If you weren't at the Purple Pained Lady or the Naples Grape Festival, you might've been at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival this weekend! Every year in September, fiber artists from around the Rochester area and beyond gather at the Hemlock fairgrounds for the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival. Organized by the Genesee Valley Handspinner's Guild, this festival is a fun time to meet up with other shepherds, fiber artists and old friends.
While I have yet to take advantage of the many classes offered, I love to go to pick up some local yarn (as if I need any more...) and catch up with friends I haven't seen in a while. This year I decided to take my grandma and spend the afternoon browsing gorgeous fiber.
As I continue to build the fiber side of my business, fiber festivals are a great way to see how others package, display and market their wool. There's a lot to be learned from others and the fiber community is a very caring community who is very willing to talk with me and share ideas.
One friend I stopped to talk to was Holly of Peartree Farm. She has beautiful Teeswater sheep that are also a British longwool breed. I went to high school with her kids and it fun to now connect on fiber. She taught me how to spin last winter and has been a great mentor of mine as I begin to delve into the world of fiber. Holly is a talented spinner who makes beautiful art yarns spinning with the locks of her sheep. She recommends "Ideas & Patterns for Art Yarns" and "Unleash Your Inner Design Power" as great books for knitting and creating with art yarns. I would love to do make some of these amazing patterns with my Lincoln Locks. Someday...
The other person I enjoyed talking with was Karen of Windsong Wensleydales. Wensleydales are yet another British Longwool breed. Though different than the Lincoln, I loved her display and how she is marketing the beautiful locks. Karen spent a lot of time talking to me about preparing the longwool fleeces for sale and how best to package the roving and locks. I learned so much and am very thankful for the time she spent chatting! We had previously connected through the LocalFiber community in Ithaca and it was great to chat again. I hope to take her up on her offer to come visit and play with wool sometime soon!
There were several vendors offering Shave 'Em to Save 'Em passport stickers, which was great to see. If you live in the Western New York area, it's worth checking out this great little fiber festival for beautiful yarns, fibers and classes! Add it to your calendar for next September.
Emmaline Long, main owner of Orchard View Farm, has a passion for Lincoln sheep and loves educating others about her breed and farm, She currently serves as the Vice President of the National Lincoln Breeders Association.