Northern Michigan Fiber Festival returns Saturday

Courtesy Photo Mary Centala, right, spins wool into yarn with her 4-year-old granddaughter Magnolia “Maggie” Centala, daughter of Andrew Centala and Harper Bloom.

ALPENA — Knitters, spinners, weavers, crafters, and anyone looking to learn more about making or using yarn will not want to miss the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival on Saturday and Sunday at the APlex.

The Northern Michigan Fiber Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the APlex, 701 Woodward Ave. in Alpena. It is held on the last full weekend in September each year. The event will feature free admission and parking, 18 fun educational classes, over 40 vendors, fiber, yarn, books, supplies, demonstrations, crafts and ready-made items for purchase, and more.

“I’m the lucky person who’s president of the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival,” said Mary Centala, who raises sheep in Alpena County. She then dyes the wool and spins it into yarn, which she uses to make a variety of knit and crocheted items. She will be representing Heritage Acres at her booth.

Other vendors include AJHC Wools from Eaton Rapids, Apple Tree Alpaca from Chippewa Lake, Barnhart Studios/Mother of Pearl from Charlevoix, Behind the Pines Yarn from Perrysburg, Ohio, Blue Bird Makery from Novi, Brenway Fibers from Mio, Dances With Wool from Reed City, Fiber Boutique from Bark River, Hidden Valley Farm/Woolen Mill from Valders, Wisconsin, Hightower Farm and Fuzzy Critters from Edmore, In My Back Yard from Howell, Knit2Together from Northville, Knot Owl by J Duby from Alpena, Kool-A-Roo from Gaylord, Lazy Dog Fiber Arts from Lakeview, Little Fox Fibers/Windspun Farms from Bear Lake, Looking Glass Sheep and Wool from Lansing, Lynda Camp from Alpena, M1Yarns from Royal Oak, MacArthur Farm from Lachine, Maple Row Stock and Wool from Sherwood, Meece’s Fiber Pieces from Gaylord, The Miller Girls from Branch, Pandemonium Studios from Hubbard Lake, Random Rovings from Bancroft, Reaction Yarn by Knitology from Traverse City, Stitch Stuff Yarn from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Stonehedge Fiber Mill from East Jordan, The Striped Tangerine from Tecumseh, Sugar Hill Farm from Mio, Susan’s Buttons and More from Grayling, The Basket Sampler from Highland, The Carrot Patch Farm/A Girl and Her Sheep from Edmore, The Smoking Trolls from Hubbard Lake, Thistle Rock Acres from Posen, Thunder Bay Basket Guild from Alpena, Toasty Toes from Plainwell, Wheely Cool Fiber from Leslie, Wilder Creek Workshop from Marshall, and Windy Acres Fiber Mill from Wolverine.

Thunder Bay Spinners and Weavers Guild will do an indigo dyeing demonstration.

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Colorful fibers spill out of a basket in one of the displays at the 2022 Northern Michigan Fiber Festival. The 2023 Festival is this weekend at the APlex.

Many classes will be offered, including: Playing with Twills led by Kathy McMinn, Intro to Spinning: Spindles and Wheels led by Julie Drogsvold, Needle Felted Gnome led by Lisa Huberty, Basic Broom Making led by Nancy Binkowski, Naalbinding: Past and Present led by Kal and Karen Vander Weele, Make A Twill Waste Basket led by Kathy McMinn, Cotton Spinning Made Easy led by Julie Drogsvold, Introduction to Wool Dyeing led by Stephanie Carrico and Pegg Thomas, Making a Cord with a Lucet led by Kal and Karen Vander Weele, Entrelac Scarf and Knitting Backwards led by Pegg Thomas, Felted Peas and Carrots led by Tina Etter, Crazy Chickens (Felted) led by Tina Etter, Sewing Basket led by Kathy McMinn, Build and Use Your Own Blending Board led by Julie Drogsvold, Wool Dyeing 201 or Beyond the Basics led by Stephanie Carrico and Pegg Thomas, Rug Hooking with Yarn led by Stephanie Carrico, and Shawl Knitting Without A Safety Net led by Pegg Thomas.

Stop into the Welcome Booth to be entered into drawings for door prizes, with hourly winners.

Several lunch options will be available to choose from at the event, including lamb.

Annette Baarlaer is a volunteer on the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival committee. She recalls feeling overwhelmed with excitement the first time she attended the festival. She said all the colors and different fibers were beautiful and inviting.

“Do you remember walking into a toy store as a kid?” Centala asked. “My first time ever walking into a fiber festival, which was in West Branch, I had that feeling. It’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is awesome!’ I feel lucky that we are able to offer that opportunity of that feeling to people in Alpena.”

Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan loaned the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival their spinning kit, Centala said, and there will be a free spinning area where people can view and try spinning themselves.

Centala answered the question, “Who should come to the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival?”

“That’s an easy question to answer. Everyone,” she said. “There’s so much that makes up this world of fiber arts ­– knitting, crocheting, wet felting, needle felting, weaving, spinning, blending colors, blending fibers, creating wall hangings, pillow covers, wearable art that keeps you warm and adds style to your look. Oh, the possibilities!”

Centala added that the community has been so supportive, and she is very grateful. She is especially appreciative of the help she received from the Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, visit the Northern Michigan Fiber Festival website at fiberfestival.net.


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