Salida Fiber Festival Elevates Fiber Arts to Fourteener Levels

On Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13, Mike and I traveled to Salida, use2 Colorado for the Fourth Annual Fiber Festival in Riverside Park. The festival lasted Saturday through Sunday but we could only stay a day. It takes a few hours to drive to Salida from where we live so we went up Friday afternoon and walked around the downtown a bit before eating some fabulous pizza at Amica’s.

useSalida is a small tourist town nestled in the Arkansas Valley at about 7000 feet. It is surrounded by higher peaks, including what we Coloradans call 14ers – those magnificent peaks that reach more than 14,000 feet into the clear blue sky and from where you can see forever. The Arkansas River winds its way through Salida attracting all manner of water sports enthusiasts. Salida’s art galleries and variety of downtown shops cater to a variety of interests. If you get to go be sure to visit Fringe, the town’s only fabric and yarn store, for great products at reasonable prices.

Having never been to a Fiber Festival, neither Mike nor I knew what to expect. I had signed up for the class on Drop Spindle Spinning taught by Cheri Paxson  and what fun that was! I’ve been wanting to try drop spindling for a couple of years and finally had the opportunity to do so.  I was not disappointed. Paxson was a great teacher and it seemed like everyone was comfortable with the technique by the time the two-hour class was over. In fact, I was able to spin in the car on the way home and I remembered how to spin pretty well. Now I just have to practice in order to get my plys nice and even. That will take a while.

Here are some pictures that Mike took of my efforts in the class:


There were 10 ladies in the class and Ms. Paxson had time to help each one of us individually. Before we left class, Ms. Paxson told us to go out to the festival and buy some roving that we really liked so that we could practice. I don’t know about the others but I took my “assignment” very seriously.

It was easy, in fact. After the class, Mike and I went out to Riverside Park where more than 80 merchants tried to take advantage of my penchant for beautiful fiber. To complete my roving assignment, I found a luscious kid mohair at Naumann Angoras, owned by Dale and Bonnie Naumann from Texas. The mohair is a natural off white color, and even though there was a multitude of colored roving all over the festival, I chose this because it was so soft.

Here are the Naumanns explaining their products to me. They sell raw and fringe mohair along with dyed locks.


There was so much going on at the festival. People were weaving:


Doing embroidery:


And spinning:


They used all sorts of fibers. One lady was spinning wolf hair with wool yarn. It makes an incredible insulator, she said. Here she is  blending the wolf hair with Churro wool:


All of the vendors were helpful and nice.  Jonathan Berner of MJ Yarns took time to explain different types of spinning wheels and gave me his opinion on what was good. He spun a very thin, even ply the entire time we spoke:


What a fun festival. Bravo to the people who set it up and ran it. In three weeks we will be on the way to New Mexico for the Taos Wool Festival. I can’t wait to go!

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