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The Prairie Fibre Festival runs Sept. 17 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre

Highlights include a ‘sit and stitch’ area, door prizes, classes and various demonstrations
This year’s Prairie Fibre Festival runs Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

Featuring booths and tables filled with fibre, yarn, bags, fibre art and products plus plenty of supplies and equipment, the Prairie Fibre Festival runs Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

There will also be a ‘sit and stitch’ area, door prizes, classes and a variety of demonstrations, explained the organization’s owner/operator Lori Desrosiers.

This year mark’s the event’s sixth year, and the momentum is growing.

Her first year in running it coincided with the onset of the pandemic, so it’s of course been a scaled-back event until this year. “This is the first year where we can actually go full-tilt, and we will see how it goes.”

Classes focusing on knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning will also be held.

With fibre art continuing to grow in popularity, interest in the Festival is certainly growing.

“This year, we have 50 vendors,” she said, pointing out that there is more to fibre art than what many folks likely realize.

It runs the gamut from knitting, crocheting and spinning fibre to weaving, cross-stitch and embroidery, she said.

“It’s up to your imagination what you can actually do with this and with all of these unique fibres, too. And when people come to the Festival, they are surprised that it encompasses such a wide range of crafts,” she said

For Desrosiers, delving into fibre art came about rather unexpectedly.

“I ended up home-schooling my two kids, and our little home-school moms’ group had a knitting group.”

The craft didn’t appeal to her at first so much, but the social aspect of the group really did.

“I would go for coffee and watch them talk and knit at the same time, and I would think how amazing it all was. And then a friend of mine got into spinning, so I started that. I also took some classes in needle felting.”

Those aspects of community-building, friendship and crafting were also all compelling elements to the art form as well, she said.

“I love the learning aspect of it all — everyone is learning all of the time, and there is always something new to learn, too.”

Meanwhile, Lacombe is an ideal location to host the event because it’s relatively central to Calgary and Edmonton, and of course Red Deer.

“We can attract all of the central Alberta people, too.”

Ultimately, it all makes for a very fulfilling venture for Desrosiers, and she is continually encouraged by the positive feedback she receives after each event.

“Some say, ‘That was the best day ever.’ That’s my favourite.”

She also hears people say how inspired they feel to go home and ramp up their own creative output.

“And then there are the friendships — we all go for dinner afterwards. We have people from all over and from all walks of life, so it’s about the camaraderie, too.”

For more about the event, find Prairie Fibre Festival on Facebook and Instagram.

An example of the process of creating a fibre artwork.
An example of the process of utilizing fibre in creating works of art.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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