Fiber fair in Idaho Falls offers classes for knitting, weaving and spinning amateurs and pros alike

By Rebecca Long Pyper

It isn’t easy to sum up the Snake River Fiber Arts Fest, but Kate Wolski, president of the Weaving, Spinning and Fiber Arts Guild of Idaho Falls hosting the event, calls it a knitting, weaving and spinning instructional and supply extravaganza.

If that’s something that gets your creative wheels turning, plan to attend the fest May 15 through 17 at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls.

Classes are available for those new to the world of fiber arts and old pros too. Advanced crafters might enjoy instruction on how to make variegated yarn or tips for reading knitting charts. And for beginners, the guild offers lots of options; one of the most popular is a beginning spinning class, and for that “you don’t even have to have a wheel; you just need to reserve one,” Wolski said, which can be done by calling 521-5343. Another class for newbies is an introduction to fiber arts — where to start, what supplies to buy and more.

Don’t be intimidated if this is a new world to you; in that case Wolski recommends coming in the front door, rather than a side entrance, where folks at the registration desk can welcome you and answer questions. Also, she said it’s best to give yourself ample time at the fair because all the colors, textures and people can lead to “sensory overload.”

Now in its 21st years the event draws as many as 500 crafters from year to year, who check out classes, the gallery of finished projects, the raffle room for bidding on items and a host of vendors selling everything from glass beads to looms. “Feel free to ask a million questions because the vendors all are eager to talk about their stuff,” Wolski said.

Even though some might assume all things fiber are a dying art, Wolski said the opposite is true.

“Overall there is a resurgence in people wanting to connect with the things that are everyday in their lives — you see people wanting to grown their own food, you see people wanting to knit a hat that they’re going to wear in the winter,” she said, adding that people like using things they’ve made themselves.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time, mini classes can load you up with tips in just an hour. Choose from learning to knit short rows, cardboard loom weaving or moving beyond basic crochet.

According to Wolski, once people start one kind of fiber art, they want to learn about the others too. And there’s a “generational connection” there too that keeps people coming back for more.

“When they are weaving and spinning, they feel a connection to people — their ancestors or people that have come before them that have done these kind of things,” Wolski said.

Registration closes May 11; for more information, visit srfiberartists.org.

Participants at a previous fiber fair work on a project in one of the classes. The fair features classes and workshops for beginners and amateurs. Courtesy photo

Participants at a previous fiber fair work on a project in one of the classes. The fair features classes and workshops for beginners and amateurs. Courtesy photo

Vendors at the fiber fair will sell supplies crafters need, from yarn to looms to finished products. Courtesy photo

Vendors at the fiber fair will sell supplies crafters need, from yarn to looms to finished products. Courtesy photo

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