I’m hoping everyone has found at least one option for a local fiber festival. I’m going to The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana on April 18-19. I’m registered for a workshop on blending fiber, another workshop on color blending and going shopping both days with friends. This will be my third year going to this fiber festival and actually the first festival I ever went to once I started spinning.
So let’s get packed up and ready to go! Here’s some more tips and suggestions:
1. Evaluating Your Stash – If you’re a new spinner (or just really disciplined in terms of acquiring stash) this probably isn’t an issue. For the rest of us, memorizing what is in our stash is more challenging. Keeping track of what I have, how much of it and in what color is done courtesy of Ravelry. Ahead of leaving for a fiber festival I got through my stash, on Ravelry and in storage, to see what I have and what I might want. For example, right now I have 4oz of a dark hand-dyed braid that really isn’t enough to do much with. So I’m looking for some black alpaca to ply with it.
2. Fiber vs. Yarn – Although I keep saying “fiber festival” its worth noting that most fiber festivals have vendors selling finished yarn as well. You are not likely to find as much in the way of name-brand commercial yarns (Cascade, Malabrigo) but instead a lot of handspun and/or handdyed fibers. So, even if you’re not a spinner there are still a lot of options at a fiber festival.
3. Setting a Budget – Now this is entirely optional but is something I personally do. There are a lot of options at a fiber festival – yarns, fleeces, dyed fiber, notions, spinning wheels and accessories, and so on. These can add up quickly and you might be tempted to spend more than you planned. So setting a budget ahead of time serves two purposes – one, I don’t spend more than I intend and two, I know how much cash to take (while some vendors do take credit cards most prefer cash, especially for smaller purchases).
4. Have a Shopping Plan – this is also optional. Some people prefer to just walk around and shop (as my friend Patty calls it – the demented butterfly approach). I prefer though to go through with a plan, as taught by another friend. We make one pass through all the vendor booths, noting items of interest and only buying if there’s something (or a colorway) that’s one-of-a-kind. After our first pass through we go back through to make purchases. Important tip: If you ever see something you absolutely love and can’t live without, don’t wait. It might be gone later.
5. What to Pack – A couple basic essentials: a shopping bag, your list and some money. I don’t take a full purse – just my glasses, cell phone and wallet. I tuck these items into my shopping bag along with the list. For a shopping bag I take one clear plastic zippered over-the-shoulder bag. Inside it I tuck a large re-usable cloth shopping bag (folded up). I have found a back pack doesn’t work well because of the tight space in some vendor booths. Also, remember to bring anything you need for your class. Lastly – I have a Ravelry button with my username that I clip onto my bag. Give me a shout if you see me!
I hope you have the opportunity at some point to attend a fiber festival and you enjoy it!