At one point in the ancient past I studied spinning with Richard Muto, the RI Laureate of Fiber. He is a gifted teacher, but I soon realized, despite my hope that the coordination I've developed as a musician would transfer to operation of a foot-pedaled wheel, that this was definitely not my thing. I produced numerous yards of weak, lumpy yarn that looked more like abraded dental floss than anything generated by a woolly beast. And then, in accordance with my LITS (Life is Too Short) principle, decided to call it quits. Now I am quite admiring of those who spin, and since I did learn much from Richard about the qualities of different fibers, their processing, etc., I consider myself more knowledgeable than before in assessing the integrity and beauty of different yarns.
The Bristol Fiber Festival, small and admirably low-key, was a celebration of fiber in every way, shape, and form. There was the requisite shearing of sheep, a covey of spinners and weavers, and the traditional sheep-to-shawl event. There were fiber animals to pat--Pygora goats, alpacas, angora bunnies, sheep--and there was a way-station for knit-a-holics, hosted by an engaging group of knitters from the East Bay area. And there were vendors of beautiful yarns, roving, knitting accessories and tools, and ancillary handcrafts, like baskets and hooked rugs. Photos follow.