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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2017

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a three new classes!

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I taught three classes, all new.  Of the three, I think the knitted wire bracelet with beads was my favorite.  Both students finished their bracelets in class.

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I also taught a class on making stitch markers and another on beginner cables. It is so fun to teach something that results in an items the students can take home.  The same classes will be offered June 2 and 3 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.

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After the classes on Friday I went to dinner with some friends where hijinx ensued.  One friend had dropped a skein while winding it (sans skeinwinder) and a mess bloomed.  While we waited for our meal we tried to help her untangle across the table.  No beverages were harmed in the process.

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Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and some new.

The Yarn and Fiber:

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Working left to right (then the bottom)

  • The green yarn is 8oz of DK weight alpaca/merino/silk from Briar Rose Fibers
  • The blue/purple fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • The rainbow yarn is the colorway Mr. Roy G. Biv on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns
  • The red yarn is the colorway Heart’s Blood on the Slightly Silky (merino/silk fingering weight) from Copper Centaur Studios
  • The fiber at the bottom is 100% nylon from Hello Purl

Notions and Accessories:

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  • The canvas and fiber is a mini rug hooking kit from Breezy Manor (aka Donna Jo Copeland aka where I got Winston).  I’ve always been intrigued but a large project is a little overwhelming.  So I got the little kit.  It will have a bunny on it and Donna Jo gave me some white fiber so I can make a white bunny like Winston.
  • The two “pouches” in the upper left of the photo are yarn keepers.  You put your yarn ball in (the bottom opens up square) and close the snap.  I’m hoping it’ll protect my yarn when it invariably hits the floor.  These two are from The Felted Garden (on Etsy as thefeltedgarden).
  • The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year.  I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate.  This year I got two scents – lavender rosemary and oatmeal.
  • The pouch in the lower left is a yarn keep from a different booth.  I like this one a lot because the fabric is heavier and it has a d ring on the side.  It has strings to cinch close but I might replace those with the little plastic stoppers you squeeze.  These are made by DC Bags and she will be be opening a shop May 1 on Etsy.  She also has a lot of nice wedge project bags.
  • The white stick on the left side it a goat milk lotion bar in the lavender scent.  The maker is Gentle Meadow Goat Farm but it was sold by Midwest Fiber.  They had a lot of nice alpaca yarns and fibers as well.
  • The tubes on the top are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I got chocolate cherry and strawberry vanilla although there were many more options.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.
  • The odd looking contraption on the right is a ball holder.  You put the base of the V up the center off your yarn cake and the ring on your wrist/forearm so you can carry your yarn.  Usually I can clip a project bag to a belt loop but that doesn’t work for my skirt.  Hopefully this will! I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • Last but not listed I found a stemless wine glass from knitbaahpurl, sold via a different vendor’s booth.  I got the one that says “Three Sheeps to the Wind” (which I have on a t-shirt already) and may order another that says “Sheep Faced.”

That’s all folks!

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2016

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a couple new classes!

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I had five students across three classes.  All very lovely and smart and engaging which makes for a wonderful experience.   I switched the raw fleece activity to allowing students to look at the samples in the bags to identify, rather than just feeling.  Still pretty challenging.  The beading class may be my current favorite.  It is so fun to not only teach a skill but to see the opportunities it opens up for modding existing non-bead patterns.  And I didn’t drop a single bead on the floor. And, I had everything I needed! The same classes will be offered June 3 and 4 at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Class fee is $35 if you sign up by May 15th and you can see class descriptions here.

I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning so Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  There were a lot of changes to vendors this year and with my old favorite gone (miss you Fiber Optic) I focused on discovering new to me dyers.

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My only Friday afternoon stop was at Bur Oak Studio for these flattened knitting needle bracelets.  I’d seen them online but given my itsy-bitsy wrists I needed some help with resizing.  Jen helped me adjust the size of the bracelets and I bought three.  Fun to wear and I love “upcycling.”

