Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair This Weekend

The SAFF is this Fri-Sat at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

“We do workshops, and we have featured artists,” said Linda Brier, a fiber fair board member. “Literally, we bring in people from all over the country. It’s quite a thrilling thing for fiber addicts, as most of us are.”

The fiber fair is a natural outgrowth of the knitting boom as well as people who want to raise animals. The fair brings in “knitters, spinners, crocheters, people who are interested in felting,” Brier said. “But we also end up with folks who are just interested in the animals.”

And the animals, as Wheelis will tell you, are irresistible, especially her alpacas. A cousin of the llama, the alpaca is raised only for its fleece, not as a pack animal.

“Alpacas are very much social animals, but they respect your space,” Wheelis said. “They’re just magical. Once you’ve been around them and seen them — I don’t know anybody who doesn’t fall in love with them.”

Like most people who raise fiber animals, Wheelis doesn’t depend on their fleeces for her living. She’s a nurse anesthetist at Mission Hospitals and has been raising alpacas, with her daughter’s help, for five years. She raised goats and sheep before that for another five.

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