Old farm equipment demonstrating how wheat was cut and made into sheaves at a tractor show.
Old farm equipment demonstrating how wheat was cut and made into sheaves at a tractor show.

Well, I can now say I have my first fiberfest under my belt for 2014. A week ago the FiberFest and Spin-In at Portland, Indiana was held at the Jay County Fairgrounds. Plus, our first tractor show of the year was this past weekend up at Auburn, Indiana. This show featured International and was held at the Auburn Auction Park. So the season begins.
Now, you might wonder what a fiberfest and spin in really is. But, for those of us into fiber arts it’s a chance to meet with our peers exchanging ideas, as well as purchasing needed supplies from knitting needles, to wool, alpaca or angora rabbit rovings to colorful yarns. You can also purchase the full shorn pelt from all types of sheep and alpaca if you really want to do things the hard way as it will need washed, combed and carded and then spun into yarn. You can buy completed knitted or woven garments, knitting needles, spinning wheels, and weaving looms. Everything to keep you going with ideas and projects. Classes are also held on various topics if you need to expand your how-tos. At Portland there is also a circle of spinning wheels doing their work while the spinners chat together, very similar to years ago when women spun around the village green. A display on how linen is made from flax is also part of that show.

One of our fiber-enthusiasts friends noted that when she first went to a fiberfest she thought she “had died and went to heaven.” Fiber fests appeal to many of our sensory stimuli, touch, sight, smell, even hearing as there are sheep shows at many of these events and the “baas,” “baas” can be heard . They also have demos on sheep shearing and dog herding. It is both educational and fun.

One of our fiber-enthusiasts friends noted that when she first went to a fiberfest she thought she “had died and went to heaven.” Fiber fests appeal to many of our sensory stimuli, touch, sight, smell, even hearing as there are sheep shows at many of these events and the “baas,” “baas” can be heard . They also have demos on sheep shearing and dog herding. It is both educational and fun.

I have taken our grandchildren to some and they enjoy them immensely. When our granddaughter was a bit younger she picked out some colorful rovings which grandma spun and wove into pillow tops for her, one she called her fruit pillow in reds, and yellows and the other vegetable, with its greens.

If you go to one fiberfest, chances are they have literature on upcoming shows elsewhere, or you can search the web for those nearest us; there is one coming up at Bowling Green on March 29, at the Wood County Fairground.

For those tractor enthusiasts, the tractor shows give you a chance to see some of the older tractors that have been restored to former glory, maybe find a part or two you need for your own project, or just a chance to reminisce with those who actually used that machinery. Tractor shows usually feature a certain brand but there are all kinds of tractors on display.

You can travel from one part of the United States to another, east or west, north or south and you can find tractor shows. In the winter they are a bit few and far between, but some of our warmer states host them during those months.

For the women in the family there are also crafts, flea markets and other interesting vendors. Something for everyone.

My husband and I look forward to this season of shows and try to take in a new one each year. Finding them is not hard. If you are linked to the WWW go to http://www.farmcollectorshowdirectory.com/ Here you can find shows by state or by date all throughout the year, or you can purchase a book from them giving the same information.

Some shows are small, some larger, but all are unique and give different prospectives on how things were done in the past, from saw mills making lumber, to gas engine operation, to veneer production, to actual demonstrations on how farm tasks were done even cutting wheat to make shocks and threshing the grain with an old threshing machine.

They also hold demos on spinning and weaving, and other tasks once a necessary part of homelife.

Portland, Indiana plays host to the largest tractor show in the world in August. The flea market is extensive and the displays large. I don’t think we have missed a year for over 30 or more years as it was something we did when our children were very young. They also enjoyed those shows.

Spring and summer is also the time for local festivals and events, all looked forward to young and old. So it may be winter by the calendar, and winter by the looks of things outdoors, but the season is upon us. It’s always nice to get out and about, especially after the long winter we have experienced. Take advantage of all these shows and events for a lot of people put in a lot of work to make them happen.

———

Jeannine Roediger has lived on a family farm all her life, first as a farmer’s daughter and now as a farmer’s wife. She writes weekly for the Times Bulletin and enjoys gardening, quilting, cooking, bird watching and writing.