Monday, July 24, 2017

Spinning in Circles at Copper K Fiber Festival

"Me-time" has been in short supply this summer with Texter and Lady K out of school. There are swim lessons (going great) and T-ball (Texter is her coach!) and lots of other 'stuff'. But I had made a point of enrolling in a class a couple of months ago at the Copper K Fiber Fest and am so glad I did.

I have wanted to learn to properly use a drop spindle. One, I can make my own yarn. Two, I think I really want a spinning wheel and this is a cheap introduction to spinning. Three, it's portable. Four, there are a lot of people spinning these days, or needle felting, and the options for roving are out of this world. And five, I need another place to spend money I don't have!

Located just outside Whitehall, Montana, it is a little over an hour drive from my house. Since my class started at 8:30 a.m., I loaded up on coffee and left early to get there. The grounds opened at 8:00 a.m., so I would have a chance to look around. I really needed to try and find a 'lighter' spindle as the one I had purchased at the Big Sky Fiber Fest in June was twice as heavy as the recommended spindle for the class.

Hardly any traffic on my way and several chapters into the book I was listening to, I neared the venue with views like these surrounding me.

Bit of a disclaimer here....

It was one lane highway in each direction until I reached Whitehall (the majority of the trip) and didn't turn into blacktop/gravel until the very end.

Secondly, Montana is on fire these days, so there is a haze over everything from the smoke!

Finally, I came around a curve to see the 'barn' where the festival was being held.

There were plenty of campers for vendors and visitors who wanted to overnight during the festival and plenty of parking in the field surrounding the barn area. 

But what was dry and brown outside the barn area was...

Lush and green on the inside of the fenced area!

Dozens of vendors outside and there was also a couple of awnings set up for people to sit and knit, spin or crochet. Or spouses to sit while significant other was taking a class or shopping.

Once I came through the gate, I was greatly very warmly and handed a packet for my class and pointed in the right direction. 

(Note: as you entered the door there was a mister set up to help combat heat later in the day.)

Several vendors where set up inside this GORGEOUS barn!

I found out they offer up the barn for weddings and parties and I can see why. It is beautiful (with equally nice bathrooms inside!) There is also a small dance floor at one end of the barn.

But lots and lots of fiber goodies to fondle and poke. Everything from fleeces to roving to yarn. And the nicest people ever who were willing to take and answer questions.

I stopped and picked up a new spindle in a 'kit' for the class. This is a kit from Ranching Tradition Fiber (also one of the hosts for the fiber fest).

I could have gotten a 'purple' bag, but went with this one. Calling it my 'Distant Mountains" colorway. (I have a quilt and shawl idea.)

I headed over to the area where my class was going to be and was greeted by the lovely Julie LeeSong  Norman of The Pieceful Ewe.

I then got to pick out a bag of colorful roving for myself before the class started.

The roving kits were from Mountain Colors Yarn which I am familiar with having used them on some fingerless mitts and my circle sweater (all of which still need to be completed!)

And away we spun!

Julie carefully explained different spindle types, how to get started (and how to stop) and we practiced drafting our roving, spinning and then plying yarn. While we were spinning (or attempting to spin), she gave us information on different fiber types and how they would be a bit different from the wool we were spinning. 

After 3 hours we were saturated with information and hands-on practice to take home and use. I love the fact we had such colorful roving to 'play' with. I don't think it would have been near as much fun if we just had natural wool colors to work with. She also encouraged us to contact her if we had further questions after the class. Now I'm sad I didn't take her knitting class! Julie is a delight.

It was now 11:30 a.m. and I was hungry and decided to take advantage of The Poor Orphan Creamery. This was such a wonderful lunch there will a whole post on it tomorrow! 

After indulging in my lunch, I headed outside to take in the vendors there.

How could you not want to live here with views like these?

There was a TON of items I wish I could have purchased, but I limited myself to the spinning 'kit' and this lovely skein of yarn from Blue Savannah Yarns.

I saw this piled up on the end of the table and pounced on it. This is Kristin's 'Eclipse' colorway as a nod to the eclipse occurring in August. She's from Idaho which will see (or not see as the case may be) more of the eclipse than we will here in Montana. This is the second skein of her yarn I have purchased and I'm not sure what I am going to do with it...yet. But it is yummy!

And I love her little 'thank-you' she hands out with each purchase. A tiny nibble of some of her other yarns (and a tea bag and candy).

As I had snuck out of the house before Lady K was awake, my 'me-time' was coming to an end. I was starting to get pictures of where she had 'cut her hair'.

Once home, and a hair repair trip made, I settled in to watch the last stage of the Tour de France I had recorded and this week's episode of 'Game of Thrones'. I finished sock two...almost. Just the toe and some weaving in of ends and they are done!

I have to say I am going to be sad when next year rolls around and I am back in North Carolina in July. Unless they hold the festival earlier in the year, I'll miss it. But this experience now has me wanting more! I can't recommend the venue or the festival more highly. It was great!

Now off to finish my sock and start spinning!


  1. Wonderful overview of the Copper K Fiber Festival! It was so much fun. Glad you enjoyed your time and the spinning class. I saw that Eclipse yarn too - and forgot to go back for some! But she's coming to the PHS Fiber Fest in Sept so hopefully they'll be some left.

  2. I've been through Whitehall and love the country there. Thanks for all of your wonderful photos!

  3. Oh my goodness--that looks like paradise. The yarns and fibers all look amazing and I love that you were able to have some me time.


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