Fiber producers from all six New England states will convene in Pawtucket RI for the annual Fiber Market at Old Slater Mill on January 19 and 20, from 10 to 5.
Part of the mill’s annual Knitting Weekend mini-conference, the Fiber Market is an opportunity for artisans, crafters, and the fiber-curious to mingle with fiber farmers, yarn dyers, tool suppliers, authors, and other artisans. Admission is free to the public, and all ages are welcome.
“The Fiber Market has become a very popular kick-off for a year of community events at Old Slater Mill,” said Lori Urso, executive director. “It’s a perfect mid-winter, cabin-fever-busting diversion that is also a feast for the eyes and senses.”
A bustling, colorful bazaar of natural and hand-dyed yarn and roving, artisan-crafted tools, blown-glass buttons, knitting books and accessories, and unique gifts, the annual Fiber Market is held inside the historic Old Slater Mill factory, where Samuel Slater first perfected the business of yarn spinning in 1793.
“This is the only event of this size that we hold inside the old factory, which is otherwise reserved for historic museum interpretation,” said Urso. “The history and significance of the place as America’s first textile factory, and the connection of past with present, makes this an extra special event,” said Urso.
Twenty vendors from all around New England take part this year, giving local fiber artisans an opportunity to purchase from the regions finest producers without having to drive long distances. Five vendors are from Rhode Island, with the remaining fifteen from out of state.
According to Urso, the marketplace will include seven vendors who are new to the event and five who participated in years past. Eight vendors return from last year, and include favorites like Ball & Skein, Dirty Water Dyeworks, Dursin Merino Roving, and Purgatory Falls Alpaca.
New this year are Knitty Gritty Yarn Girl from Niantic, CT, who may show up in her eye-catching knitting truck; Wing & A Prayer farm from Shaftsbury, VT; and Stephen Willette’s Fiber Art Tools from Bennington, NH.
“The marketplace has become so popular with vendors that we end up turning away quite a few each year,” said Urso. “Our space limitations require an intimate event, which is wonderful in one sense, but restrictive in others.”
All who attend are invited to enter a free drawing for a Berroco Yarn Gift Bag, featuring the company’s newest collections, and other prizes. The Slater Mill museum shop and bookstore will also be open with discounts on knitting books and yarns.
As a special treat on Saturday afternoon, the Rhode Island Hook & Needle Guild hosts a free “Knit Café” on the second floor of Old Slater Mill, to which anyone is free to bring a project on which they need help, or just to relax and knit with guild members and other knitters.
Knitting Weekend is a program of Trad Arts Studio at Slater Mill, with the sponsorship of Berroco, Inc., the Phyllis Kimball Johnstone Foundation, the City of Pawtucket, RI State Council on the Arts, and the Old Slater Mill Association.