Last Saturday I ventured out to the spring FiberFest at the Frederick Fairgrounds. I wouldn’t consider myself a knitter, but I’ve been thinking about adding it to my toolbox of mindfulness practices. Mindfulness through yarn! Besides, it was a beautiful spring day, I knew that my favorite food trucks were going to be there, and the advertisement in the newspaper was just too cute to ignore.
This was my first fiber festival. I am completely new to the natural fiber world and my fresh, innocent eyes were captivated by the colors and textures. It was that same feeling that I get walking into a garden center filled with beautiful flowers at the beginning of the season. I truly and deeply wanted to buy yarn and make something. A scarf, a hat, a sock. Anything!
Artisan yarn and Indie yarn dyers are new concepts to me. Many independent dyers are one-person businesses and most do not have a physical store but sell products online and through festivals like this one.
The FiberFest, sponsored by the Frederick News-Post, started in 2016 in the newspaper building. News-Post employee Dawn Dayhoff conceived of the idea and organizes the event. As a knitter and crocheter, she had attended other fiber events where there was a waiting list for vendors to get in. She said “I thought that we had enough local vendors and interest in the community to be able to have a successful event.” Dayhoff was right. “We sold out of vendor spaces and had a line of attendees waiting to get in when the event started.” They quickly outgrew the newspaper building and moved to the Frederick Fairgrounds in 2018.
Saturday’s FiberFest included over 50 vendors that produce and/or sell natural fibers from sheep, alpaca, goat, cotton, etc; hand-dyed yarn, spindles, patterns, stitch markers, and more.
When it came to stitch markers, I was drawn to them (they are sparkly!) but I had no idea how they worked. I admitted my ignorance and asked the vendor at Amy’s Trinket Shop how they work. She was very patient with me and even helped me put together a custom combination. I wouldn’t blame her if she had a good laugh when I was gone.
For those of us that don’t know (yet) what to do with a skein of yarn, there were plenty of other handmade treasures: goat milk soap, pottery, artwork, tea, handbags, jewelry. As I sort through these photos, it is with much regret that I see a hedgehog pincushion that could have been mine. Next time!
In past years, FiberFest has included classes and demonstrations. Dayhoff said that they are looking to bring these back for the Fall FiberFest. They are also hoping to add some fabric and cross-stitch vendors.
There were food trucks outside and a Kids Zone with petting zoo, face painting, and a bounce house to keep the whole family happy for a fun day at the Fairgrounds.
By the time I left, I was using terms like “DK” and “Roving”. Okay, I did a lot of Googling on the fly, but I’m learning.
My mother is a knitter, crocheter, seamstress, and all around crafty person. She first taught me how to crochet when I was just a kid. However, my knitting and crocheting talents peaked at about age 16, coinciding with getting my hands on a driver’s license and car keys. Mom—if you are reading this, I think I’m ready for another lesson.
The FiberFest returns to the Frederick Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Until then, here are just a few of the local vendors that can keep you stocked in fiber and supplies:
The Knot House sells a variety of luxury hand-dyed yarns and promotes Indie Dyers
129 E. Patrick Street
Magpie Fibers has a yarn dying facility in Frederick on Industry Lane (not open to the public). They now have two retail locations downtown. Their original Magpie Market at 141 N. Market Street and the beautiful new Magpie Fibers at 154 N. Market Street. In addition to selling their own hand-dyed yarn, craft supplies and stationary, they also offer knitting and crocheting classes.
Online Stores and Artisans:
Amy’s Trinket Shop – Baltimore, MD
AT Haynes House Yarns – Fort Washington, MD
Blue Heron Yarns – Easton, MD
ColorWae Fiber Arts – New Market, MD
Create Yarnworks – Hebron, MD
Rising Tide Fiber Co. – Chesapeake, MD
Stick It To Me Pincushions – Ellicott City, MD
Tempting Ewe Yarns – Catonsville, MD
Terrapin Fiberworks – Greenbelt, MD
Yarn Hero Fiber Arts – Frederick, MD