The first ever Leeds-Grenville Fibre Extravaganza is coming to the Municipal Centre, spearheaded by a local knitter and community enthusiast. Brenda Ward first had the idea of bringing a show dedicated to knitting, crocheting and other fibre-based crafts, to the area when she noticed there wasn’t anywhere for artisans to gather between Picton and Quebec. “Everyone said I couldn’t have one [in this area],” she says. “I took that as a challenge.”

Brenda went to several big fibre festivals in Ontario and Quebec to formally invite vendors to the show late last year. By the time the deadline for registration rolled around in February, she had all 33 spots booked, with a waiting list. All but a handful of the vendors are from Eastern Ontario, Brenda says. “I think everyone will be surprised by the quality of products we have in this area.”

Brenda worked hard to include a wide variety of vendors at the show. There will be all types of yarn available, including alpaca, cashmere, musk ox and angora. Fibre enthusiasts, and those who want to learn more about the different products available, will have access to all types of raw materials, independent yarn dyers, knitting tools and accessories. “I want to educate the public about what’s out there,” Brenda says.

The show will have several interactive stations as well. At one, visitors will be asked to contribute to a community “twiddle muff”, a knitted hand muff with different textures and bobbles attached to it, meant to be used to occupy and calm people with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s and anxiety. Brenda and her knitting group have been making the “twiddle muffs” for about a year now, and they have been donating them to Beth Donovan Hospice, which distributes them free of charge. “We will ask people to knit a couple of rows to create a community twiddle muff,” Brenda says.

There will also be a yarn-winding table, where people who have bought hanks of yarn can sit and wind them into cakes. The table is open to anyone willing to make a donation to the Neon Night Fun Run, which is happening later that evening. Visitors will also be invited to join the Katy Pominville Knitting Circle, which commemorates lifelong knitter Katy Pominville who died last year at the age of 109. “She knit up until the week she passed away,” Brenda says, adding that she always had a project on her needles, like hats, socks and mittens which she donated to the Kemptville District Hospital Tuck Shop and other local charities.

To honour the show’s first year, a shawl called Land of Lakes has been exclusively designed by rhyFlower Knits, with yarn supplied by Log House Cottage. The pattern is available for free on the Leeds Grenville Fibre Extravaganza website for those who subscribe to their newsletter.

Brenda hopes that this first Fibre Extravaganza will be a pleasant experience for all. She has worked hard to make all the vendors feel welcome and create a day that will be fun, memorable and informative. “I am looking forward to seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces,” she says.

The Leeds Grenville Fibre Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, September 22, from 9 am-5 pm, at the North Grenville Municipal Centre. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for children twelve and under, and kids under two get in for free.

There will be a gift for the first 200 visitors, meant to be collected every year they attend the show. “I have a five-year plan,” Brenda says, clearly excited about the prospect of welcoming people to her home town and hosting the area’s first fibre show. “North Grenville has a lot to offer.”

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