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22 May 2016

2016 Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival (lots of photos!)

After a good night's sleep, I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to recap the 2016 Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival for you!  I took over 300 photos while we were there, and went through them one-by-one last night to pick out the best to share with you.  Even though we woke up to a rainy, foggy, misty, drizzly day, there was a great turnout and lots to see and do.

First off, of course, there were the sheep, plus some goats.  I loved the sheep with "dreadlocks" (upper right, below), as well as the 2 week old baby lamb (lower left, below).  He was definitely a handful for his human friend!


The man of the place got up close and personal with a very friendly ewe ...


There were also alpacas and llamas ....


...including this adorable little lass, just born on Thursday!


There were also angora rabbits, a big favorite with the young folk in the crowd!



And there were some companion animals as well -- everything from a chihuahua, wearing a ruffled dress and riding in a baby stroller, to a working herd dog, sharing an all-natural soda with his person.


All of the animals (except the companion animals) were outside, under a big tent/marquee. 

While we braved the drizzle, I saw something I've never seen before.  You've heard of a food truck?  Well, let me introduce you to Haus of Yarn's "Yarn Bus"!


They also have a storefront in Nashville, Tennessee. Personally -- as one who lives way out in the country in a one-car household -- I think this mobile yarn shop is a great idea!  Especially for seniors or persons with disabilities, who are dependent on the availability (and schedules) of others to take them shopping.

Most of the vendors and exhibitors were set up inside two big buildings!!  The event organizers provided a map, and boy, was it useful.  There was, of course, yarn, yarn, yarn, and more yarn!


There were some very cute "themed" yarns, as well.  Both of these caught my eye!


Outside under a small tent, I saw a lady from Manuosh creating big knits with roving.  Once we were inside, I saw the circular needles she was using on a sale display.  I have to say, these are easily the biggest circular needles I've ever seen!


There were also accessory items of interest to those of us who play with string.  There were many items with cheeky slogans -- t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, etc.


One of my favorite "accessory" displays was that of Pawley Studios.  They offered both mugs and yarn bowls with witty phrases, and beautiful, brightly-colored yarn bowls with multiple holes for working with more than one color at a time.  I think my favorite of their offerings were the yarn bowls with the farm animals on them.  Seriously, I wished I could have one of each!!  For those local to Lexington, Kentucky, you can find many of their items at Magpie Yarn on High Street. If you're not local but love what you're seeing, click the website link above to see more of their products (they sell online, too!).  


Everywhere you looked, folks were sharing information and knowledge.  One of the folks from my nearest local yarn shop, The Woolery, was setting up for the spinning demonstration.  A number of different techniques were represented, everything from simple drop spindles to complicated spinning wheels.


The teaching-and-learning wasn't limited to the demonstration area -- both indoors and out, spinners were turning fairy-soft fiber into strong, soft yarn.




Even I got into the act, with a quick lesson in freestyle loom weaving from the wonderful folks in the HanDen Studios booth.  Warning:  loom weaving is meditative and addictive ... I may start saving my money for one of those lovely SAORI looms!


The Festival would not have been complete without items made with fiber, and by fiber artists -- and we were not disappointed.  We saw dolls and stuffed animals (softies) -- crocheted, felted and knit:


I wish you could have been by my side when I glimpsed the felted character puppets by LSH Creations!  I cast good manners to the wind, and gawked like a tourist!


This photo does not do justice to these! There is so much personality in each one.  I especially love how the old woman's head is lifted and turned slightly, and how the cat's head is tilted to one side.   I've spent almost an hour searching for a website or online link for you, but all I can find is the email address for the vendor

Every fiber craft was well represented.  We saw felted blankets, purses, and fabric; hats, hats, and more hats (I loved the one with the bright red zinnia!); hooked, woven and felted rugs; woven wall hangings, towels, shawls; knitted and crocheted hats, scarves, shawls, did I say hats? ..... it was a cornucopia of all things stringy.


One of the most unique works of fiber art we saw was outside under a tent (marquee).  Skoog's Sheep & Cattle Company came all the way from Sweden to share their wool and wool art!  


Their website (link above) is entirely in Swedish; but if you use Google Translate, you can get a pretty fair English translation.  I am mesmerized by their work.  According to what I can glean from the website, the item pictured above is a throw, made of lambswool and lambskin.  The lambskin is hand-printed.  There is an elegance, warmth, and richness about these that photos simply can't communicate.  (I have a friend with a keen interest in Vikings -- she is going to love this!)  If you ever get the chance to see their work in person, DO.

A very pleasant surprise was the hammered dulcimer music of Kyle Meadows.  Kyle was near the entrance/exit of the smaller of the two buildings, and oh, how his music took me back to my childhood.  


I grew up listening to folk and traditional music, and especially loved the Saturday nights when John McCutcheon played at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia.  If you've never heard hammered dulcimer music, click this link to view a video (about 1 minute long) of Kyle playing at the 2014 Ohio Renaissance Faire. For me, it's one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

I hope you've had fun sharing the Festival with me through these photos.  There was much, much more to see, explore, and admire -- this is just a "highlights reel", so to speak!  If you're in the area and interested in attending, the Festival is open today, and here's the particulars:

  • Hours today:  10AM-4PM
  • Admission:  $5/person -- children 12 and under are free
  • Free parking
  • The Festival site has a rest-stop style bathroom building near the entry gate
Dress comfortably, as there's lots of walking.  Everything that I saw is wheelchair-accessible, although it might be dicey going in the animal tent because it's on grass.  They've already put next year's Festival on the 2017 calendar, and you can bet I'll be going!!

Feel free to share this post with folks who might find it interesting, amusing, or entertaining!  You can always follow me on Facebook (see the link at the top of the page).  I'll be back later this week with news from the farm and an update on my current projects.  Leave your questions or comments in the space below, and thanks for stopping by!

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