This past weekend I had the great opportunity to attend the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Grayslake. Not that I thought I was living in my dream world with access to all these amazing yarns, but I was certainly drooling over every piece of fiber I laid my eyes on. For eight years now this show has been put on for all the fiber enthusiasts, yarn lovers, fiber designers and handmade artists. Not only is it a marketplace to see all the neat yarns and fibers available, but there are workshops and demonstrations so you can learn the newest technique and technology. My favorite part about the show (aside from the yarn) was seeing the live animals and learning how their fur is used to make yarn and roving. If you missed the show this year you can always look to attend next year, but here’s a little sneak peek at what I experienced!
The first booth I stopped at was Vintage Fibers and I had a blast there. Not only did I see some great items, but I was able to meet the star of them all: the little angora bunny. Did you know that some of your super soft yarns and roving are made out of angora bunny hair? It was neat to speak with one of the owners as she told me they didn’t have to shave the bunnies, but the hair just pulls out nice and easy and they can either keep the fur like that or they can mix it with Shetland and work it in that way. It’s much easier to mix the two and work up a project that way. It was cute to see a little angora bunny project made with real angora hair; it made me smile. How can it not?
Another booth I stopped at (Envision Unlimited) had really neat art pieces that were made with scraps – scraps of yarn, fiber scraps, quilting scraps. I got a little bit of a back story about this company; it’s a collaborative studio for artists with developmental and intellectual disabilities. People can send in their scraps and have the clients and families create some really special items with the scraps. Below is a beautiful handmade rug that I couldn’t stop staring at. The bright colors really caught my eye.
At Esther’s Place I was really excited to see this felted artwork. A lot of the trends I saw at the show were pieces of silk or satin that were then weaved in and felted. This felted piece really caught my eye because it takes a lot of talent to not only do the felting itself, but to come up and create a design as beautiful as this. Other items I saw from Esther’s Place were felted pin cushions, soap in the shape of sheep (how fitting), and even glass vases that were wrapped and designed with silk – almost like a decoupage design.
I passed the booth from Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill and saw these beautiful hanks of roving. To my surprise they were the softest I’ve felt in a long time. I personally don’t work with roving and haven’t had much experience with it, so I had no idea it was as soft to the touch.
And of course I saw yarn, yarn, and more yarn. I saw amazing skeins of yarn everywhere I looked and they all had such bright, brilliant colors. Some of the skeins were ultra soft, while others were a bit rough; some even had sparkles to them which I of course was drawn to.
The Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair was truly a great experience and it was so fun to talk to all the designers. Seeing all the great yarn and fiber just opened my eyes to so much more out there. I’ve been crocheting for about five years now and I will always consider myself a beginner, but this show is more geared toward the fiber arts and not just crochet or knitting. Stop in next year to check out the amazing products, the designs and even go home with a handful of brand new skeins.
I also got to spend a few minutes with this sweet llama. Much to my surprise, her fur was very soft!
What is your favorite type of yarn?