The Fiber Festival of New England

For the love of fiber! In two weeks, the Mallary Complex will be draped floor to ceiling in everything from wool and yarn to clothing items, quilts and blankets, rugs, looms, spinning wheels and more! The Fiber Festival of New England is back and getting ready to celebrate its 5th year with a weekend full of activities, shopping and fun to promote the use of wool and other natural fibers and related products.

Eastern States Exposition and the New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association co-produce the event that features more than 175 exhibitors from throughout the country, the Fiber Fashion Show and Fleece Sale, along with many workshops, demonstrations and other activities.

Must See: Terri Drounin-Guerrette, Fiber Festival volunteer and expert in the art of silk reeling, will show us the process of how silk fiber is made on Saturday. She’ll cover all the steps, from soaking silkworm cocoons in water to reeling.

Each cocoon is made up of one thread that is only about 2 to 3 denier (four and a half million yards per pound). The trick is finding it – and Guerrette can do it with ease. The Exposition’s Creative Arts Coordinator, Jane Chapman, said it is an absolute treat to see her at work. “I was floored the first time I saw her working in the New England Center.”

Fiber Fun: Bartlettyarns, Inc., a popular exhibitor at The New England Fiber Festival (booth 151/152 west), has a very “ewenique” history. For starters, it is the nation’s oldest continuously operating wool mill. The company, in business since 1821, also spins its yarn using a mule. Spinning mules were extensively used in the late 18th century. During that time, a typical cotton mill would have over 60 mules. Now, Bartlettyarns is home to the last operating spinning mule in the USA.

Here’s another fun fact about Bartlettyarns –The Mill, located in Harmony, Maine, has a slightly creepy looking exterior. So creepy looking in fact, that it was actually featured in the 1990 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, “Graveyard Shift.”

Throughout the event, exhibitors and attendees will be able to connect online via Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram. Search #NEFiberFest on social to see what everyone is saying and join in the conversation!