Friday, August 22, 2014

Kentucky Wool Festival

Wreath with one pound
Llama fiber - Song's 
For the past two years I have been a demonstrator/exhibitor (not to be confused with an exhibitionist) at the Kentucky Wool Festival in Falmouth, KY. This is a huge festival that has been going on for decades.  It is a success story of something that started out quite small and grew to the amazing event that it is now.  It is quite an honor to be asked to participate with other very talented fiber artists in the Wool Tent.  The artists come from around Kentucky as well as a few of the neighboring states.  Wool/Fiber/Hair from Sheep, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, and goats are what the different artists use.

Dolly Llama's fiber
ready for spinning
Each artist has a booth showcasing her/his specialty.  I am amazed what different and varied things we all do; yet, we are all fiber artists. Some demonstrators have their spinning wheels there and spin all weekend long.  Others have small rigid heddle looms. In fact, one young man makes rigid heddle looms out of pvc pipes and sell them from his booth that weekend.  One artist does the drop spindle and has kits with some wool from her sheep to jumpstart you on your road to spinning. The drop spindles have been hand painted by her with sheep on the whirl.  Some artists knit and carry on a conversation with you without ever looking down at their elaborate patterns; their hands know what to do.

Bear I felted and knitted scarf

While the demonstrators are interesting to watch, it’s more fun to take a step into their booths and see what’s going on.  There are spun yarns, raw wools, clean rovings, felting and felted items, knitted items, woven items, and so much MORE I don’t even know how to cover it all. 

My Felted Llamas
for Christmas ornaments
There are a couple demonstrators who have “related” items.  One does sheep pottery.  She has her own pottery studio at her farm and makes pottery items that showcase sheep.  She also has Icelandic sheep and has specialty gifts made out of their fleeces. Another does weaving, but instead of using wool, she uses recycled fabrics  and makes unique rugs! Fascinating!

Llama- Pillows that I needle felted
and then stuffed

The Wool Festival is getting closer and I need to begin to get ready for my booth again this year. I usually sit out in front of my booth and needle felt so that the passers-by can stop and chat. That way it also encourages them to browse without me following them.

Needle Felting a HeartFelt ornament

 Now about the booth- I have done different things different years; however, I want to attempt something really unique and exciting this year.  Of course, I will still carry my usual items.

 In the past I have borrowed a drum carder from a sweet friend who has been sort of a mentor to me (from a sheep learning viewpoint).  I make individual batts out of the llama fiber.  With these you can spin or felt, or as one little boy said, “I just want one to carry.” They are beautiful and quite soft. I have to package most of them to keep them clean, but I also leave some unpackaged out on the table.  No one can walk by without touching….it’s expected.

Jenna's Wool- Shetland
after it's been cleaned

I also have rovings from both the sheep and llamas.  It’s fun to talk with customers about the personality of the sheep or llama that produced the roving they are purchasing. I love it when they share the stories telling what they hope to create with it.  Many people spin or weave, not everyone has the animals.  So, I guess they have to buy their supplies from some place. I am thankful when they choose my farm!

Stella's Wool -Tunis
before it's cleaned
Last year for a new twist, I made earrings with Swarovski crystals and wool balls.  I thought they were beautiful….so did my customers. 

I have felted wool fabric.  It is wool that has been needle felted into pieces of “fabric” that you could use for sewing, or as is for a blanket.  I made wool bags, purses, and pillows.  I also had some knitted scarves.

I have felting kits that have everything included to needle felt a few projects.  In other words, I have tried to have a little something for everyone, but this year, I want something REALLY unique.  I’ve begun formulating ideas, and will share what I did AFTER the festival.  I hope you’ll check back and that it was worth the wait.

          Otherwise, come to the Wool Festival!Click here to link to the Festival's Sheep and Wool Tent.

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