At fleece and fiber festivals, author and editor Gwen Steege says fashion is more than just a spectator sport.

Gwen Steege

Gwen Steege. Photo by Dick Steege

Every crafter knows about those all-nighters before a holiday or birthday, when you still have several inches left to knit on that special gift you’ve been working on for weeks, or seams that need to be stitched, or buttons that are still not sewn on. The panic on those occasions pales in the face of preparing for a fiber festival. After all, if it’s “just” a gift, you can always be a few days late, but the festival’s date is firm, and you’ve been planning all year to wear your newest creation. Where else will you find such an appreciative audience for those perfectly-done increases on that lace shawl or the details (and anguish) that went into that stranded knit sweater — with steeks!

The chance to observe the parade of truly amazing garments, hats, socks, scarves, and shawls is really a highlight of every festival. And we can’t limit ourselves to observing. Have you heard of the weaver’s handshake — that “accidental” stumble toward someone wearing what might be qiviut, that provides the opportunity to find out what that gorgeous shawl feels like?

A fiber festival is the perfect place to wear your beautiful creations with pride while you also admire the creativity of your fellow fiber lovers. Oh yes, and you’ll have all the inspiration you need to take home bags brimming over with more fleece and yarn so you can get an early start on next year’s festival!

Gwen W. Steege

Gwen W. Steege has been weaving for nearly 35 years and has exhibited her work in western Massachusetts, where she lives. For many years she… See Bio

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