For attendees and vendors, Frederick FiberFest is a chance to connect – with friends, family and those who share a passion for creating art, clothing and more from wool.
Susan Hack, 60, traveled from York County, Pennsylvania to be with her “sibs,” or group of friends and family.
His cousin, Christy Myers, 62, is a resident of Frederick. She brought along her neighbor from York County, Jenna Harris, 36. Hack also taught Harris’ 12-year-old son how to knit.
FiberFest was also an opportunity to draw inspiration from the works of others, in a setting that Hack said was just right.
“It’s big enough for you to have so much, but it’s [small] enough that you don’t get completely overwhelmed,” Hack said.
On Saturday, Frederick News-Post events staff held their Frederick FiberFest at the Frederick Fairgrounds, with more than 65 vendors offering products for people who love to knit and crochet.
Frederick FiberFest’s fall setup, which event manager Samantha Bangh estimated more than 1,000 people attended, also included classes, demonstrations and live sheep, as well as brewery tastings. , local wineries and distilleries.
For Gayle Mathues, a Westminster resident who runs Animal Faire, FiberFest was a chance to reconnect with her past.
Mathues, 69, got the trade name “Animal Faire” from a song a neighbor she grew up used to sing to her.
“‘I went to the animal fair. The birds and the bees were there. The big baboon with the moonlight was combing his auburn hair…'” she said. “It’s just a stupid song.”
But, when she started participating in woolen parades, she reflected on how it felt like the woolen animals she made were a way to connect with that memory. And that’s how Animal Faire was born.
On Saturday, Mathues’ collection of creations expanded beyond animals and included characters and even a giant gnome.
“I really love doing shows,” Mathues said. “It’s just very exhilarating.”
She especially enjoyed hearing about what kinds of knitters and crocheters who went to the festival had worked or were looking to get started.
It’s important, Mathues said, that children “discover the fun of being creative” through knitting and crocheting as well.
“It gives them a product that they made with their own hands to show off, whereas if you’re playing a video game, what do you have to show for it?” Mathues said.
Not all festival products were made of wool. Jazmyne Haynes, owner of Fort Washington-based company Queen Sheba Beauty, was initially unsure of the quality of her products at FiberFest.
Saturday was Haynes’ second time at the festival. She left in the spring too.
“I was a little nervous,” Haynes, 27, said. “[Queen Sheba Beauty] is not too suitable for knitters and crocheters and crafters. But they love it.”
Haynes sold moisturizers for people whose hands dry out when dyeing their wool products or for those who simply want more hydrated skin. Haynes also offered candles at her booth, which she says have been popular among people who love knitting and want to create the right atmosphere for it.
The next Frederick FiberFest is scheduled for April 22, 2023. It looks like Hack’s self-proclaimed “framily” is planning to make a comeback.
“Certainly,” Hack said. “It’s like an hour drive for us. And I don’t see my cousin anymore.”
Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan