westward ho!

August 23, 2012

i’m kind of sick.
i’m that kind of sick where spending the day in bed isn’t a choice.
i’m that kind of sick where my body feels the need to be entirely empty.
i’m that kind of sick where i hope mo will just pee on the floor so i won’t have to get out of bed to take him outside.

but for you, blog,
i’ll crawl all the way to the next room
to get my power cord out of my bag
to recall a happier time
just last sunday.

though i’ve been enjoy my summer hermitage,
i discovered lynae and adrienne,
dear friends of the knot hysteria variety,
were coming to my state for the michigan fiber festival.
lynae undertook quite a twitter campaign to ensure my presence.
and if she and drin could come from chicago,
i could make the trip from lansing.

i’m thoroughly unfamiliar with this side of the state
and my initial impressions reminded me a lot of my childhood;
allegan is similar to the small towns i used to frequent as a michigosling:

almont
armada
berville
capac
imaly city

though allegan seems to have held up better.
it felt like time passed a little bit slower there
and has been a lot kinder than in towns of my youth.
once i got over the initial uncanny nostalgia,
i felt right at home at a country fairgrounds
especially at a fiber festival.

the michigan fiber festival is what i’d call a diamond in the rough.
the fairgrounds are perfect for a really large festival,
something comparable in size to rhinebeck, honestly,
but it’s much, much smaller and lower key.
add that to the fact that i arrived at church time
and i got to enjoy the fairgrounds without the stress of the crowds.

perhaps that’s what’s reflected in these photos.
i didn’t feel the need to ‘just document everything’
and sort it all out later as i normally do.
instead, i took a more leisurely approach.
this is what i saw.

wait!

before i continue,
i have to preface this by saying most of these photos were illegally obtained. the man on the loud speaker announced that everything in the booths was proprietary and photography was forbidden. that little admonishment came right before the one telling parents not to let children maul the yarn with their sticky hands. (needless to say, being put in the same category as a child with chocolate-covered digits miffed me to no end) so this is just to warn you that, if you enjoy these photos, you may be aiding (and abetting?) in a crime after the fact. i just feel it’s my responsibility to warn you. and if any vendor sees a photo of her booth and takes issue with it, i’ll be happy to remove your free publicity.

first up
i need this sweater in my life.
it’s sticks and stones by ann hanson knit with briar rose glory days
(as the tag clearly indicates)

briar rose definitely has one of the best booths, aesthetically.
it has a great mix of organization and planned carelessness
(read overflowing baskets of yarn here and there)
i’ve never had the chance to actually look at her stuff
since normally there’s a mob in the booth at rhinebeck.
overall i was drawn to her color aesthetic,
and she has some really nice bases,
but nothing needed to come home with me.
still, it wouldn’t have hurt to throw a ‘hello’ my way
as one of only two people in the booth at the time.
just sayin’. can’t hurt to be friendly.
(don’t worry. you weren’t alone. i wasn’t greeted at most of the booths)

then i saw this old familiar signthis bitch is at every festival.
i swear she must live for these shows. honestly, i loved that she was there. she’s like 10 feet tall and looks exactly like storybook spinner. i totally observe her every time i see her. she has this potent energy that just exudes ‘fiber festival’. someday, i’ll work up the courage to kinnear her, not just her sign. though part of me believes she’s a witch. i’m not sure camera’s will work on her. (her name’s even morgaine for christ’s sake! i’m just sayin’. don’t spill water on her, just in case)

then i yearned for boat shuttles.
the weaving goddess lisa kobeck told me using a boat shuttle will improve my selvedges, so i’ve been in the market for one for a bit.
(she also says buying a floor loom will help, but i need to be realistic)
i knew i wanted something handmade and fancy looking like these guys,
but they were just a bit too pricey for me.
i often forget my taste far exceeds my budget.
i think this display was part of the kessinich loom booth,
but i might be wrong.

i strolled the ‘midway’
(just noticed that little dude in the corner popping his hip. work!)

listened to some real country tunes as i passed the carousel corral

stopped in on miss babs
(if you like that shawl drin’s wearing, go here. she designed it)

miss babs is another one of those booths that’s generally mobbed
so it was nice to be able to take my time and really see her yarn.
again, i left without buying any yarn
(a testament to either my will or my poverty)
but did return for some fiber i just couldn’t pass up.
funny how the only thing i bought was from the place where someone actually said hi to me. it wasn’t the most enthusiastic welcome, but it was nice to have my presence acknowledged.
(these are presents so it doesn’t really count as buying anything right?)

there was this dress
about which i have no information because i was unprepared and had no notebook. i vaguely recall overhearing the pattern is forthcoming in knitty, but that could be total lies. i did give her my card so if she sees this, hopefully she’ll leave a comment and i’ll update the info.
(outtake: i even accidentally kinneared the dress. it needs to be seen!)

