Avengers fabric, and believe it or not, BBC’s Sherlock has its own fabric pattern.  You gotta love a woman who has a healthy respect for all the fandoms. I was happy that I found what I wanted, but were two bags enough for me? No. Because then I saw this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m a sucker for kawaii sushi. I don’t know why. I hate seafood, cooked or raw. But there’s something about cute food with little happy faces on it that melts my heart every time. I should take a photo of the interior fabric because it’s even more adorable–smiling shrimps! This bag is quite a bit bigger than the small box bag and can fit a mid-sized project like a hat or scarf or small shawlette, perhaps.

I was Jessalu’s first customer of the day. You won’t hear me admit this again, but I may have come off as a bit of a stalk-y weirdo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn to The Woolen Rabbit. This is her Kashmir yarn in the colorway Clara Bow. Clara Bow was a 1920s movie star, for you youngsters out there. 🙂 I bought one hank of this and the pattern for Amy Herzog’s Fellowes Cloche, an adorable ’20s style hat. This is the color shown in the patterns photos, and I think the deep red is deliciously perfect for a hat that’s both ladylike and a little jaunty at the same time. The other colors of Kashmir were beautiful, but I couldn’t picture the hat in grey or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdark green, so red it shall be. Who doesn’t want to be a lady in red sometimes? I also bought two braids of merino and tussah silk spinning fiber. I adore a wool and silk blend. I’m the type of spinner who buys fiber because it’s pretty without knowing what to make with it or how much yardage I’ll end up with once it’s spun. I love the delicate variegated shades of pink, mauve and chocolate. I’m not even going to think about what this will be once it’s plied, I’ll let the yarn tell me when it’s ready.

I took a workshop on Russian spindle spinning from Linda Scharf of Stone Leaf Moon. It was a wonderful and eye-opening introduction to the world of supported spindles. More of that in Part Two. For now, please enjoy some more photos.

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