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Fiber Arts Festival warms things up in Oxford

Baby, it’s cold outside. That’s one of the reasons leaders of Oxford’s Yoknapatawpha Arts Council decided to create a festival in January five years ago to heat things up in Oxford.

“It’s cold in January, so we thought about knitting and all the things that go with cold weather,” said Wayne Andrews, director of the YAC, explaining how they came up with the idea for the Fiber Arts Festival, an event that now draws 3,000 people.

It will be held Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 28-30, at the Powerhouse at the corner of University Avenue and 14th Street.

“We have classes and workshops from top artists around the country,” Andrews said. “The Thursday night reception has new features that I think will give attendees a great overview. Each vendor will give a short talk on what makes their products unique.”

The festival produced by Knit1 celebrates independent fiber artists and craftspeople. It will open on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. with a reception that includes food and prizes.

The family-friendly festival includes children’s arts classes and more than 24 workshops. Some of them include:

Drop Spindle for Beginners: Participants can learn one of the oldest and simplest ways to make yarn.

Crochet Purse Class: Workshop leaders will teach participants how to make a simple fold-over clutch purse that can be casual or dressy, depending on the yarn you choose.

Needle Felt a Fairy: In this workshop, participants will learn the basics of felting by making a hanging fairy or angel.

Shetland Sky and Sea: The themes of sky and sea are frequently represented in Shetland designs. Would you expect anything less from the beautiful, but hard-to-reach islands located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea? In this fine lace class, participants will look at two specific Shetland stitches, the Bird’s Eye and the Cockleshell.

Embellish It: Participants will create a scarf.

Pine Needles and a Gourd: In this class, participants will learn how to coil longleaf pine needles around the rim of a decorated gourd.

Needle Felt a Creature: Participants will learn the basics of felting by making a penguin or ladybug.

Crocodile Crochet: Participants will learn how to make the crocodile crochet stitch that has become popular lately.

Shawl Design from Start to Finish without Charts or Math: If you are ready to design your own shawl, this class is for you.

Kool-Aid Dyeing. Learn to dye your own yarn using Kool-Aid.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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