there was also this sweater
about which i also have no information
(so i was off my game a little)
again, i gave her my card.
hopefully she sees this.

i saw this coyote
(he looks like he knows, ya know?)

and these foxes
(zing!) i took their photo for my fiber festival friend in absentia, andrea,
who has ‘a thing’ for the farm boys at these fiber events.
thus far, she hasn’t gone home with one.
(that i know of)

then i suddenly found myself right in front of the parade of sheep
in costumes no less.

this girl and her sheep are obviously the best in show.
diy sun costume + diy solar system on your black sheep (space!) = ?
genius.

but i’ve forgotten the best part!
a giant fucking rooster at the entrance!
i take this as a sign tina will one day come with me.
the chicken/rooster is, after all, her totem.

(we visited your yarn at the fold booth, tina!)
all in all a lovely day.

p.s. thanks for being my sugar momma, lynae,
when there was no atm to be found.
p.p.s while i began this post last night, at one point, i just couldn’t go on. i finished it this afternoon. i’m feeling better, but i’m still afraid to eat.

mdsw preview

May 7, 2011

i’m still a little weak,
and my knitting mojo is m.i.a.
but this weekend, i’m shedding my invalid shell,
and heading out into the world for real real.

that’s right bitches.
this shut-in is at the maryland sheep and wool festival.i packed light. i’m very proud.

i’m traveling with my fibery pal, andrea,
yarn rep and all around hilarious lady.
we had so much fun together at rhinebeck,
that is only made sense to come to maryland together.

the best part about this particular trip
is the fact that andrea is working the festival.
this meant i got to go in today with the rest of the vendors,
and have a peek around before anyone else.
jealous?

while she was setting up,
i took a stroll around the fairgrounds.
i remember last year was so hot and awful,
i never got a good look at the different sheepsees.
so i made a point, with so few people around,
to take in some of their epic wooly cuteness.

there were sleepy sheeps

horny sheeps

devil sheeps

regal sheeps

ghost sheeps

and a whole lot of naked sheepses.

i also previewed all the vendors booths (jealous?)
here are my notes on some of my faves.

the fold needs no introduction. it is where the epic line begins to get your hands on the highly coveted socks that rock. while i too get hard for the socks that rock, i go to the fold for fiber optic yarns and fiber. there’s just something extra special about fiber optic’s stuff. i am drawn to them, their fiber especially. they have a quality.

miss babs was a mob scene last year, and rightly so. their yarn was wicked awesome. this year, peering into their clean looking booth, i didn’t feel the same pull. i’m sure when i see the hordes shoving each other to get the last skein of a given color, i’ll feel it again. and then cut a bitch for the skein.

seeing harriet of autumn house farm brought a smile to my heart. i remember last year, seeing her swamped, sweat pouring off her forehead, a booth full of hot, cranky customers. that woman held it together with a degree of poise i’ll never have. and i challenge anyone to display and communicate the level of passion that woman has for the fiber arts. she’s on another level that one.
and her setup is kick ass, too

spirit trail fiber works has some of the most beautiful yarn, both in color and base, that i have ever seen. but honestly, their booth is a straight up mess. it’s far to cramped. with no one else there, i don’t think i could have fit in their booth. buy their yarn, but be prepared for some claustrophobia (and to throw some elbows).

oh jennie the potter. i’ve tried for a year now, both at maryland and rhinebeck, to get my hands on one of your yarn bowls. today, i saw a variety sitting there in all their glory. one will be mine tomorrow. or else.

and finally, the sanguine gryphon. a late addition to the festival. you will be my first stop. not only because i must have more bugga!, but because i must flirt with the ginger bear(d) i saw helping you set up. seriously ladies. he’s wicked cute. nice touch.

there is another vendor i want to talk about,
a vendor that i met for the first time,
and i left pleasantly surprised.
i’m not really one for needle cases, mostly because they’re either too soft to hold up/protect my needles, or are just straight up poorly made. however! the cases and bags at the crippen works booth are both unique in look, but unique in the fact that they look like they could hold up to the type of abuse we knitters put our notions through.go there. say hi to katharyn.
buy some needle cases.
tell her i sent you.

it won’t get you a discount or anything.
i just told her i’d blog her.

it was sort of surreal, being back here. i can’t believe it’s been a year already. last year at maryland was my first fiber festival, and even through the extreme heat and otherworldly sunburn, i had an amazing time. coming back a year later and under such different conditions . . . it’s an uncanny feeling. everything is so familiar. i remember where everything is, even when vendors are in a different place. and yet, you can feel the passage of time in the place. it’s like seeing someone you haven’t in a while, and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s changed.

all i know is i’ve met an old friend again.
and i can’t wait to spend two more days with her.

see you tomorrow bitches!
look for the guy in the stolen/borrowed/gifted sunglasses

do you think it’ll be warm enough for shorts?

i hope so!

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