I am, once again, in charge of classes for the Iowa Sheep & Wool Festival for this year. I’m really quite proud of the class list that we have come up with for this years attendees. There’s a little something in it for almost everyone!
For the knitters, I have several great classes on offer. Annie Modesitt is teaching her famous Combination Knitting class, which has sold out at major shows everywhere, as well as her Backyard Leaves class which I have personally taken and is a fantastic skill building class. We also have two great classes by M.J. Harris, who has taught for us before and did a FANTASTIC job of it. For those interested in learning double knitting, she’s teaching a Double Knitting Basics class so that you can jump right into some seriously cool, double-sided, colorwork! M.J. is also teaching a course in shawl shaping basics. If you have ever tried to find a pattern for a specific shawl with a specific design with no luck, then this class is for you! Deb Robson is teaching one knitting class at the 2018 IS&WF and it’s her ever popular “Rare-Breeds Wool” class where you will learn about at least 10 different rare breeds of sheep by knitting them!
Weavers haven’t been left out. We have a class being taught by Deb Lundy on how to make a pinwheel table runner. Check out the photos for this awesome project!
Spinners are getting a lot of options this year. Robin Goatey is teaching a course called “Spindles of the World” in which you get to learn how to use three different types of spindles and then you get to take home the one that you like best. Such a great idea for someone wanting to learn new kinds of spindling. Kimberly Darling is back by MUCH popular request with her “No Fear Spinning: Creative Spinning Techniques” class. I remember being so jealous of the students in her class last year as they looked and sounded as though they were having a blast! Kimberly is also teaching her popular “Fractal Fascination” class which sold-out and had a waiting list last year. In it she shows you how to use those spectacular hand-painted rovings that you get so that you end-up with spectacular hand-spun yarns! Peggy Doney is a new instructor to the IS&WF this year but she’s taught her popular classes at events like Taos and Estes Park. She’s bringing us the class “Behold the (Not So) Humble Slub!”. Make sure to take a peek at the photos of what you will be learning in this class as the art yarns she’s teaching folks to make are absolutely spectacular. Deb Robson is teaching our first Friday class this year. It’s an all-day class called “Love the One You’re With” and it’s about using wools that are local to our area. We’ve been working really hard on getting her some great fleeces to play with. She’s also teaching an all-day class on Saturday all about Shetland sheep. There are so many aspects to this amazing breed that it’s hard to get it all into a single day class!
For all those folks who like to dye or play with color, we haven’t forgotten about you! Darlene Megli is offering a class called, “Not Everyone Wants to Dye!” that is going to show you how to use fiber blending to get the colors that you want for your spinning. Maggie Howe is offering not one but two dyeing classes this year. Her “Traditional Hot Pot Natural Dyes” is a great introduction to natural dyeing. Her other class, “Indigo Dyeing”, sounds like a super fun exploration of this popular natural dye. Peggy Doney is also teaching a dyeing class on Sunday called “24-Color Wheel X 2”. In it you will dye the entire rainbow, twice! Seriously, if you are interested in taking your dyeing skills to the next level, take this class.
We have two felting classes this year. One is by Rhonda Berman called “Zipper Needle Felted Art”. In it you will combine needle felting with the humble zipper and leave with an amazing ornament. Really, check out the photos of the projects! The other is a wet-felting class taught by Jill Johnson. You will leave with a felted necklace with a design of your own inspiration.
Rug hooking is becoming really popular right now which is why we’re offering the , “Intro to Rug Hooking” class with Teresa Goatey. You will gain all the skills you need to set you to hooking to your heart’s content.
We don’t just have classes for adults. The Wrights are back again this year with their popular kids classes. On Saturday they are offering the “Sunset Paper Plate Weaving” class and on Sunday the “Wet Felted Animal Habitat Playmat”. These classes are not only fun (the kids were so stinking cute singing their little songs last year) but educational as well. If you have kids, I would STRONGLY encourage you to sign them up for one or both of these classes. Besides, you cannot deny, the wet felted habitat playmat is freaking cool.
In addition to all these fantastic classes going on, we also have the ASI Wool Handling School coming to the IS&WF for the first time! This a class for shepherds who would like to be able to make more money from their flocks by having the wool clip become a larger source of income. I took this course a couple of years ago and it’s great, totally recommend it.
I’m starting to feel like one of those guys on the infomercials who keeps saying, “But wait! There’s more!” because, well, there is more! Deb Robson is going to be giving two talks during the festival. The first talk is a Saturday evening ticketed event and is about “The Magic of Wool”. It’s about all the qualities that make wool so amazing and impossible to replicate. The second talk is Sunday afternoon and is free for everyone to attend. Deb will be discussing some of her current work and answering questions from the audience. If you’re interested in her research or methodology, you won’t want to miss it!
In addition to all the great classes and talks going on, we are having shearing demos, stockdog exercises, and spinning and knitting demos by local area guilds. The Hall of Breeds is up to around twenty different breeds of sheep this year, which is amazing. There’s a fantastic fleece show with Lettie Kline judging again this year. There are photo competitions and a silent auction with lots of great prizes to win. New for this year is a Shetland sheep show which I’m personally excited about as I will probably have some sheep in it. Herbert and my three year-old niece have been “practicing” to lead for the Junior showmanship competition.
In addition to all of these fantastic events and classes going on, there are a ton of vendors as well with pretty much anything wooly your heart desires. So come, get your learning on, get your shopping on, watch some cute kids with fluffy sheep, and have a great weekend with us in Ames!