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Fibershed Wool Symposium 2016

Last Saturday, Danny and I ventured out once again to Point Reyes, one of our favorite, local daytrip getaways, which is a little over an hour from home. This time we headed up that way to attend the 2016 Wool Symposium, hosted by Fibershed. This was my second year going to the symposium, and I think I enjoyed it twice as much as last year.

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The rain was really coming down that day. Thankfully, most of the event was set up inside, but a few of the vendors had to squeeze into a tent outside. From what I could tell, there was a really good turnout. It was a little close quarters, but still a really wonderful event.

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Like last year, I wasn’t able to attend any of the talks, but I am hope to get caught up when I watch the video recordings through the Fibershed website. We spent most of the afternoon checking out the symposium’s marketplace to get to know some of our local Fibershed vendors.

Before the slew of lovely fiber photos coming up in this post, I want to make sure I give a shout out to all of the amazing local mid/northern Californian knitters, designers, farmers, and other fiber goods sellers that were at the symposium last Saturday. Here is a full list of the vendors with their corresponding website links, sourced from the Fibershed website.

And now, as promised, some lovely fibery photos. All of the fiber and yarns that were being sold at the symposium were either natural colored or naturally dyed locally.

(Click below to view larger versions of the photos.)

I behaved myself pretty well and mostly window shopped (aka petted and squished all sorts of amazing fiber and yarn). I limited myself to purchasing about 4 oz of lovely brown alpaca fiber to spin from Menagerie Hill Ranch’s booth. I also got a couple small sample spools of alpaca yarn, which Danny might use in his bookbinding projects at some point.

In addition to the vendors, there were also fiber demos!

I was very excited to see many of my fiber art and natural dyeing teachers at the symposium. Being recognized and connecting with them really helped me genuinely feel part of the Fibershed community, which really meant a lot.

A highlight: I was inspired by Fibershed’s knit-along event for next month, which was launched at the symposium. The pattern for the KAL is Radiata, a shawl pattern by the local designer, Emily Cunetto, who I am a big fan of already. The pattern was designed to be easily adapted for all yarn weights. The goal of this community KAL is to help people connect with their local fiber producers. Knitters participating in the KAL are encouraged to choose yarn that is locally sourced and either in the fiber’s natural color state or dyed with local natural dyes grown in the region.

Here is a photo of a couple of samples of Radiata that were on display at the symposium.

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After some thought this week, I’ve decided to participate in the KAL as best as I can. Believe it or not, this will be my first knit-along. Ever. I’m not making any promises of finishing the shawl within the assigned month in between other craft projects and all, but I am excited to be a part of the community event to promote local fiber just the same.

Here are the weekly steps of the Fibershed KAL:

  • Week 1: Share the story of how you found your local fiber. Who grew it, where was it raised? Is it locally dyed or undyed?
  • Week 2: Share your progress. Is knitting with local fiber something you are used to, does it differ in experience?
  • Week 3: Share what local means to you, what comes to mind around the theme ‘for the love of place’?
  • Week 4: Share your shawl & your fibershed. How do you wear your finished garment and what is your geography like?

So, for next week, Week 1, I will be posting on the blog about the yarn I have chosen to use for the Radiata shawl. I just ordered the yarn last night, and I can’t wait until it gets here! Stay tuned.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a very good holiday, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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