Vibrant and bustling Fiber Market returns to Old Slater Mill in January
(Pawtucket, RI) With the return of the 4:35 sunset comes the annual Knitting Weekend and Fiber Market at Old Slater Mill -- an opportunity to turn your eye from the winter’s monotone pallet onto a collage of colorways and textures, in a venue that inspires creativity.
The annual Fiber Market held each January in the historic 18th century factory that Samuel Slater built represents the start of a new season of programming at Slater Mill and is a top attendance draw. It returns next month, on January 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
According to organizers, the upcoming event will have an expanded marketplace as compared to prior years, with thirty fiber vendors located on two floors of the historic factory.
“This is a very popular event, and the demand continues to be in the hosting of fiber producers and purveyors from a wide geographic radius, making it convenient for knitters and fiber artists to have in-person access to these artisans and their products,” explains Lori Urso, the executive director of the museum and historic site, who has produced seven of the museum’s twelve Knitting Weekend events.
But there is an added bonus in patronizing this market.
“Attending the fiber market also offers the benefit of a visit to the 1793 Old Slater Mill, something that has evidently made its way to bucket lists everywhere,” Urso adds. “Perusing textile products in the place where industrial textile production began in this county makes this a very unique experience.”
The opening of the second floor of the mill, also a former manufacturing space in Samuel Slater’s time, will allow for an expanded roster of fiber producers, artisans, and crafters in the 2020 market.
“Last year this event drew 950 people on the first day. Every year there are more and more vendor inquiries. So, we knew to satisfy the demand and keep it interesting, we would need to make some adjustments,” said Urso.
Knitting Weekend is not just the Fiber Market, but also includes opportunities for classroom instruction for knitters seeking to expand their skills. Two four-hour classes, one each on Saturday and Sunday, will be offered for early and intermediate skill levels respectively. In the past, the event has offered as many as six or seven classes over the weekend.
“We’re super excited to host internationally-known master knitter Laura Nelkin as our guest instructor this year,” said Urso. “Her Sunday sweater class filled up quickly, and Saturday’s beading class is just a few seats away from being full.”
In addition to Nelkin, who travels from upstate New York to teach at the event, the mill will host the following fiber vendors from the six New England states and Pennsylvania:
Rhode Island: WeeOnes, Gigi Bonin Yarns, We Got the Buttons, Ball and Skein, Ladylove Llamas, Lucky Star Llamas, North Light Fiber, Dursin Merino Roving, Old Slater Mill Book Shop
Massachusetts: Evergreen Farm, Dirty Water DyeWorks, Fallingblox Designs, Subito Farm, Loop by Loop Studio, Englishman Bay Trading Company, Play at Life Fiber Arts, Spin-a-Bit, Biltmore Wool Barn, Sheepshed, Rag Hill Farm, New England Woodworkz
Connecticut: ColeMama Creations, Olympia Farm, Nola Fiber Creations, Bead Biz
New Hampshire: Purgatory Falls Alpaca, Stephen Willette, RaisaAntonia
Vermont: Fiber Stash Dyeworks
Maine: Good Karma Farm, Sheepscot Harbor Yarns
Pennsylvania: Shirtsy Cat Designs
Visitors to the Fiber Market may register for free for a Door Prize Raffle, featuring Berroco yarn gift bags, and other prizes.
“Knitting Weekend for some is an opportunity to pick up unique yarns without having to drive all over New England to get them,” said Urso. “But for others – even those who don’t knit or crochet, or spin or weave yet – it’s a chance to learn, be inspired, get ideas, or just get out for a dramatic change of scenery. All are welcome.”
Admission to the Fiber Market is free both days, and free parking is available in the lot next to the mill on Slater Avenue, or in the municipal lot across from the mill on Roosevelt Avenue.
Knitting Weekend is a program of Trad Arts Studio at Slater Mill, with the sponsorship of the Phyllis Kimball Johnstone Foundation, Berroco, Inc., the City of Pawtucket, and RI State Council on the Arts.
or call 401-725-8638