Saturday, October 22, 2011

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair

Diane and I used to work together on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The photo below shows us wearing our period clothing as we interpreted early 20th century life at the Matthew's Cabin located at Mabry Mill.  We demonstrated various aspects of life, but we especially loved the fiber arts.  The summer of 1991 found us gathering up every kind of plant imaginable, throwing it in a pot and cooking it up to see what color dye it would produce on wool.  The shawls that we are wearing are made from raw wool that we spun into thread, used natural dyes to color, and then handwove them on a loom. Diane's shawl is made from natural gray & white sheep's wool and the peach color was produced from jewelweed.  The shawl that I am wearing was made from natural gray & white wool and dyed with brazilwood & logwood.

Diane & me at the Matthew's Cabin, Mabry Mill, 1991

Of course, this was before we had access to the Internet.  The only way that we could find fiber art suppliers or any information was to read books, trade magazines or by word of mouth.  Imagine our delight when we heard that a big fiber show was going to be held close by in Winston-Salem, NC.   That was the first year of SAFF.   We attended and bought all kinds of fun fiber stuff!

Yesterday, we got together again, 20 years later, and traveled to Asheville, NC to attend the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair.  (SAFF moved to Asheville after being in Winston-Salem the first three years.) We left Fancy Gap, Virginia at 5:30am because we wanted to be sure and be there when it opened at 9:00am!  After a three hour trip, then shopping HARD for 7 hours, we traveled back to Fancy Gap.  Then, I still had to drive 1 1/2 hours more to get back home.   It was a long day, but I got to spend it with a wonderful friend, sharing our love of all things fiber.

Things that I just had to purchase:

raw alpaca fleece that I will spin into yarn
Pretty roving that when spun up and knitted will look like the photo below
Isn't this gorgeous?!
Roving made of 65% Merino wool,  15% Tencel, 10% banana, & 10% milk
A nice bag for fiber supplies
L to R:  Silk cap, baby camel roving & cotton roving (all for spinning into yarn)
Silk hankies to dye & spin
Silk hankies to spin
Extra spinning wheel bobbin, drive band, & oil
Fabulous looms for weaving small squares & triangles
Fun mug
Roving made of 65% Merino, 15% Tencel, 10% banana, 10% milk

For more information about the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, click here.


  1. Ahhh! As a fellow spinner I am drooling over your purchases :)


  2. Amy, I could have spent a fortune there! I do not think that I have ever seen so much gorgeous fiber. I cannot figure out which of my stash to spin first!

  3. I've always been fascinated by spinners and fiber artisans. I do hope you'll post photos of your work! :o)

    P.S. My hubby and older daughter were down at Mabry Mill today and she just couldn't get enough. I'm passing our heritage on as best I can. :o)

  4. Rach, I am glad to hear that your daughter loved it at Mabry Mill! Even though I grew up three miles from the mill and worked there, I still love to go there every chance that I get. My friend Diane was working there today.

    I have so much fiber to spin now that I can't decide what to spin next! I do hope to post photos of various projects as I do them.

  5. What a fun day for you both! I love love the photo of you and her in your period clothing : )

  6. Delighted to see the photo of you and Diane! Looks like you made some terrific choices to spin and I can't wait to see how it all turns out!

  7. I started spinning the silk last night and it is turning out beautifully! I have never worked with it before and I cannot believe how shiny it is. I think that I am going to ply it with black alpaca.

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