Friday, July 27, 2007

Thoughts on a Fair, and an Invitation to the Other Side

So, last weekend I exhibited at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair. With the exception of sleep deprivation, pretty much had a blast! The show set up and strike was pretty mellow and painless. I was thrilled that were were under big tents, and I didn't have to set up a 10 X 10 tent that I would have to borrow and transport. For a first time event, I thought the organization was superb. There was a lot of advance information sent from the organizer, so there were no real surprises. My supervisor at work and her spouse came out, and they had a great time, and they're not fiber people! There was good ethnic food (yummy Polish treats!), good coffee, beer if you didn't leave the beer garden, and round the clock entertainment on three stages. I heard some buzz that the local people were ticked off at the admission, but $6.00 with entertainment, and free parking, is a bargain, if you ask me. The setting was the grounds of an old mansion across the street from the beach in Crystal Lake. I thought that the event really showcased the grounds and the community.
Lucky Penny wise, I didn't expect to sell dog sweaters in July. I did work out an excellent trade with another exhibitor, and I'm so grateful. I did get the word out about Doggie Knits, which was really my objective for doing the event. Next year, I'll have books to sell! My mom came out to help me on Friday, and shooed me out of the booth so I could do some shopping. She did some advance stuff for me, and told me about some things in the market worth a look. I shopped the indie establishments! One stop was the Illinois Green Pastures Fiber Cooperative, for some handpainted wool, and angora/merino blend that has to be a lacy scarf, or some lingerie. I was looking forward to seeing a favorite, Briar Rose Fibers, and being in the same tent, I had three days worth of access. I have been knitting with this since I first purchased last year at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. I'm so drawn to the luscious colors. Chris is truly an artist.
I'm drawn to both ends of the spectrum when it comes to color--I love what a real magician can do with a dye pot, and then I love what Nature can do on her own. Another vendor in my tent, Frontier Fiber Farm, had gorgeous alpaca. The natural colors were plied and spun into self-striping color blends. I bought some for a super warm sweater for Piccolo, and a little brown/grey combo for a little scarf for me. My mom and I bought little hand knit alpaca travel pillows stuffed with lavender. A furry alternative to cuddle, one that doesn't come with a tongue.
I have resisted wanting to spin my own yarn. I love the look of handspun yarn, and I love to knit with it. The handspun of others. Another exhibitor came by, Carol Larsen of River's Edge Weaving Studio. She took note of all the Noro Kureyon that I use for the sweaters, and we started talking about what it would be like if I spun my own. I was intrigued enough to think about a beginning class at the next Wisconsin Sheep and Wool. But, a week later, I'm thinking about the time suck and all the money needed to set up with a spinning wheel. There's so much that I want to knit now. Maybe in 2008.