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Annual Ohio fiber show features workshops, how-tos on fiber art
Ohio Correspondent

WOOSTER, Ohio — The 18th annual Great Lakes Fiber Show will be bigger than ever as it expands to another building on the Wayne County fairgrounds in Wooster.

This year, the show will be May 25-26, in conjunction with the Great Lakes Sheep Show and Sale and the eastern Angora Goat Show. In addition to the fiber show, sheep show and sale and vendors, the event has expanded to include presentations on fiber arts. These sessions will take place under the grandstand.

On May 25, Marcia Lewandowski leads off the presentations at 11 a.m. with a session titled “The Humble Folk Mitten.” A native of Minnesota, she is an experienced knitter.

For centuries, Lewandowski said knitters in the northern part of the country knit practical, woolly, hard-wearing mittens. Many times, their opportunities for employment outside the home were limited, but that didn’t stop them from creating fabulous pieces of needlework. The fiber artists of old not only dressed their hands in the latest style and fashion, but their wonderful handiwork allowed them to increase their family income.

Their humble folk mittens not only showed their love and care for the recipients, but identified their clan and homeland and fulfilled traditions of courtship and marriage. Lewandowski and her family spent several years living and working in Bolivia, and during this time, she saw firsthand the beautiful folk knitting traditions of her new neighbors, which ignited a spark that has kept her exploring and learning about knitting traditions around the world.

At 1 p.m. Meghan Bennett, of Houston, Ohio, will lead a session on general farm safety including tractors, animals and chemicals. She was the 2011-12 Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen.

Bennett is one of nine outreach coordinators for the organization Farm Safety for Just Kids (FS4JK), bringing the farm safety message to communities across eight states. She is a student at The Ohio State University majoring in agricultural communication, and travels throughout the state teaching youth about the importance of safety on the farm. The program is sponsored by ADM, Cargill and Farm Credit Services of America.

As an outreach coordinator, Bennett has been trained by FS4JK staff on farm safety topics and has variety of demonstrations to help drive home the lessons to kids of all ages. She will present the program again at 4 p.m.

At 3 p.m. Dave Lewis of Massillon will present a trunk show of handmade quilts inspired by history and stories about the people who were involved in the Civil War. These include “Lincoln’s Birthday Quilt,” “The Mother Bickerdyke Quilt,” “The Civil War Portrait Quilt,” “Christmas in the Field,” “A Soldier’s Cot Quilt,” “The Belfast Flag Quilt” and “The McCook House Quilt.”

Many of these are of original design and some contain patterns found in 1860s quilts. Others have been inspired by other quilts, which have survived the 150 years since the Civil War. Each quilt has its own story. Join Lewis and friends as they share their experiences in researching and constructing these beautiful reproduction quilts.

Lewis is a retired biology and chemistry teacher turned fiber artist. He is mostly interested in designing quilts that tell a story. The Civil War period has a wealth of stories about famous and ordinary individuals and he wants to celebrate the life and spirit of these people.

Other Saturday sessions include “Choosing a Fleece for Spinning” at 2 p.m.

On May 26, Faith Gernhardt will present a session on “Preparing Wool for Spinning” at 11 a.m. She will demonstrate the steps for a worsted preparation, including skirting a fleece that was shorn this spring. After the presentation, participants will be welcome to try out the steps for a worsted or woolen preparation and, using a drop spindle, create some yarn from prepared fleece.

Lewis will present his program “Civil War Quilt Show” at 1 p.m., followed by Lewandowski with a repeat of her presentation again at 2 p.m. The presentations are free and open to the public.
Admission to the Great Lakes Sheep and Wool Show and Sale is free. Food, including roast lamb sandwiches, will be available on the fairgrounds. For more information, visit www.banner

For more information on the fiber show, go to the website www.great