Arts and Entertainment

Fiber with a twist: Discover Whidbey’s finest fibers during Fiber Quest

In addition to the yarn and roving produced by her animals, Gretchen Schlomann shows off some of the products available at the farm store at Fern Ridge Alpacas in Clinton.  - Kathy Reed / The Record
In addition to the yarn and roving produced by her animals, Gretchen Schlomann shows off some of the products available at the farm store at Fern Ridge Alpacas in Clinton.
— image credit: Kathy Reed / The Record

More and more, people are discovering Whidbey Island and all it has to offer, especially when it comes to fiber farmers.

The third Whidbey Island Fiber Quest is scheduled to be held from Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4 at various fiber farms and businesses throughout the island.

“The goal is to visit our local farms and yarn shop and to have fun,” said Fiber Quest founder Mary Donaty, of Paradise Found Fiber Farm in Clinton. “Plus those who participate have the opportunity to win a gift basket with about $300 worth of product.”

The focus of the Fiber Quest is exactly that — fiber. While each farm’s animals will be present, they are not the stars — their fiber is. Each participating farm has a shop that features its products, including roving, yarns, felted fabrics and finished items. Products will be for sale in each of the shops, but there is no cost to participate in Fiber Quest.

“Everything is free,” said Donaty. “Participants pick up tickets and business cards at the farms’ stores or the yarn shop. At each place they visit, they have the ticket signed. At the last place they visit, they turn in their ticket which is entered into a drawing.”

Participants must visit each of the four farms and the one yarn shop on the quest to be entered into the drawing. But this year’s quest has an additional twist. Spoiled Dog Winery and Comforts Farm and Vineyard in Langley, Pickles Deli in Clinton and Sweet Mona’s Chocolate Boutique in Langley are also participating in Fiber Quest and will have special discounts available for people who present their tickets. (Pickles Deli is closed Sunday, Nov. 4, however.)

“If people go to all those places, too, they’ll be eligible for a drawing for a secondary gift basket,” said Donaty. There are also two online guessing contests that people can participate in by going to www.whidbeyfiberquest.com. Winners of the online contest will receive a gift certificate.

There is no particular order in which participants need to visit the venues, they can start anywhere. Fiber farmers like Tracey Quinten of Island Bliss Alpacas in Oak Harbor are excited about the opportunity to show people what they do.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share what we know about the animals. It’s a lot of fun,” said Quinten, who has 23 alpacas and two llamas. “Their fleece is as soft as cashmere and they are easy animals to take care of.”

Those venturing out on the quest may be surprised by the variety they’ll find at the farm stores.

“I do blend some of the fiber with silk and some with other animal fibers,” Quinten said. “Whidbey is a wonderful place for the fiber enthusiast.”

“We have several different things we do here,” said Cindi Hoffman of Knitty Purls in Langley, the last knitting shop left on Whidbey Island. “We have a custom-dyed yarn called Whidbey Gems, which mimics the tones of the beach glass and Madrona, which is inspired from the bark of the Madrona tree.”

“We’re all trying to stay alive,” said Donaty. “Every time we do something it’s an effort to expose ourselves to the world and let them see what we have to offer so we can keep doing what we’re doing.”

Plus, said Donaty, now’s a good time of the year to think about those winter projects.

“It’s time to start making Christmas gifts,” she said. “But even if you’re not a knitter or a crocheter, we have finished goods. It could be your best friend’s birthday.”

“Come in and see how unique the island and the farms are, the unique variety of the different fibers and the friendliness of our people,” said Hoffman.

 

 

This year it’s more than fiber

Organizers of this year’s Fiber Quest have tossed in a new twist: Two local wineries, a deli and a chocolate shop will also be participating as people from all over the area come to Whidbey Island to see what local fiber farmers have to offer. There are four participating fiber farms and one yarn shop to visit from Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4. Go to www.whidbeyfiberquest.com for information on participating farms, rules and online contests. Lucky participants have a chance to win two gift baskets.

 

Community Events, April 2014

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