The first Manitoba Fibre Festival was on Saturday. It was a rousing success, despite pouring rain and cold temperatures. (It never topped 13C --about 55F) I was there, helping out and teaching, from 7:45 AM until about 4:30 PM, and the venue was about 25 minutes' drive from my house. I spent most of the day in an outdoor tent, helping with the information booth, the wool show, and teaching. Gosh, I was chilled to my bones by day's end.
However, we had over 20 vendors, great big crowds, and successful classes. Aside from one or two class snafus and a very damp tent (it was pitched over a drainage ditch), things went smoothly. Overall, I am thrilled to have been a part of it.
One of the most interesting parts of the experience for me was seeing how incredibly excited everyone was to finally have this experience. Many of them knew of festivals elsewhere, and some people had travelled long distances to go to festivals in the past. However, some fiber-arts people took even bigger risks, considering this was the first time we'd had a fibre festival in Manitoba--one group travelled 5 hours from Sioux Lookout, Ontario. The fabulous wool judge came from Saskatchewan. There were so many people committed and thrilled to be a part of our one day, pop up, festival extravaganza. Spinners, knitters, weavers, felters, rughooking, basket-making, dyeing--it was all there.
What would I dream of for future events?
1) A warmer and/or drier day --but we can't control that!
2) A bigger space
3) More volunteers and help
4) More cross border diversity in terms of vendors...I wish there were spinning wheel vendors, a huge number of fleeces of different varieties on sale and at the wool show, and more. By cross border, I mean--from the US (just an hour away by car) or from Ontario or Saskatchewan or beyond. I was thrilled by our local representation but wanted more more more...including chances for people to try out wheels, touch large varieties of sheep breeds, and talk to more shepherds.
5) Some animals would be nice, but this ties into #4. We need a way to get shepherds to believe in wool sales, and come along for the ride... never mind those who raise alpacas, llamas, goats, rabbits, etc.
It took me a long time to post about things, to dry out my teaching supplies--heck, even to get warm myself. (a big bowl of soup and a hot shower only made a small dent in it!)
Finally, it took a long while to get my household back to normal. The only way I could be so involved the day of the festival was by having a lot of help from my family. My parents flew in from Virginia (thank you!!) and with my husband's help, all three were on twin duty for the whole day. Their hard work kept everybody on track and prevented 2 year old meltdowns on a cold, wet day without Mommy.
The photo here is perhaps incongruous, but it makes sense to me. For the past 6 months or more, I have had a basket of spinning in our basement playroom. Believe it or not, that is where I get to spin most--while supervising the boys as they play (and beat up on each other.). I brought these tools out of the basement and wandered the tent, spinning as I talked to people. Many were excited to talk about my spindles, and wanted to learn about how one could walk and spin and answer questions about the festival at the same time. What I wanted to say was--compared to corralling the twins? It was easy. Like being on a one-day vacation with like-minded friends. :)
See you next year at the festival?
Labels: family, felting, fiber festival, Fiber Gathering, fibre festival, knitting, Manitoba sheep breeders, rug hooking, twins, weaving, Winnipeg spinning