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Local festival celebrates all things fiber (2)


Photo credit, Jim Larson
Celebrating all things fiber: from where it comes from to its many uses

 by Diane Larson

The Family Farm Livestock website defines a fiber festival as, “a gathering of natural fiber enthusiasts including people selling yarn, fleeces. and spinning and/or weaving equipment and hand crafters doing demonstrations and selling handmade wearable items.”


The vendors that one might see at a fiber festival varies from people who raise alpacas, sheep and more for their fibers to those who use the fibers. Crafters who use fiber create art, clothes, accessories to name a few.


Fiber festivals can be unique, such as the “Alice Springs Beanie Fest” in Australia that celebrates all things beanies. The “Trailing of the Sheep Festival” that takes place in Idaho in October honors the area’s sheep ranching tradition, and a Minnesota Alpaca Exposition warns, on their website, to would be visitors of the Expo that, “alpaca may cause warm fuzzy feelings and uncontrollable smiles,” according to


Fiber Festivals have been growing in the United States and internationally.

More than five years ago two friends, local to the area, that share a passion for raising fibers and creating art from the fibers decided to bring their talents together and create a local fiber festival. Kami Noyes, of Ranching Tradition Fiber in Whitehall, Montana, and Betty Kujawa, of Snowdrift Alpacas in Butte, Montana took the leap and created a unique and fun festival. Kami raises Targhee Rambouillet Sheep and Betty raises Alpacas. Both raise the animals for the fiber and create yarn from the fiber that they sell.


The Coper K Fiber Festival takes place at the Copper K Barn, located 8 miles South of Whitehall, MT, 786 Point of Rocks Road.  


A few of the vendors scheduled for this year include, Mrs. Hartman’s Farmhouse Market, selling handmade soar, skincare, candles and fleece to name a few. Notlwonk Springs from Utah will have naturally colored wool for spinners and weavers. Stone Cottage Pottery & Farm will have pottery. The Wool Mill & Serenity Sheep Farm Stay will be selling wool roving, yarn, and more. If you go to the website at you can see the entire list of vendors.


The festival also will offer classes where you can learn to spin wool, weave, dye wool, and create felt art, among other fun activities.


This year they are offering a class in a fiber art that pre-dates both knitting and crochet, called nalbinding. According to, nalbinding, “is a method of creating a stretchy textile using short lengths of yarn and a single-eyed bone or wooden needle. Fabric is formed by looping and knotting the yarn through previously created loops, gradually building up row upon row of loops.” This craft dates back to the Viking age.


You can also sit in the shade of a tent and get in on free lectures on a variety of topics on everything fiber. These topics range to raising Alpacas to how to dye wool, and to creating pieces of art.


Refreshments are provided by Cindy Brennan of Red Apron Catering of Whitehall, Montana.


The Copper K Fiber Festival is a nice time to spend in the sun among artists, vendors, sheep people, alpaca people and friends.  


The 2021 copper K Fiber Festival is on Saturday, July 17 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday, July 18. From 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

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