Eileen Barnes stopped nearly everyone who walked past her and invited them to feel how soft her fleece fiber was.
She was using the material, taken from a baby goat, to spin yarn.
The faster Barnes tapped her foot on the pedal of her spinning wheel, the faster it spun.
The Spring Mills resident sat Friday in a chair in a barn at the Grange fairgrounds, filling a bobbin with yarn — among about a dozen other fiber farmers at the wool village.
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The village was the newest attraction at the third annual FarmFest hosted by Spring Mills-based Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a Department of Agriculture-accredited nonprofit that educates and certifies growers, processors and handlers of organic crops, wild crops, livestock and livestock products in Pennsylvania.
Barnes tapped both feet on a pedal of the machine that took the fleece from her hand and spun it into tightly wound yarn.
“It takes almost no effort,” she said.
Barnes got into the craft when she was 50 years old, starting with knitting. She said she urged her friend, who owned Knitters Underground, to teach her the trade.
“I wanted to learn to knit. It was on my bucket list,” Barnes said. “It grew from there and now I spin.”
It now has been Barnes’ hobby for 27 years.
“I don’t really sell it or anything,” she said. “It’s just more of a hobby that I love to do. I love to spin.”
Next to her was Abby Curtis, of Centrefield Mohair, who used wool from an older goat with coarser hair. All the fleece and wool she spins are from goats she raises on her Patton Township farm.
For more than 25 years, Curtis has raised goats, using their hair to produce yarn and knit goods she sells at regional shows.
The wool village also included 10 fiber farm vendors from around the state who sold handcrafted items and held a sheep- and goat-shearing demonstration.
Kristen Rosser, of Steam Valley Fiber Farm in Trout Run, showed guests how to properly cut the hair from the animals.
The animals are sheared by a professional with standard animal clippers, said Phylleri Ball, of Steam Valley Fiber Farm, whom FarmFest organizers asked to lead the wool area.
It works best when the animal has good fleece or wool that needs little grooming afterward, she added.
The material is then taken to a mill to be weaved.
The whole process — from shearing the animal to the final product — takes about three hours.
“It’s faster than people think, but you need a team to help you,” Ball said.
When 6-year-old Brayden Varner asked, “How do you handle and control a sheep” while shearing it, Ball said it’s all about getting the animal to trust the handler.
The fest focuses on education and audience engagement, said Lee Rinehart, PCO director of education and outreach.
“Education is the foundation of the event,” Rinehart said. “We visualize this as our premier educational event of the year that focuses on farmers and consumers. We aim to show people where their food is coming from in a personalized setting.”
From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the fest will host a series of classes on grain production, bee keeping, composting and more.
“These are realistic things farmers and everyday people use,” Rinehart said. “We hope people see this as a resource to learn.”
The fest will continue 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, including a 5K race, pie contest, education session, guest speakers, live entertainment and more than 100 vendors.
Annually, the fest attracts about 3,000 guests, said Leslie Zuck, PCO executive director. This year, it also expanded its hours to accommodate the fest’s growth, she said.
“It’s something that grows each year, and we try to bridge the gap between producers and consumers and educate all involved,” Zuck said. “The most amazing thing is that it takes a community of organizations to run it.”