Friday, June 10, 2011

Adirondack Fiber Fest at Lake Placid's Adirondack Yarns

By Diane Chase

I taught both my children to knit but my son never found it to be the relaxing activity that my daughter and I do. He will take up my daughter’s needles in a competitive way, trying to knit faster than his sister but has yet to find the joy in creating something new from a few balls of yarn.

He is more interested in how the yarn is created. It is an interesting stage when children finally connect that everything comes from something else. They go to stores and turn over the packaging and exclaim, “Everything comes from China.”

This Saturday Adirondack Yarns in Lake Placid is bringing local sheep and alpaca farmers together to show that some things are made right here in the Adirondacks. Rain or shine, Saturday June 11 will be Fiber Fest.

This is a rare opportunity to be able to see how fiber is made. Sadly, I know just as little as my children on how my yarn is made. There are various stages from the shearing of the fleece, cleaning, and picking the fiber. Then the wool is carded or combed to have the fibers facing in the same direction.  The final stage of the carding creates a loose fiber called roving. The roving is the material that is used to spin (or twist) the fiber into what I know as yarn.

Thankfully I can go and ask the experts on Saturday to see if I’ve missed a step along the way. There will also be chances to see someone spin and even a class for drop spindle. Drop spindle (I had to ask) is a wooden dowel that is used to spin the roving into yarn. It is the first stage in learning how to spin before using a spinning wheel.  

In addition to the spinning demonstrations there will be a hand-dying presentation using mushrooms. There is also a possibility to see alpaca and angora rabbits on site. I have no plans in ever raising alpaca but look forward to meeting those people that do. Getting the opportunity to witness all the work that goes into producing a ball of yarn will make me appreciate the process even more. 

Fiber Fest is June 11, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Adirondack Yarns, 2241 Saranac Ave, Lake Placid. For anyone interested in learning to knit there are classes scheduled throughout the year at www.adirondackyarns.com or just drop in for help with any problems. 

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