SAFF 2009

This tweet sums up my first Fiber Fair experience. SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) was awesome. Did you know it was my first time going to a regional fiber fest?  And my first time teaching at a regional fiber fest? And my first time away from both my kids overnight?

I think the best part – the very best – was teaching a class. It’s so great to meet friendly knitters who are interested in learning colorwork. Since colorwork is my favorite kind of knitting, I get so eager to pass on the knowledge and hopefully show folks how easy and fun it can be.  I feel safe in saying that everyone in the class “got it” and I just hope they find the joy in the technique (after they get over that awkward feeling of carrying one yarn in each hand). Here they are, working hard.

My workshop peeps

My workshop peeps

My other favorite part was traveling with my knitting buddy Denise and having a class with my knitting/spinning buddy Anne.  No, I didn’t take pictures of either of them. Yes, I was too busy laughing and talking and shopping and spinning to take silly pictures.  Camnesia! It’s a real disorder!

But I can take pictures of my haul, which leads me to another favorite part of SAFF: The Loot.

SAFF 2009 Haul

I’ve read many “Fiber Festival Survival Guides” and had a plan going in.  I made a list and took cash and mostly I stuck to that.  I wanted sport weight wool in natural colors: CHECK (and it’s Shetland)! I wanted a darning mushroom: CHECK (and it’s antique! but not pictured)! And, ahem, that was all that was on my list.  I suppose I knew deep within my soul that if I saw a gorgeous skein of handdyed yarn I would allow myself to buy it.  I found The Sanguine Gryphon booth and pretty much died from the exquisite, breathtaking colors. The red Skinny Bugga in Tomato Frog jumped into my arms, so I bought it.

And the purse handles? Totally an impulse buy and totally purchased with my credit card. I’m making the time today to cast on (or swatch, perhaps) a felted bag (the handles came with a free pattern, but I think I might try some fair isle). The Homestead Heirlooms booth was very, very enticing and they had samples of felted bags to try on and the 30″ handles are the perfect length for me. If you are looking for leather handles for a knitted, crocheted or sewn bag, I’m not kidding, these women have what you want.

Another favorite part of SAFF was my workshop with Rita Buchanan*, Nice Fat Yarn.  I learned SO MUCH in three short hours that I wish I could have taken every one of Rita’s workshops.  I spun some nice fat yarn.

*Interweave is offering some of Rita Buchanan’s past articles as  e-books. I don’t have them but I hear they’re worth checking out.

Nice Fat Yarn

And even though I had to literally dust off my spinning wheel in preparation for taking this class, I think I’m inspired to spin up some more fat yarn. It’s challenging and fun, not to mention fast, and the yarn is light as a feather.  Here’s a closer look at one of the activities we did.

Nice Fat Yarn

In this exercise we started by spinning a normal-to-us weight of yarn (on the left). The we attempted a fatter yarn (middle) and an even fatter yarn (right). It was so awesome and fun. I am almost embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I ever measured wraps per inch. Now that I see how easy it is, and how much you can learn by checking wraps per inch throughout a spinning project, I think I might actually do it.

Lastly, I had a blast and the Fiber-In meet up at the Holiday Inn.  The hosts, Carrie and Lyn, did a wonderful job of organizing the event.  I even won a prize!

SAFF 2009 Haul

I think this is Paca-Peds from The Alpaca Yarn Co.  Love the turquoise and brown combo, even if my camera revolts when it’s time for a picture.

Okay, okay, I said everything was my favorite part.  But it really was!  I can’t wait for next year!

past and upcoming

Farm Fest 2009

This was the scene when Cindy and I arrived at Rising Meadow Farm on Sunday, Oct. 4th, to set up our very first booth at Farm Fest, an annual gathering of local fiber enthusiasts.  It was the 7th annual festival; I have visited the last four years.  This was my first time as a vendor, and I sold patterns and kits.  Cindy also sold patterns and we were joined by our friends Denise and Lisa who were selling their handmade Upcycle Sacs (more on those another day, I snagged one for myself and it’s the shizz).

Farm Fest 2009

Our booth was near the entrance and we saw lots and lots of people. The day was sunny and warm, with just a hint of a breeze.  It was great. Looking at this picture I see some things  I would do differently the next time.  Mostly, I think, I need a better way to display the actual copies of my patterns (in addition to the samples made from the patterns) because I did a lot of explaining about what we were selling.

The best part, really, was hanging with my besties all day. We’ll totally do it again, if just for a day of hanging out and shooting the shit.

study hall mitts

Coming up next is the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Asheville, NC.  I won’t be a vendor, but I’m teaching a class!  I’m very excited about my first experience as an instructor, and my first experience with a regional fiber fair. I’ll be teaching an Intro to Color Stranding class using my Zigzag Study Hall: Fingerless Mitts pattern (above).

There’s a Fiber-In event at the Holiday Inn – Airport (near the fairgrounds) on Friday, October 23rd that I will likely attend. I’ve heard there’s tons of giveaways, so I donated two patterns to join in the fun: End of May Mittens & End of May Hat.  Then on Saturday morning I am taking a class with Rita Buchanan called Nice Fat Yarn. I really need to dust off my spinning wheel and get back in the spinning groove.

Actually, the next big thing happens before SAFF – on Sunday I’ll be 30!  I know, I mentioned it before, but it seems like a big deal.  I got the best birthday present last night from Anne: her new copy of Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting. Anne has the original, hardback version and since the new one is just a reprint of the old one, I am the lucky recipient of her unneeded book.  I started reading it this morning and WOW. Can’t wait to spend some time with Alice.

That’s the dispatch from here. I want to show off my knitting, but it will have to wait until the sun shines a little.  In fact the rain is making it perfect knitting weather.  Maybe I’ll go knit a little now.