Wool and fiber nuts welcome
Fiber nuts and wool growers are going to love this.
The High Desert Wool Growers Association's 20th Annual Fiber Market Day is set for 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25 in the Carey Foster Hall at the Crook County Fairgrounds. They aim to educate the public about all things fiber related.
"The original purpose, and still is, is to share the wonderful fiber that we grow here in Central Oregon," explained Barb Peters, the president of High Desert Wool Growers Association and the event coordinator. "We show how it's used and get people interested and involved and provide everything from raw fleeces to completed garments and tools to use for processing and creating things on their own."
For those interested in exploring the fiber world for the first time, the event is a chance to see all the possibilities, from spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting, dyeing and weaving. And for those already hooked, they can explore the new fleeces and fibers and restock their supplies.
Fiber Market Day attendees can visit the 32 vendors, learn something new at the various demonstrations, and say hello to the live animals, including sheep and llamas.
Peters said her association puts on the annual event as a way to share their passion with those who may not otherwise get the opportunity to see wool-bearing animals and products made from wool.
"Wool is not as intimidating as people think it is. It's not always scratchy," Peters said, adding that members also enjoy sharing their love for all things fiber.
The High Desert Wool Growers Association promotes and supports the growing of fiber animals, including alpacas, goats, llamas, sheep and rabbits, and the use of their fiber in spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting and dyeing.
The 20 or so members range in age from mid-40s to mid-70s and make fiber production a part of their lives. They all live in the tri-county area and meet monthly.
Peters, of Terrebonne, was originally a spinner but has broadened her horizons to include knitting, crocheting and weaving, and she creates hand-woven rugs. She operates Baabaara's Handspun and has a small farm with fine-wool sheep and a few alpacas.
At her booth during Fiber Market Day, Peters will have everything from raw fleece, carded fleece, dyed yarn, and a few drop spindles.
While most vendors are from this region, one comes from Washington and a few are from the Willamette Valley, including Eugene Textile Center.
"They offer a lot of product, and they also offer a lot of tools that are not readily available in Central Oregon," Peters said of the Eugene business.
Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers will demonstrate weaving, and they'll also have finished product for sale.
Another vendor will sell her shawl pins and broaches. There will be reference books, looms, spinning wheels, drop spindles, yarn, fleece and fiber that's ready to spin. Vendors will offer raw fleeces that buyers can process the way they want. Two fiber processors will have booths.
Artists will demonstrate weaving, spinning, color blending, carding, skirting a fleece, and there will be a spinning circle.
"I show drop spindles, which is a very ancient and portable way, very inexpensive for someone to get started and see if they like spinning," Peters said.
The 20-year-old event was originally held at the former Deschutes County Fairgrounds but then moved to the Crook County Fairgrounds. It's always held the last Saturday of March.
"Prineville Fairgrounds has always been really good to us," Peters said. "It's not as central as some other locations might be, but we figure it's a win-win for Prineville and for our group."
Admission to Fiber Market Day is free. Two food vendors will be on hand, and Peters thinks kids will not only enjoy watching the spinning demonstrations but will like getting to see the live animals.
"It's a free event, and it's a great day-trip. I'm hopeful for great attendance this year," Peters said. "There's a strong commitment in the group to sharing our love for fiber, and I call it getting other people hooked."
Fiber Market Day
Date: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25
Location: Carey Foster Hall, Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 S. Main St.