The day couldn’t have been nicer. Bright sunshine, cool breezes and temperature’s in the 80’s gave a nice welcome to the fiber festival A Wool Gathering. The festival, held on September 18 & 19, 2010 was hosted by Young’s Jersey Dairy, Yellow Springs 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd Yellow Springs, OH 45387. It was located in the back field where there was plenty of room to set up many long tents and scattered smaller tents. There were more than a hundred vendors set up inside the tents and along a midway aisle in between.
The fiber festival, A Wool Gathering (link is actual photos of opening day) was a gathering of fiber artists from all over Ohio, including Indiana and Kentucky. The booths held a myriad of items featuring racks and racks of skeins of hand dyed wool by these local artists. Skeins of imported wool from as far as New Zealand was available at very reasonable prices. Many sold rove as well, which is wool that is not carded or spun into yarn yet. The rove is hand dyed or natural and sold in large bags. The artists also had items that were already finished. Hats, scarves, shawls, jackets, socks all creatively unique. Each booth had the distinctive stamp of a particular artist. It was a feast for the eyes.
They brought their animals, they brought their looms, spinning wheels and crafting tools. Everywhere they were demonstrating how to accomplish these old world crafts. Some dressed in costume, others were outfitted in knitted items they made themselves.
The demonstrations were interesting. A woman with a drop spindle showed how to spin rove into wool yarn by hand without a spinning wheel. She spun a small spindle against her hip and held it high. It spun crazily while she carefully fed the rove and it twisted into yarn. When it stopped, she unhooked the yarn and rolled it onto the spindle. She laughingly said, as she stood in a very breezy area, that a drop spindle does not do well in a high wind! The then demonstrated how to lay the spindle in a box, inserting each end in a hole on both ends and let it roll as she rolled the newly spun yarn into a ball.
The animals were brought in to demonstrate how their wool is processed into yarn. Sheep were shorn every hour by professionals. It was amazing to see how fast it goes. One man holds the sheep in position and a second man shears it close. The children were allowed to pet the sheep. All the animals looked well cared for. The llamas looked loftily around the crowds. The alpaca wool from the llamas is extremely soft.
Those in charge at the festival made sure children had much to do. The children’s activities ( this link is a slide show of the activities) included a music circle where musicians chose songs especially for children and invited them into a circle to sing and strum instruments. They were offered straw hats to wear and hand made toys to play with. Along with petting areas, there was a dog who demonstrated his ability to corral geese! It was exciting to watch. There was a booth to make your own jump rope. A large area to play jump rope in was provided. All the usual play equipment at Young’s Jersey Dairy was also open for them. There was also a drawing every fifteen minutes for free ice cream!
The crowds were large, there was an additional long tent this year and everyone was carrying bags of merchandise. It was a very successful festival!