Kings County Fiber Festival returns to Park Slope Saturday

Shelves of yarn at the Kings County Fiber Festival.
Mildred Salas Photography

Call it the spin zone!

Knitting-obsessed Brooklynites can rejoice as the annual Kings County Fiber Festival returns for its ninth iteration on Oct. 10, bringing with it a sprawling marketplace of woolly goods from around the tri-state area to the Old Stone House in Park Slope.

The day-long bash will weave together the bazaar of independent vendors selling high-quality wares around the Third Street historical venue with informative online talks by fiber artists, meeting an increasing demand for traditional crafts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one of the organizers.

“I do think there’s been a definite uptick in people doing hand crafts,” said the Old Stone House’s executive director Kim Maier. “For a lot of people it’s been a solace through all of this and a way of finding a community.”

The festival will have something for artisans of various vocations, including crocheters, dyers, felters, knitters, quilters, spinners, and weavers.

This year’s artist talks — which have moved online because of the pandemic — feature doll makers, jewelry designers, storytellers, and a craftswoman who has published step-by-step tutorials on crocheting masks on social media — giving would-be craft makers the perfect resource to livestream or watch later.

At the marketplace, attendees can learn how to hand-spin or dye, care for raw denim, and hear from farmers on how to care for woolly animals — such as Angora rabbits, which are famous for their fine and soft coats, and which will be featured at the fair.

Jojo Cinnabun, a red Satin Rabbit owned by fiber artist Jessica Schmitz, will be one of several bunnies in attendance whose coat yields soft yarns.Jessica Schmitz

“We hope, in terms of people coming to the festival, they’ll be able to explore these new providers and resources, and talk to folks who are experts in their field,” Maier said.

The organizers are also bringing back their annual “Make Warm Hats for the Homeless” drive, where do-gooders can drop off hats — placed in individual plastic bags for pandemic precautions — which organizers will then donate to local homeless shelters.

“I think it’s a great empowering thing to have this gift to give to the community,” said Maier.

“Kings County Fiber Festival” at the Old Stone House [336 Third St., between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, www.kingscountyfiberfestival.org]. Oct. 10, 10 am–5 pm. Free.