Get your hands on the wheel and enjoy the North

Posted Sept. 13, 2010, at 5:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:54 p.m.

Country Spinners and Knitters Fiber Festival 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in the Agriculture Exhibition Building at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds, Mechanic Street, Presque Isle. Admission is free.

Spinner Peggy Allen, festival organizer, said this is the first event of its kind in Aroostook County.

“There are lots and lots of knitters in this part of Maine, too,” said Allen, who raises Cotswold and Romney sheep.

Knitter and spinner Gaby Mann of Upper Kent, New Brunswick also helped organize the event.

“We just wanted to gather together and have some fun with fiber,” Allen said.

Allen estimates as many as 30 spinners from throughout The County, and from Orono, Solon, Appleton and Gorham will be part of the mix. The event is open to all spinners who wish to participate. “All they have to do is show up,” Allen said.

Vendors will include yarn shop Merchants on the Corner from Presque Isle, Fiberphilia from Orono and Balls of Yarn from Fort Fairfield; French Hill Farm from Solon and Knitting Out Loud Audio Books from Stockton Springs.

Vendors will be selling raw fiber and roving from Shetland, Cotswold and Romney sheep; alpaca, pygora goat and angora rabbit; handspun yarn, and commercially processed fiber and yarn. Books, tools and other fiber-related items also will be offered by vendors.

The event will feature demonstrations of spinning, knitting, felting and weaving. Attendees may try spinning with a wheel or with drop spindles. In addition, Stacy Martin of Fort Kent will demonstrate the workings of an antique sock-knitting machine.

Allen said increased interest in spinning and fiber-related crafts were one of the reasons that prompted the festival.

“People are looking for something satisfying to do. They are looking for creative things to do, so they can say, ‘I made that.’ Spinning and knitting are relaxing and can be done alone or within a social group,” said Allen, who has taught several people to spin in her dining room.

The festival will coincide with Worldwide Spin in Public Day, which was launched last year by those who put their hands — and feet — to the (spinning) wheel in service to all things wooly. Visit for information.


• Carver Erik Sappier will demonstrate chip carving 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, in the Abbe Museum Community Gallery, 26 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor. Chip carving is a technique used to decorate wood. Sappier will talk about some of the issues facing young carvers.

Sappier acquired the craft by apprenticing with Joe “Hugga” Dana, son of artisan Stan Neptune, who learned chip carving from Senabeh, a religious elder and root club carver, and an authority on Maine Indian chip carving.

Various examples of Sappier’s work in different stages of carving will be on display.

For information or to register for the workshop, call Astra Haldeman at 288-3519 or e-mail

• A knitting retreat to celebrate Maine’s wool history — think of all those river drivers and forest rangers wearing wool garments — organized by the New England Outdoor Center, will be held Oct. 29-31 at Twin Pines Camp on Millinocket Lake. The retreat is open to knitters of all abilities. The cost is $188 and includes a North Woods Knit Kit featuring Peace Fleece yarn, a guided hike in Baxter State Park and instruction on slip stitch color work, picking up stitches and rick-rack stitch techniques. For information, call 800-634-7238.

• A Book and Knitter’s Group will meet 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at Simpson Memorial Library in Carmel. The group will discuss a book while knitting or crocheting. Those who don’t know how to knit or crochet will find help available. For information, call 848-7145.

• A hydrangea wreath workshop will be held 9-11 a.m. or 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Ecoat Gardens in Hermon. The cost is $20 per person. To register for one session or the other, call 848-5946.

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