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Fiber Festivals

May 14, 2013

In a little less than a month I will be attending my very first fiber festival. I do think I am fortunate because I will be attending it already a spinner (aka more goodies to buy.) I have been scouring countless Ravelry threads, reading numerous blog posts and I think I have come up with some tips, ideas and plans for this one. What follows is pretty much what I have gleaned from others and my own personal experiences.

1.Plan ahead, in other words figure out what all  you want to see before going. (Working on it)

2. Coordinate with others who are attending. (Still need to do)

3. Set a budget for purchases (Done, for the most part)

4. Do a “lap” of the vendors before purchasing anything. (Will do)

5. When buying fibers attempt to purchase things not readily available to me (Plan to)

6. As part of 5 make up a list of fibers that I have not tried before ( easier to make a list of things I have tried)

7. Bring storage for fibers for ride home* (This might be more unique to my situation than others. One of the attendees is allergic to wool and I don’t want to her to die)

8. Only bring cash to the event, to prevent over spending (Maybe)

9.Consider buying things that strike my fancy (Possibly, I am not necessarily one to break from the list)

10. Remember that sheep will continue to make wool, dyers will continue to dye and that there will always be more

11. Meet up with other bloggers/Ravelers (Possibly, introverted that I am this one is the most intimidating)

12. Have fun.


Do you have any tips or advice for first time festival goers? Are you planning on attending any fiber festivals this year? What’s your favorite parts about the festival? Have you ever met up with other bloggers, Ravlery members?



From → Spinning

  1. doctordana permalink

    You have some excellent tips already! In addition to storage for the ride home, you might want to bring a couple of plastic grocery bags for purchases at the festival. Not all booths have things nicely packaged, or they run out of bags. I once had to put some lovely fleece in my canvas bag, which was sub-optimal. At my usual wool festival, I show up just a little before it officially opens, which allows me to get some browsing time in, and get back to the most popular places before the crowds hit. The vendors aren’t selling, but you can get a lay of the land and do much of your initial sweep of the festival before it gets crowded. (But that depends on whether you can get in early.) Also, make sure to eat food!! Last year, I made a list with a brief description of the fiber, price, and booth location in my initial sweep (for the things I didn’t buy immediately), and then it was easier to decide on the ones I really wanted and easier to find them again, too. But if you see something too wonderful to be true, chances are other folks will think so, too… Being an introvert also, I don’t meet up with strangers at fiber festivals, but I always go with another person; does that count? If you know you’re planning to go to a festival a long time in advance, consider signing up for a class, if they’re offered. They can be fun, and introduce you to something new, but the good ones sell-out early. They also make you feel slightly less introverted. 😉

    I saw a moth in my house a week after I went to a fiber festival a couple of years ago, and immediately quarantined all my stash into Ziploc bags (quite a feat!), then “treated” the newly acquired yarn with hours of black-trash-bag-alternating-freezer-and-hot-sun. I think the culprit was the yarn that fell into a million pieces when I went to knit it up. But now I keep large Ziploc bags on hand and store all my stash in plastic bags, just in case. Incidentally, that makes it slightly easier to store in a limited space, as you can squish the air out of it while in storage.

  2. Take cash only! I took my card to Rhinebeck last year and spent a little more than I planned. I find having the card as back up adds to the temptation to purchase stuff you really don’t need.

    The Rhinebeck festival is so big, it was easier for me to make a list and purchase as I go along. It was impossible to go through, view then come back. Plus depending on the crowd, you might not find the stash you left behind.

    Most important thing, have a blast.

    P.S. I’ve never done the Rav meetups at Rhinebeck; maybe this year I might.

  3. The point about insects is a good one. I put newly purchased raw fleece in the freezer for a few weeks or more in an attempt to kill wildlife if I can’t wash the fleece immediately. The freezer, if it’s not full of food, can be an useful fiber storage area too!

  4. candleowlknits permalink

    I’ve never been to a fiber fest, nor am I a spinner, but I have been in various craft-buying situations such as the one of which you speak. (That last sentence was borderline Yoda, I think…) Normally I don’t have to worry about over-spending, since I’m a full time college student with the occasional cleaning job who owes an arm and a leg to the student loan services anyway… but that doesn’t exactly advise you about fiber fests. Really I’m just thrilled that artisans have to opportunity to gather and geek out over wool. Usually it’s just me alone, dancing for joy even though the labyrinthine wool shop had video surveillance. I also find it exceedingly amusing that dyers have the singular ability to dye over and over again throughout the course of their life.

    • Excellently put. I am still new to the spinning game, and for the most part I am a solitary knitter,spinner, weaver (Introvert for the win!) I can completely understand about the student loans (hence the modest budget.) I am looking forward to seeing a variety of artists in their element (another great thing about blogging I believe.) Thanks for taking the time to reply, I had to chuckle at both the Yoda and wool shop surveillance video comments.

  5. shellssells permalink

    I’ve been going to a small and relatively close fiber festival for a number of years now. My girlfriends have been going too. There’s one vendor in particular that each of us have gotten burned by. Meaning, either purchased fiber that was quite a bit less wonderful than it looked, including things like large beetle carcasses once unwound from its ball, or even having come home with infested fiber. The last thing you want is to bring home an infestation. Thus, I’d suggest purchasing ziplock bags ahead of time and quarantining all fiber festival wool, checking it for signs of bugs in the ziplock for a couple weeks. Then allow it to be added in with your additional stash. And talk to the people who have already been to see if they can name vendors that have been problematic in the past.

    • I never considered the possibility, but glad you brought it up. I’ve been fortunate in my fiber buying up until this point, but definitely need to be aware.

  6. Bring a little notepad with you to write down the things you see that you really like but decide not to buy that day. Alternatively, pick up note cards or brochures from those vendors and write notes on them. Then if you get home and decide you really must have that purple silk roving, you can remember which vendor had it. (As opposed to my method, which is usually polling my friends and hoping someone else has a better memory. Luckily several of them do).

    Taking storage is actually a great idea and one I sometimes overlook to my own detriment. I once had to buy a second suitcase to get home from Oregon Flock and Fiber. Luckily I needed a new suitcase anyway so it wasn’t a hardship but it did drive up the cost of the trip.

    Also, wear comfortable shoes and either take lunch and a water bottle or enough cash to buy lunch and bottled water while you are there. I always surprise myself by how tired my feet are even after a relatively small fiber festival since I always make two laps through the sales floor – once to scope things out and the second to buy.

Care to share? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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