Monday, November 19, 2018

Yes, Another Fiber Festival

Not just any fiber festival, mind you. Knot Another Fiber Festival! On October 28th, two friends and I ventured up the Columbia River Gorge to the town of The Dalles to attend Knot Another Fiber Festival or KAFF. My goal, in addition to enjoying time with friends, was to look for crochet aware vendors and yarns that are produced keeping the health of the planet in mind. I'm using the term crochet aware rather than crochet friendly and defining it as a vendor who remembers that crocheters, as well as knitters, buy yarn. They could have crocheted samples in their booth or sell hooks or other crochet notions. Other vendors aren't necessarily unfriendly to crochet, but they might not keep it in mind when marketing their products. 

The marketplace at KAFF wasn't huge, but there was plenty to choose from. All of the vendors highlighted below are either environmentally conscious, crochet friendly or both.

Sincere Sheep

The first booth I stopped in was Sincere Sheep from Napa Valley, CA. They produce single source, breed specific, naturally dyed yarns.  Sincere Sheep's fiber and other supplies are purchased from domestic producers who work sustainably and support their local economies. Often naturally dyed yarns have muted colors. These can be lovely, but sometimes we crafters want more intense colors. Look at some of the yarn Sincere Sheep offers. Everything from deep plum to sky blue to bright green.

They also have a nice selection of project bags, notions, soaps and other accessories. 

I picked up this little crochet hook gauge. A lot of gauges are made with holes that work fine for knitting needles but not so well for hooks because the head of the hook doesn't fit through the hole. This gauge has notches so you can measure the shaft of the hook where you need to. I'd been looking for something like this for a while.

Abundant Earth Fiber

Down the aisle I found Abundant Earth Fiber. They are a small woolen mill on Whidbey Island, WA that produces small batches of domestically sourced yarn. Much of their fiber is from local farms or the Pacific Northwest region. 

Abundant Earth processes fibers from sheep, goats, alpaca, and rabbits. See this page on their website for an interesting description of their wool including a list of the many breeds they work with. 

In addition to yarn and fiber, Abundant Earth sells kits for home dyeing. Here is Lydia (right) describing some of the ways the dye kit can be used.

This intrigued me so much that I purchased one. Stay tuned for future blog posts on my dyeing adventures. I also acquired 3 skeins of Abundant Earth's lovely BFL/silk. I've got a special project planned for this yarn. You'll hear more about that in the future too.

Three Fates Yarns

Another booth offering some yarn with an eye to sustainability was Three Fates Yarns owned and operated by my friend Stephania. I know sustainability is important to her because when she's not dyeing and selling yarn she works as the sustainability coordinator at a community college. Among the yarns she sells is some made from upcycled waste merino and some from climate beneficial rambouillet. For more on climate beneficial wool and carbon farming, see the Fibershed website. Carbon farming involves agriculture practices that help sequester carbon in the soil and thus combat global warming.

In addition to the yarns above, Stephania recently completed a Kick Starter project where she purchased Gotland fleeces from small local farms, had them spun at a local mill then dyed the yarn herself. What a great way to support local businesses and a heritage breed.

Stephania also had a crocheted shawlette on display in her booth. It's the Rowan Berry by Laurinda Reddig. 

Shaggy Bear Farms

I was glad to see Shaggy Bear Farms at this festival. All of their yarn comes from the animals on their own farm here in the Willamette Valley. This is the ultimate in local yarn. Wendy at Shaggy Bear told me they have 38 breeds of sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas including, as the sign below says, rare and endangered breeds. She doesn't have a website, but here's an interview with her from a few years back. I've worked with Wendy's yarn several times, and it's lovely.

Thistle and Hart

Thistle and Hart Fiber Co. sources all of their fiber and yarn from farms using sustainable practices. They're also an equal crafting opportunity company and dye with all fiber crafts in mind - crochet, knitting, spinning, felting, and weaving. If you've ever tried to crochet with a lovely variegated yarn only to find the colors pooling unattractively, you'll know how important this is. Likely that yarn was dyed with the amount of yarn used by knit stitches in mind. It's so nice to find another indie dyer who is both environmentally conscious and crochet aware. In her booth at KAFF Becky had two crocheted shawls on display. The brown one in the photo below is Tranquille by Janet Brani. 

The blue shawl below is the Klaziena Shawl by Kirsten Bishop. I love it's vintage look.

Despondent Dyes

It's always fun to see the ladies from Despondent Dyes. I get such a kick out of their motto.

They were also showing off the Thai Crochet Cowl by Hannah Owens. I think it's gorgeous in this yarn. It looks so squishy.

Willamette Valley Wool Company

The Robin's Wings Shawl by Laurinda Reddig was on display in the Willamette Valley Wool Company booth (Note: According to their Facebook page, their website is temporarily down.) 

Their large display included a great range of colors. Here are just a few.

I was excited to see someone crocheting in the Willamette Valley Wool Co. booth. I've seen a lot of knitters and spinners in booths at fiber festivals but seeing a crocheter has been rare in my experience. That crocheter was Jeananne Atthowe who is not only a crocheter but also a crochet designer. She and knitwear designer Angela Westover sell their patterns at Cerulean Orchid.

Candy Skein

Tami of Candy Skein had the Autumn Leaves Shawlette by Lindsey Stephens on display in her booth next to some lovely, soft yarn. 

If you happen to be in the Astoria, OR area, check out Tami's new brick and mortar shop at 382 12th St.

Rock N' More Accents

I mentioned Rock N' More Accents (aka Spinning Mind Designs) in my last post on the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. In her booth at KAFF, she had many of her magnetic shawl clasps displayed on crocheted swatches and shawls. The folded shawl in the first picture below is the beautiful Porcelain Berry by Elena Fedotova.

The magnets on those shawl clasps, by the way, are super strong. If you use one to secure your shawl to your blouse, there's no way your shawl will slip.

That's the last fiber festival I'll be attending this year. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of vendors who remembered to include us crocheters or kept the environment in mind in their business practices or both. I like to vote with my wallet and support businesses whose values mirror my own. Do you have any favorite environmentally aware and/or crochet aware yarn sellers? Comment below! Thanks for stopping by.