Let's be honest, I had been counting down the days until this years' Manitoba Fibre Festival. Last year was so wonderful, I was anticipating another great day and I was not dissapointed. The festival was such a success in its first year that this time, they needed A LOT more space. There were several more vendors and so many interesting workshops that they expanded the location over slightly to include the arena area of St Norbert Community Hall.
I was also excited for the wool show, as I was invited back to judge the fleeces. This year we had 17, so almost double from last year! The more the better and this also makes for a more interesting competition and class set-up. We had 4 classes - Fine, Medium, Long and Specialty. I saw Polypay, Corriedale, Suffolk, Dorset, Romney crosses and Shetland. A nice representation of breeds common in the prairies. It was also nice to see fleeces from producers from both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Grand Champion and a First Place in the Fine Class was awarded to this Polypay fleece from Manitoba Producer Gerry Oliver with a score of 95.5%. You can see that she takes great pride in her wool and the quality of her fleeces and it shows. After the show, she even told me that she was up into the wee hours the night before, making sure her fleeces were perfectly skirted and looking their best. Well worth the effort. Congrats Gerry!
The Shetland fleeces were also gorgeous, the colour ranges in that breed are lovely and the fleeces themselves were tip top.
Janet from Qu'Appelle was also at the festival, attending workshops and even entered fleeces which placed first and second. It was quite nice to see so many people from Saskatchewan attending the festival this year.
I was in the perfect location to snag a beautiful Capar tiny turkish spindle that was calling my name! It's made from Olivewood and Walnut. I must be crazy because I'm not a big turkish fan, and the little, teeny tiny ones just make no sense to me yet, I couldn't stop looking at it. They have an Etsy shop, I don't think this will be my only purchase from them. Keep an eye out for a spindle review on this one in the future.
There were also lots of demonstrations in weaving, machine knitting, spinning, and net making. You could have also brought your wheel and joined in with the spin-a-long that was happening. There was a book signing with Carol James - who is well known in the art of Sprang and finger weaving. I purchased a couple of her books at Olds a couple years ago. Her personality is so addictive, I promise that you will be so amazed with both her and her work, you will want her to come teach a workshop in your area.
Joanne Seiff, who is also one of the coordinators of the Manitoba Fibre Festival, had a couple books that I was very interested in; Knit Green and Fiber Gathering. She signed both for me and I have already delved into them and flagged several of the projects to knit for myself. I also love how both are somewhat reference books in the fact that they are chalk full of useful information and you can tell she has done her research. I highly recommend both, they would be a wonderful addition to your library.
I appreciated that Jeremy ran my booth for me during the entire day. He even said that he had a great time talking to people and sharing all the enthusiasm and passion for fibre arts that everyone bonded over. Congrats to both Margaret and Joanne for another successful festival! Can't wait to see everyone again in 2015 and thanks so much for those who came out!