I was invited to judge the photo contest and teach at Shepherds Harvest 2012, held last month in Minnesota. I jumped at the chance. I've been hearing about this annual wooly festival for years.
So there I was. I judged. It was not easy. A thirteen year old named Rachel made this image. Talent!
Minnesota's a forcefield in the fiberarts world. Shepherds Harvest is a truly vibrant, lively festival with 5+ barns of vendors and an equal number full of livestock. You could learn saori weaving, dyeing, knitting techniques or how to breed colored fleeces and build a flock. Anyway, it was just a flawlessly wonderful two days, unless you count that the Scandanavian food truck ran out of lefse before I had some. (Got my walleye chunks though, so no worries.)
I booksigned, alone for Craft Activism and Shear Spirit (missed you, Joan Tapper!) and with my Minnesota knit author posse from WearWithAll. Here I am with Scott Rohr and Mary Lou Egan. And that stole. (I want to steal that stole).
Here are Theresa Gaffey and Shelly Sheehan. Shelly's working on the stole in an alternative colorway. In front? Those are stole kits. I still want to steal the stole, but perhaps I should just knit one? Speaking of WearWithAll, did you see this review from Clara Parkes? And, this one over at Mason Dixon Knitting? :-)))
I taught a large and diverse group for the Photo Safari class . Knitwear designers, alpaca farmers, a dude who's photo hobby matched up with my class while his wife and daughters' indulged their knitting jones, an Adobe PhotoShop engineer, someone who mostly knit & crocheted in all white, some friends...and a bustling festival to explore. I hadn't calculated how our group of photographers in action would draw a crowd, who seemed convinced they'd found a celebrity at the festival beyond all the lenses. (does Prince knit? That would be the local celeb sighting I'd be all over). So, what did we shoot on safari? All kinds of backgrounds, above.
My exhortations to get close and try unusual angles were heard!-Here's Ellen Silva photographing in the reenactors tent. She may have gone home with some spinning wheel burn marks on her forehead. But excellent images. All in the line of duty.
On Sunday, I strolled the festival as a civilian with Ellen, who mostly stayed upright. It was so much fun--first off, Ellen seems to know everyone in the upper midwest fiber world. And, she's a decisive shopper, with great taste in yarn/fiber. That makes for a satisfying festival buddy right there.
One of my favorite booths, from Great Wool. Can't wait till Zoe is old enough for wooly tutus and felted fox ears. Also soft squishy Rambouillet yarn.
More felting! My friends Judy & Tom MacDowell from Misty Meadows Icelandics were there. I hadn't seen them since I invaded their farm with the photo shoot for Shear Spirit. Judy is a felting artist, and had a wall display of these narrow scarves, I think she called them centipedes. One came home with me.
I said I wouldn't buy yarn, I do not need any yarn right now. And I don't do souvenir yarn. At least not until Ellen introduced me to this very cool fundraiser. See these bags? They contain fluff from all the vendors, who donate handfuls of their fibers. A committee divides it into bags (or, sometimes layers them into fiber sandwiches),
and a swat team of volunteer spinners turn each bag into a skein or two of yarn which is auctioned silently. All of the money goes to Heifer International. So--do you get it? It's not shopping for yarn. It's supporting a good cause! (Yup, the cause clause).
And, a hat from this skein. I am slightly ashamed to admit I was bidding against the spinner who so beautifully spun the mix into a fat single, and plied it with a single laceweight strand of turquoise silk. I won't tell you how little I paid, even so. As a non-spinner with a longing for handspun , this is heaven. So to sum up: Shepherds Harvest= good. Go if you can, next year.
Next post--I'm going to show knitting. It's been awhile , hasn't it?