Special thanks to Mark Rougeux for this post.
Recently, I went to the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, IL, where I thoroughly enjoyed myself browsing the 39 vendors who were selling everything you can imagine that has to do with yarn. There is massive selection offered at a fair of this size. It’s lots fun to meet the people who actually create these beautiful fibers that draw hundreds of visitors each day.
Denise Bell of Lost City Knits had an amazing array of colors, as well as her own lace creations festooning her kiosk.
Susan Forbs, co-owner of Fairy Yarnmother, proudly poses in front of her beautiful felting fibers. Among her many products are brightly colored yarn blanks. “A yarn blank is two strands of yarn knit together into a fabric and then dyed to create identical skeins of yarn.” When you unravel the strands and wind them, you can then knit socks that match perfectly.
These bags of alpaca fleece were proudly presented by Ann Mayes of Alpacas D’Auxvasse. On her farm in Auxvasse, MO, she breeds Suri and Huacaya Alpacas where, in addition to natural fleece, she dyes some to offer spinners a wider choice of colors.
I met Sara and Hans von Tresckow of The Woolgatherers Ltd., LLC. They run a family business where she focuses on spinning and weaving, while his skill is used for producing portable weaving looms and spinning stools. It was interesting to note that they specialize in small to midsized looms for smaller homes and apartments.
Stefania Isaacson of Handspun by Stefania demonstrated her spinning techniques while also offering hand-held drop spindles. She is sharing her talents as a spinner at 11 different venues this year. She “specializes in hand-dyed, handspun yarns and rovings using only materials from nature with an occasional bit of manmade glitz.”
One of the most interesting displays was Envision Unlimited, an organization based in Chicago. It provides support to those who have been identified on the Autism Spectrum. I met Monika Neuland Kimrey, an interdisciplinary artist who was acting as spokeswoman for the organization. She was sitting atop a 6” thick carpet that is made from recycled yarns and other fiber materials.
Marcus, one of the program’s artists proudly displayed a fuzzy little creature that he and others make to sell and raise money for Envision. The good folks at Envision Unlimited will gladly accept any leftover yarn as a tax-deductable donation to help other adult artists with autism.
The most popular exhibit at the fair was Vintage Fibers. Aside from the beautiful angora fiber Norm and Heidi Warren carry, the big attraction was the fluffy angora rabbits. While Heidi was in the shop selling, Norm was entertaining children and adults alike with the rabbits that were on display and for sale. It was a great way for me to end my day at the fair.
If you want more information about the fair, you can access their website here. They run the fair for three days each summer. It is an inspiring way to spend a day with people who are just as passionate about working with yarns as you.
Have you ever been to a yarn fair?