Big Fun at the Greencastle Fleece Fair

Indymel, your friendly Indianapolis fiber fanatic here. For some reason Vanessa hasn't told the folks here at the blog much about me. Among other things, I am a knitter. Yep, it's not for your smelly old Aunt Ethel anymore. Knitting is both functional AND hip, and the bitches are taking it back. It feels good to know that, if I had to, I could make my own clothes. Granted, it might take a month and a half to make one sweater, and I might have to wear said sweater most of the Winter until I could finish another one, and Vanessa and I might have to share the sweater, so we'd both probably get pretty cold sometimes, but I could do it all by myself.

Anyway, about a year ago, in an effort to get a little closer to the source, I took up spinning– with a wheel– like this. Spinning and the associated accoutrements have become an obsession all of their own. All told, I probably have about 10 pounds of wool (don't tell Ness) in various stages of sheepiness stocked away in nooks and crannies around the house. I have an Ashford Traveler wheel, and for Christmas this year Vanessa got me a jumbo flyer to go with it so that I can spin chunky wool. My parents surprised me with Ashford hand carders so that I can prepare my own fleeces straight off the animal. It was a sheepy holiday, and I was pretty psyched about that. Don't judge. It turns out, I'm not alone. There are festivals for freaks like me.

Today Vanessa and our friend Belinda graciously accompanied got dragged kicking and screaming by me to the Greencastle Fleece Festival, held every year around this time at the Putnam County Fairgrounds about an hour southwest of Indianapolis. This was my first visit to a fleece fair, and I wasn't disappointed.

The scent of unwashed sheep, llamas, and alpaca mixed with the aroma of sloppy joe, kettle corn, and gyro as we walked from the parking lot to the barn. Glorious! Belinda and Vanessa hung back in awe, but I raced from booth to booth to take in all of the beautiful hand-dyed rovings (prepared fleece for spinning), handspun yarns, hand-knit and woven blankets and clothing, and bags and bags of raw, unprocessed fleece. It was knitter/spinner paradise.

It was tough, but I maintained control of myself (Vanessa wouldn't let me hold the money) and ended up walking out with only about 1 lb of alpaca, a fiber I usually steer clear of due to the fact that I while I am a knitter, I am also an extreme cheap ass. I got 10 oz of some gorgeous coppery stuff that is already washed but uncarded that I will prepare myself, 1-2 oz of a silk-alpaca blend in a shimmery white that will probably spin up at sport weight to just enough to trim something special with, and a little more than 4 oz of a lucious commercially-prepared black alpaca.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think a good time was had by all. At least there were big smiles on all the faces in the car as we sped away. Of course, Vanessa's and Belinda's smiles were stuffed with my homemade peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins, and my face was buried in Alpaca. (You've got to smell it some time. It's incredible the way that Alpacas just don't stink!)



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2 responses to “Big Fun at the Greencastle Fleece Fair

  1. Yes, the fiber fair was a sight to behold. Mel forgot to share that there's an entire circuit of these festivals – kinda like the women's music festivals, only with barnyard animals. The next festival is in Maryland in early May. While I didn't hear anyone shout "Festie virgin!", several gals shouted "See you in Maryland!" on the way out. I'm sure they have drumming circles at that festival.

    BTW, don't miss our Knitter's Gone Wild video which is in production right now. The video has such as features as "I just want to smell it" and "Nuns are cool".

  2. Indymel

    Nuns ARE cool. I spent several minutes at the festival chatting with a sister from St. Mary’s of the Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana. Apparently, they have a graduate program in Earth Literacy and the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, which includes a working alpaca farm and organic farmland. Perhaps I’ll blog about that in a later post. I’m going to check out that degree program. Anyway, maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up Catholic or go to Catholic school, but every nun I have ever come in contact with has struck me as a strong feminist woman, and many have been surprisingly hip old ladies.

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