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I kept to buying only one bag, which was hard.  This Harry Potter print of this bag by Supernatural Yarns captured my attention (she has more bags on her linked Etsy site). The funny part of this was who I bought it from.  I saw the name of the vendor, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, and recognized the name, but knew I didn’t know it from prior years at the event.  I knew it wasn’t local to me either.  Then it dawned on me – it’s one of the local yarn shops back in Columbia, Missouri where I used to live. Doh! I talked with the owners, who recently bought the shop back from a prior owner and am excited to see the changes.  They had some hand dyed yarns from Missouri/Kansas based indies, as well as other fiber tools.  I’m going back home to Missouri in June so I’m hoping to stop by there.

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One of my first booths to visit on Saturday was Copper Centaur Studios, which is where I bought the yarn last year for my newly released Grace Fryer Shawl.  I was excited to show Lucy the shawl and after they took pictures of the shawl actually displayed it for the rest of the afternoon, which was lovely.  I knew from last year they carried fine thread and was able to pick some up to use for plying with beads in my spinning.  The thread is on the black cones in the top picture.

Moving on to yarn.  IceMelon’s Stash is a new to me indie dyer from Michigan.  You can check out her Etsy site here. I bought two different sock yarns, one of which I plan to use for a cowl.  That one is the colorway Darkle (blues, purples and gray) on the Oculus Sock base, a merino/cashmere/nylon base. The second one, which I think I might use for socks, is Vellamo, bright blues and greens, on her Alrisha base, merino/nylon/stellina. Yes ya’ll, I bought sparkle yarn.

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Not so new to me because they’ve been at Stitches before was Leading Men Fiber Arts.  Squishy stuff, ya’ll, and a lot of different colors.  I bought one skein which they are custom dyeing for me so it can be on a fingering weight merino base.  The color is OMG Squee and is pretty much the whole rainbow.  I also got the below skein of laceweight in the colorway Eternal Kiss.  It’s an 80/20 silk blend that feels amazing.

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Lastly, I bought some lace weight from A Good Yarn, which is a local dyer just south of Indianapolis.  I actually won the purple skein at the event’s get together Friday night and wanted to get some more in a complimentary color.  While she’s not new to me as a dyer this is a new base and is a lovely 80/20 merino/silk blend.  Apparently I had a thing for laceweight merino/silk blends – must be the weather.

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That’s all folks!

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2015

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as my first class!
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I had four people signed up for my class and three show.  I don’t want to give out in spoilers but I learned a few things.  Identifying fibers is challenging, I dislike yelling over heaters and I need to allow more time for the activity.  But, I had everything I needed!

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Shopping commenced right after teaching and lunch, of course.  I did most of my shopping Friday afternoon and ran into a lot of friends.What did I buy? Gray angora, undyed merino, undyed silk (all for blending), dyed black alpaca/silk from Spotted Circus and dyed alpaca from Fiber Optic and a card-it up kit from Hello Purl.

By the time I got home Friday I was *worn out*.  My family arrived that evening and Saturday morning I took them to the fiber festival – their first ever.  Chris was delighted to learn he could just about everything and his favorite question quickly became “what kind animal is this?”.  You’ve got to admit he has good taste – camel and silk.

My parents bought me this cute knitting tote from The Felted Garden.

003I bought my mom this bracelet as an early Mother’s day gift from Bur Oak Studio.
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The Wool Gathering Show Goodies

AllWow.  This show is now crazy big.  Obviously not Rhinebeck big but probably the size of The Fiber Event in Greencastle.  It’s called The Wool Gathering and near Yellow Springs, Ohio.  The show is only Saturday and Sunday and there are no classes due to space limitations. It is on the grounds of a dairy farm and vendors are set up under tents.

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I went with three friends and we got there right about the time it opened.  Man was it crowded already!  We shopped, then shopped some more and then shopped even more.  I had a couple items I was on the hunt for but otherwise I want to buy some “unique” fibers and/or blends to try.  Mostly that ended up being yak.

