Saturday, September 20, 2014

I went to a fiber festival (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Sky Loom Weavers donated fiber to the event totes. They are beautiful people!  This is alpaca!
I went to the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza yesterday.  I took off a few hours from work and drove to Hot Springs, Florence and the Machine blasting loud enough to shake my windows. I wandered around the vendor hall, clutching my chest before I bought anything.

But then I bought things. 

From the sale bin of Daizie Knits. They were nice!
 I used cash.  Um, until I ran out.  And then I used debit.

Why yes, there is a yarn outfit named Magic and Moonshine.  I obviously bought magic yarn.
 One of the most exciting things I bought was this:

That's a drop spindle kit from Twisted Purl.  Since I pre-registered, I had a goodie bag with some fleece in it.  Rather than give it to one of my spinning friends, I decided to get a spindle.  Most of the basic, regular ol' spindles were $10.  So why not buy a starter kit with a whopping 2 oz. of wool to go with it for just $5 more?!

I tried it out a little as soon as I got home and it went terrible.  Just awful.  I can't wait to watch more video tutorials and practice some more!  I've been watching people in my knitting group struggle and muck around with this for months and it looks like a lot of fun.

The vendors weren't just selling yarn and fiber, though!  There were stitch markers and project bags and t-shirts.  I bought these finger puppets for Evelyn.   She loved them.

I also bought this little mini-skein of yarn because I might make some socks for Boris.  Evelyn loves dressing up that bear (even though we keep telling her "He's a bear! He wears a fur coat!"), and I think she'd be tickled with some socks for her bear.

From Must Stash Yarns. I wish some of these baby skeins had sparkles.  Because she had sparkle yarn! It was lovely.
 I also bought this skein of yarn because it looks like enough to make the two of us some matching beanies.  They're going to be pretty short and simple, but I love this yarn.  It's so dadgummed fall-ish and I want us to have matching hats. 

From The Hen House. I was taking pictures of their yarn, and then someone gently informed me that they didn't allow that and then I was too timid to take any more pictures of anyone's yarn in the vendor's hall!
 But the best part of the evening was when my knitting friends came out of their classes and basically bossed me into grabbing dinner with them and listening to the keynote speaker. 

*It's not that I needed Cody's permission to go out and spend money and feel joy and see my friends, but I did feel like I should head home even though Cody was like "Hey, have fun. Let me know when you're on your way back." But the knitters 'made' me eat Mexican food, and then we sat and knitted and listened to the Yarn Harlot talk about knitting.

She's a fantastic storyteller.   She's funny and smart and talented and made the act of sitting there knitting with my friends and having a fantastic time at a fiber arts festival feel so very legitimate. 

I don't mean like as in, some people make money doing this.  Although some people do and they're serious business people and incredibly talented at their craft.  I mean like as in, this is not nearly as silly as golf.  It's not just for grandmas and it never has been.  It's a fantastic skill, all by itself, and it doesn't need a rebranding for people to love it.  You can do it however you want, in whatever way you want, and you absolutely should never downplay it.  Lately, I've tried to notice whenever I feel like I should dismiss some work that I did by pointing out the flaws or fudging on the number of hours I spent making something.  And then I try to shut that whole thing down.  

I'm lucky to have a very appreciative spouse and family, who are always incredibly nice and supportive about everything I make.  And I'm also lucky to be in a knitting group where we freely admit to one another and the strangers who pass by our table and ask us about our projects HOW MUCH TIME AND EFFORT goes into some of our projects.  But even then! Even! Then!  I still try to normalize knitting in a way that really freaking downplays how difficult it can be for me to understand a pattern, find time to work on it, and finish something up on a deadline and in the color you want.  And that's dumb. 

I don't want to be dumb.  I'm brilliant.  I can tackle any project I want.  I can do fantastic things!  I can complain about how I am incompetent at drop spindle spinning because I've only had about 20 minutes of practice!  It's fine!  It's great even! 

I kind of lost where I was going with that rant, so whatever.  Here's what I knitted during the talk.

It's another Tomten jacket for Evelyn.  She's outgrowing the one I made for her two years ago.  I picked out blue for her and Ellis, and she picked out the green for the border.  (It was that, or yellow.)  It's coming along nicely and I love all this garter stitch and simple construction.  I got probably a little over 2" done during the speech, when I wasn't laughing so hard that I had to wipe tears off my face.  I cry a lot when I laugh.  It's fine.

This was like a really good knight night, multiplied by 100 and with a lot more spending.  I loved it.  It was so very needed, and incredibly great.  Oh hey, here's another picture of yarn.

I don't know what I'm going to do with this really lightweight yarn from Knitting Rose Yarns. I don't care. It was on sale. It's beautiful. It lives with me now.  Everything is awesome.