Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fibres West

So I went to the small local wool show, Fibres West, yesterday. My feelings about it are mixed. On one hand, it is nice to go to something like this and see different yarns from small vendors that I don't normally get a chance to check out. On the other hand, it really sucks paying $7.50 admission charge to get into basically a retail mall for knitters and spinners. Unfortunately, there were limited things to do there other than buy animals to pet, no music or demos, limited food (coffee, muffins and sandwiches) and only 20 or so vendors. There were some classes and lectures, but you had to sign up for them in advance and I'm just not that organized. It would have been nice if it was more of a fair-like environment with stuff for the whole family to see but I'm guessing the organizers have a different vision of how it should be. As well, I just don't think that there is a huge market, locally, for fiber craft supplies.

All that being said, of course I bought some goodies! At these sorts of things I try to stay away from commercial yarns and stick to the small, local indie dyers that basically work all year to have enough stock for this kind of small show. I really believe that the little guys really need and deserve support in order to keep doing what they are doing. I think of it more as supporting the arts rather than supporting my yarn habit, lol.

First up is some luxury yarns dyed by a local girl, Melissa, from Yarn Candy-Sweet Fiber. I had a hard time deciding what to choose but I settled on a skein of silk/cashmere fingering in oranges and a skein of silk/merino fingering in purples. Both have enough yardage to make a small shawl and the colours are very rich and deep.

Then I went over to Unwind Yarns and picked up a couple of hand-dyed sock yarns in a superwash wool/nylon blend. Again the yardage on these skeins is really good (450 yards) and she had a really nice range of colours and several different base yarns to choose from. K. actually chose the orange/green blend for himself!

There were a couple of other hand-dyed yarn vendors that I checked out as well, but didn't buy anything. Felicia at Sweet Georgia Yarns was very friendly and helpful. She has many different base yarns in a wide variety of vibrant colourways. Unfortunately, she didn't have the colour that K. wanted in the base he wanted but she assured us that she could easily dye it for us if we wanted to order off her website. So we will most likely do that in the near future. Indigo Moon was another really great vendor with an absolutely gorgeous collection of yarns to fondle. Deep saturated colours on plump, squishy yarns. But, alas, their prices were a bit too stiff for me at this time so I passed after wistfully fondling many skeins.

And then came the exception to the rule when I was walking around admiring all the yarns on offer at Knitopia's booth. Knitopia is a local commercial yarn shop but the owner, Lynne, also sells her own hand-dyed yarns at the shows. Lynne is a mostly a nice helpful person but sometimes she comes off as odd and unfriendly. When I was visiting her booth she suddenly grabbed my arm and said, out of the blue, "Oh, I have something for you!", then she reached under a table, hauled out a bag of yarn, thrust it into my arms and said "Here. But you have to buy the whole bag." I looked into the bag and saw it was full of Tahki Donegal Tweed in a deep burgundy. Now I know this is expensive yarn (I've been coveting it for a long time) and there were 10 skeins in the bag. So, ready to hand it right back, I asked her "How much?". "Oh" she says offhandedly "$5 per skein". At this point I almost peed myself and my voice dropped down to a whisper (just in case any nearbye knitters were listening in) and I asked if she had any more. Unfortunately the answer was no, that she was just getting rid of the last of her stock. Well, I held that bag in a death grip until it was safely paid for then chuckled my way all the way out to the car. I'm still giggling to myself over it, actually. Every once in a while you come across an awesome score that is almost too good to be true and it becomes a favorite story to tell to anyone that will listen. I think I'll keep this one going for a while, lol.

And so ends my fibrefest adventures. There are rumors of a different, competing show in the fall so we'll see what comes of that. If anyone is reading this, please check out the links to the small dyers I put in above. These artisans need all the business they can get in order to keep doing what they love!

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