(March 13, 2020) The seventh annual Delmarva Wool and Fiber Expo takes place today through Sunday at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street.
Expo hours are Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Event organizer Susan Childs said an earlier start was planned for Saturday due to coinciding with the 41st annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which travels south on Coastal Highway from 58th Street to 45th Street from noon to 2 p.m.
“We encourage people to come early to find parking and navigate traffic,” she said.
Childs advised attendees traveling into town on Saturday to use Route 50.
Despite the vendor count shrinking slightly this year due to scheduling conflicts, the focus is on quality over quantity among the roughly three dozen on board.
“There are many returning vendor, but it is a few smaller than past years,” Childs said. “The dates fell that there’s a couple other fiber shows going on.”
Originated by Childs in 2014 to provide local purveyors of wool, yarns and fabrics a merchandising outlet, the expo has grown to attract roughly a few thousand visitors in recent years, although the spat of knitting-centric gatherings this year could dampen attendance.
“People just have to pick and choose,” she said. “The vendors that are coming are quality … and we do have some new vendors.”
Besides an opportunity to stockpile materials and supplies, there are also 13 artisan classes and demonstrations scheduled on Friday and Saturday.
Class registrations can be done online in advance at www.woolandfiber.com or same day based on space availability.
Childs noted the slate of vendors includes a pair of knitting stores making first appearances at the expo – The Spinning Loft from Silver Spring and Ewe Knit & Sew from National Harbor, Maryland.
The annual gathering of natural fiber industry experts and hobbyists will also include refurbished looms and other weaving gear for sale.
“It isn’t easy to find equipment that’s in good shape,” she said. “You can find spinning wheels but they’re out of balance [or] warped.”
For those seeking fresh from the box, Trinity Farms from Nokesville, Virginia, will be retailing new spinning wheels by Spinolution, which are designed by Mike Pauly and hand built in California by Wallace Wood Products.
Among other specialized services for knitting and crocheting aficionados is longarm quilting from Catherine’s Quilting in Selbyville, Delaware.
“It’s a sewing machine with a real long arm in it,” she said. “That’s kind of cool because you can make your quilt and take it to her and let her do the quilting.”
Details about the 2021 Fiber Cruise will be available this weekend, with the inaugural Bahamas cruise scheduled to take place this year from March 27 to April 4.
“We will have information for second annual Fiber Cruise,” she said.
Long a fan of water excursions and always seeking to expand the expo’s footprint, last year Childs dreamt up a sea venture that was well received among her contemporaries.
“I felt there was a need for knitters to get together and do what they like in a cruise situation,” she said.
Hatching a new endeavor for this fall, Childs is planning a knitting retreat in November at the Grand Hotel on 21st Street.
“The event runs for five days,” she said. “They’ll be information for that there.”
Guests can register for part or all of the offseason retreat at the oceanfront resort.
“We’re just trying to keep it alive,” she said.
Admission cost is $3 daily or $5 for a weekend pass, with tickets available at the door.
For more details and a full list of vendors, visit www.woolandfiber.com or search for Delmarva Wool and Fiber Expo on Facebook. For further information, contact Childs at 443-235-2926.