Having an over-abundance of frequent flyer miles, and nothing else to do last weekend, I decided to check out the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, or OFFF, for short. For those of you who are new to fiber festivals, imagine a fairground full of independent artisans selling their own farm-raised fiber, their own dyed roving and yarn, their own lathe-turned spindles. And then there are the fleece sales. For those of us who love this stuff, it’s a shopper’s dream. “Hi. My name is Barbara and I’m a spindleholic.”
OFFF is a small, friendly festival, tucked into the Clackamas County Event Center. The classes looked to be taught by local spinners. Many of the vendors were locals as well. Which is a good thing, because the Pacific Northwest has an abundance of wonderful craftspeople. Steve Poulson of Spindlewood, www.spindlewoodco.com, makes my favorite drop spindles. They aren’t readily available in the Midwest. I own a Hansen mini-Spinner, hansencrafts.com, and love it, and was finally able to try the new lace flyer. One came home with me.
Above all, I had a chance to try an Olympic spinning wheel, olympicspinningwheels.com. Olympic wheels are small wheels with the treadles on either side of the drive wheel. They are made entirely from quality wood. There is no plywood anywhere. The artist, Gary, works closely with each customer to get them exactly the wheel they want. Of course there are no Olympic wheels anywhere near Chicago, which is what got me to OFFF. The wheel was smooth as butter, a delight to spin on, but because the drive wheel was small, it required a lot of treadling. It wasn’t for me, but if anyone out there is in the market for a small, beautifully made custom wheel, check Olympic out.
It was a lovely trip, despite weather that was horrid even for Oregon. We were stuck under a low pressure system that down trees and caused flooding in Portland. The vendors in tents outside deserve awards for courage and tenacity. A good, if wet, time was had by all.