My friend Steve and I took a field trip to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (flockandfiberfestival.com) this past Fall because we both like yarn and we both really dig goats. Besides providing an afternoon of fun-filled frolicking with Steve, the trip inspired this project— a beginner's attempt to make yarn by first hand dyeing and then spinning wool.
Narrowly escaping the Chatty Cathy at Dutch Bros. (SE 67th Ave. and SE Foster Road), Steve and I arrived at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds (694 NE 4th Ave., Canby, OR) shortly after 1pm. I think our barista might have still been talking to us when we turned off the car more than 16 miles away.
We rallied at the gate and devised a plan: peruse the Lawn and Pavilion vendors until we'd had enough, and then Meet & Greet the livestock in the 4-H Building. We meandered across the lawn, pawing everything in sight. Over 130 vendors were representing— with a higher percentage hawking raw fiber than ready-made yarn. These folks were selling the gear to MAKE yarn— right down to the sweet, doe-eyed quadrupeds!
Trying to avoid the gigantic circle of spinning wheels under the shade trees (which looked suspiciously like a drum-circle), I noticed Stevanie Waldorf, from Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks (8524 SE 17th Ave., 258-9276, abundantyarn.com) hand spinning some fiber with a gadget she called a drop spindle. She made it look incredibly easy, as she walked about the square, talking to people and having a good time. I was intrigued, but not yet convinced I could do it.
Inside the Main Pavilion I found bags of plant-based dyes from Solvang, California-based Village Spinning and Weaving Shop (888-686-1192, villagespinweave.com) and was beginning to think I might actually be able to do this. I bought four ounces for $5.
A few tables away, I watched Meri Williams, from The Fiber Addict, LLC in Donnelly, Idaho, (208-325-4177, thefiberaddict.com), as she demonstrated another drop spindle. I was mesmerized. "How hard can it be?" I thought, and selected a drop spindle ($12.95) and two balls of natural merino wool ($6.40 each). I explained my ambitious adventure to Meri, who spent a few minutes showing me how to spin, stocked me up with pamphlets and tutorials, and sent me on my way.
I had a lot of learning to do—but not before Steve and I got friendly with some goats. Who knew you can buy a really cute goat for a mere $35?
Next Week: Fear of Felting
Made is a weekly how-to advertising-sales feature that focuses on D-I-Y projects and the local businesses that can help you make them.