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The non-fibery stuff (#1):

  • Eucalan in Wrapture scent – what I used for washing handspun and finished knitted pieces.  Not exactly exciting but this is my favorite scent.
  • Lotions from Amazing Grace Farms – I love this stuff.  It is by far my favorite lotion.  No dyes and its very hypoallergenic.  The proceeds go to support her animal rescue, which makes it all the better.  Please check out her website and consider ordering.  The peppermint and lavender are my two favorites.
  • The candle melts aren’t actually from the Fiber Festival – we stopped at a huge candle store on the way home.

On to the fibery stuff:

  • (#2) Fiber Optic Merino/Silk Gradient Top in Onxy-Crimson
  • (#3) Fiber Optic Merino/Silk Gradient Top in Black-Red-Yellow – this is to try some fractal spinning
  • (#4) Fiber Optic Foot Notes Paintbox in Blackbird Gradient
  • (#5) Abstract Fiber Yak/Silk blend in the color Alfalfa – normally I’m not a big Abstract Fiber fan but I loved this colorway, especially out in the sunlight.
  • (#6) 100% natural yak down roving from Lucky Cat Craft.  She always has the most unique and unusual fibers.  I can’t wait to try this!
  • (#7) 100% Eri silk roving also from Lucky Cat Craft. So soft and luxurious – this will be my first time spinning 100% silk.
  • (#8) Last but not least – something from a dyer whose work I’ve admired but never tried – Happy Fuzzy Yarns. The fiber is 50% merino, 50% yak in the colorway Mostly Water.

 

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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival

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Yesterday I went to Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in Franklin, Indiana.  There weren’t any classes I was interested in so I just went for the shopping.  My friend Heather came with and we met up with our friend Erica who had a booth there.  They had some super cute sheep there and a couple alpaca.

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The day got off to a good start when I found the above drum carder for $50.  I’ve been thinking about getting one like the one I borrow from my friend Patty but hadn’t made the (large) financial commitment.  So I was excited to find this one. No markings on it so it may be homemade.  The carding cloth is fine or extra fine (perfect!) and the teeth are in good condition.  The large drum is small compared to the Fancy Kitty but the licker in is actually larger than the licker in on the Kitty. The size ratio between the big and little drum is just odd.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance this weekend to see how it works.

I did not get a ton of prepped fiber.  The gray bag on the drum carder is some alpaca that is super soft. The colorful set of fibers are from LunabudKnits. The major item on my shopping list was some purple to go along with the class batts from April I recently spun up.  I ended up with two different shades of purple – the bright one is for my blue batt and the darker one is for the orange/purple/gray/yellow batt.  The remaining colors (one ounce each) are just for blending on the drum carder.

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Two more fleeces.  One is an alpaca fleece from an alpaca whose blanket I bought in a prior year.  The alpaca owner has sold most of her herd so I was soooo excited to find one of her’s (and it was on sale).  I also got a small cormo cross fleece.  I have no illusions that cleaning this thing will be a pain.  After talking with the seller I may try the suint method.  She said she’s been using it for all her fleeces and has worked well.

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Everything else was just for fun.  A yarn bowl I found for $15 that will work with larger balls of yarn and a jar of amazing salsa. The seller had samples available and they were pretty amazing. One small thing of lotion to try and then two bars of soap from one of my favorite sellers, Simple Soapworks.  I buy a couple bars anytime they’re at a show for two reasons.  One, the bars have a very saturated scent.  Not overpowering but you can smell their booth from half a building away.  Second, they have a lot of bars with oatmeal in them.  The oatmeal acts as an exfoliant and your skin feels great.

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That’s it! No more fiber festivals til the fall so plenty of time to get these fleeces washed up!

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2014

After two posts of providing suggestions on attending a fiber festival I’m ready to put them to work.  As I mentioned, I went to The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana (at the Putnam County Fairgrounds) over the weekend.   Great shopping and awesome classes.  And a three day old Shetland lamb.

