Fiber Festival Nov. 17-18 has everything artist needs and classes too

Fiber Festival Nov. 17-18 has everything artist needs and classes too

“In the rhythm of the needles, there is music for the soul,” says Katy Turbeville. “I am a firm believer that every skein — project, piece, etc. — has a story to tell in our lives.”

Turbeville is the proprietor of Yarn Adventure, and she’ll be one of the teachers and vendors at the first-ever Northwest Arkansas Fiber Festival Nov. 17-18 in Fayetteville. She’s a big believer in the magic of creating fiber art, the joy of gifting fiber art and the value of the sense of community created by fiber artists.

She’s also planning to live full time in a van she calls the Yarn Adventure Truck starting next March and travel the country, selling supplies for the fiber arts. Turbeville is committed.

“My first experience with fiber arts was with knitting,” she remembers. “I learned to knit in 2010 when we were living in Little Rock as a way to keep myself busy while my husband continued his studies, and things have snowballed since then. Over the last 13 years I have branched out to crochet, embroidery, felting, and sewing, but knitting is still my favorite. The needles and yarn keep my hands busy and my mind more calm.”

It wasn’t a mom or a granny who inspired Turbeville but rather a long-distance friend named Amanda.

“Although we live far apart, we are still great friends and still both very much into knitting,” Turbeville says. “Amanda and I have attended quite a few fiber festivals together and have a constant chat thread going with new patterns, project ideas and, of course, pretty yarn.

“Many of our life milestones are marked with knits — socks from long train commutes to work, knitted dishcloths for our wedding, sweaters for her babies, a special felt toy from our first fiber festival together, special yarn from an adventure together… Handknits — and really any fiber craft — have a way of making memories more tangible. We leave a piece of ourselves in each item we create and collect.”

Of course, Turbeville says, there’s always room for more of whatever a fiber artist needs to make whatever she makes.

“I don’t just look at my fiber stash as a possibility to create but also as a memory and a connection to the places and people I’ve interacted with before.”

Turbeville credits the “slow fashion” movement for an interest in sustainable natural fiber clothing — but that’s just one aspect of the current resurgence in fiber arts.

“Slow fashion and the fiber arts allow the maker to create something that is unique to the maker,” she says. “Leaving a legacy of artwork as well as helping to create a calm mind also play key roles in the popularity of fiber crafts. Meditation with fiber arts is also gaining in notoriety, and I feel that has also added to the community.”

It’s that community that Fiber Fest is intended to support, says Vicki Penny, one of the organizers. In planning the first event, they visited other fiber festivals and learned the keystones to success.

“Through our travels, I witnessed so much diversity in the folks that attend, from the young to the not-so-young, all wanting exceptional products,” she says. “The NWA Fiber Festival is not only for passionate people who are really into knitting, crocheting, felting and embroidery, it’s also a great opportunity to shop for speciality materials and supplies for friends and family and find one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays.”

It’s also a fundraiser for the Washington County 4-H Foundation, which supports clubs and provides classes, camps and other “meaningful experiences to assist growing youth into responsible adults.”

“All of this needs financial support,” Penny says. “We hope to continue to operate this fundraiser for many years to come.”

“I was able to work closely with the 4-H board to develop this particular festival, and I’m honored to be a part of its inaugural year,” says Turbeville. “With 25-plus vendors, NWA Fiber Fest is set to be a great gathering point for the fiber arts community.”


NWA Fiber Fest

WHEN — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 17-18

WHERE — Thompson Hall at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Fayetteville

COST — Free


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