Shetland Lamb

I took two classes –  one Friday morning (with my friend Rachel) and another Saturday afternoon (with my friend Patty).  The Friday class was with Melissa of Hello Purl on fiber blending. We went through blending different fibers on a drum carder, blending board and a hackle and then spent the remainder of the time playing with the tools.  I learned a lot of tips for the drum carder and there were a lot of different fibers to play with (wool, angelina, faux cashmere, silk thrums, silk noil, bamboo and more).  The Saturday class was on color blending and we made a color wheel out of dyed fibers.  Then we identified the colors in the pictures we brought and discussed how to represent them in our fiber.  I had two photos and plan to create batts based on both. The following are my sample class batts.

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My shopping list included black alpaca, merino or cormo fiber, undyed silk top, Fiber Optic *anything* and any soaps/lotions/jewelry.  I stayed within my budget and found most of what I was looking for.

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So here’s what I got:

  • Three alpaca fleeces – a black one and two small ones (gray and fawn)
  • The remainder of a small Cormo/Border fleece.  Only a pound and a half – more for Patty and I to play with and figure out the best way to get clean.
  • Some Cormo roving for blending and 4oz of cormo/angora roving to go with 4oz I already have.
  • Natural alpaca roving, undyed merino, purple merino and black merino all from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers.
  • 4oz of anogra to practice blending with the alpaca.
  • Two bars of natural soap.
  • A Card It Up kit from Hello Purl.  Plenty of different fibers in coordinating colors.
  • Flickr brush for opening tips, especially on suri alpaca.
  • Small amounts of bamboo, angelina and silk for blending on the drum carder.
  • A Fiber Optic paintbox gradient and a skein of black for a Spectra shawl.
  • Three skeins of Fiber Optic Foot Notes for a Color Affection

Everything is entered in Ravelry, put away with the rest of the stash and ready to be used.  The fleeces are hanging out in the garage for a while until I can get them washed.  I had a great time both days and am glad I took both classes. Next fiber event (maybe) is Hoosier Hills in early June!

 

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Packing up for the Fiber Festival

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.

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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!

Everything I Bought

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Preparing for a Fiber Festival

It’s properly Spring which means one thing for fiber artists – fiber festivals!  I’ve provided a couple tips and suggestions for attending and getting the most out of a fiber festival.  In the two and a half years I’ve been spinning I’ve been to about six festivals (excluding Stitches one year since that’s not really a “fiber” event).

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1. Finding a Fiber Festival – If you belong to a spinning group or guild, this is probably the best way to learn about local-ish fiber events, including specifics about the events (best day to go, classes, etc.).  If you belong to a regional or state group on Ravelry (i.e. Indianapolis Handspinners) they will also frequently post about area festivals.  Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to search on Ravelry or even just Google.  Keep in mind “local” may be relative.  We are lucky here in central Indiana to have two area fiber festivals (each is about an hour from my house). However, I have driven anywhere from 2-3 hours from home to go to festivals.  If you can get a group together to go, all the better.

2. Do Some Homework – Before making too many decisions, find a website for the fiber festivals.  Most festivals have one with hours, directions, workshop schedules, competitions and lists of vendors.  This will give you some idea of the size of the festival and how much time you might want to spend there.

3. Sign Up for a Workshop – if the festival is of a decent size I can’t recommend enough that you take a class.  The past two years I’ve taken one class a year, this year I will likely take two.  This is a great opportunity to learn a new fiber prep, a new drafting technique or even a more advanced skill.  I find it is even beneficial just to hear someone else’s viewpoint on how to do something.

4. Take Care of Travel Plans and Reservations – Go ahead and register for any classes or workshops, book a hotel room if you need to and make any other needed arrangements.  Fiber festivals tend to be in remote areas and therefore lodging options are limited.  At well known events the classes fill up quickly.

I’ll talk more later about some suggestions of things to do shortly before you leave for the fiber festival, including evaluating your stash, setting a budget and what to pack.

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