Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SAFF Report

The Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (aka SAFF) took place last weekend.  Ever throw a party for about 6,000 of your closest friends?  I have to say that I had a great time - in a number of ways.  The event was very well attended with only a few bumps in the road.  The weather was perfect; the animals were cute; the shows went off without a hitch.  Even with a smaller board of directors, our synergy worked very well. 

I shared a vendor booth with 2 other people.  I sold dyed and natural roving and washed fiber, my own hat patterns, sock yarn and felting needles.  I sold lots of other things too, but that was my bread and butter.  I also got good feedback on the dyed fiber and patterns.  I did okay - and my expectations were not terribly high.  I have never been a vendor at this large an event before.  My prices were in line with other vendors of my ilk.  I am not trying to compete with the fellow down the way who imports large quantities of fiber and close-out yarns.  I cannot compete with full service fiber shops - that's okay!  I had a small investment and for the most part I had a mix of product that people wanted at reasonable price points. I'm happy to report that even though I came home with some beautiful local alpaca-cormo roving, some killer mohair locks (both from my booth-mate) and a part for my spinning wheel, I did not go crazy with the other vendors.  While there I spun the yarn I really need to make - plain vanilla and well as a pretty dyed BFL!  I took home a lot of dyed roving, all of which will be used to stock my Etsy shop and the local yarn shops.

Next year I will do a couple of things differently. I need to write a couple of new patterns.  I think that my hats are so simple, but people kept asking for patterns for 'Skater Boy' and the 'Yet-to be-Named' hat that I have been knitting of late.  I also need to arrange my booth in a better way so that people can really see and touch the dyed fiber.  I used a very sweet pumpkin of my own design (is it possible?) to demonstrate needle felting and sell felting needles.  People wanted to buy the pumpkin and kits.  Next year - make kits.  Also I need to dye more heather roving. That sold first!  Who knew?  I was so focused on merino, that I really missed a good opportunity for needle felters and rug braiders.

SAFF has been a big deal - both in the planning and the booth prep during a very busy time at work.  As a board member, I have had a good bit of stress, though I just love the event.   I have some new things to share n the blog soon - People have made some very nice things from my fiber.  I'm happy to get back to real life

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm tired, but it all looks good!

Yesterday was set up day at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF).  No pictures yet, but my shared booth looks good.  My dyed fiber looks as good as anyone's (IMHO!).  I'm also sharing the front desk with the same person and our booth is adjacent to the front desk.  Once we got the booth set up, we put up the souveniers - lots of t shirts, a few dozen tote bags and coffee mugs.Because of my responsibilities, I didn't get all the way around the event, but everything is looking good.

The overnight task was to get all the ribbon sorted out for the various and sundry animal, fleece and skien & garment competitions and to finish tagging yarn and small items for my booth.

Now, time to get dressed and reload the car.  See you there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Trip to Washington

Twice a year, I go to Washington to meet with members of the consortium with whom I work.  I usually go up a day early - why not?  It's not like I can fly in on an early Monday morning plane and get in on time.   This time I visited a couple of cool museums - and not just the National Gallery of Art.  I did go the NGA - my favorite exhibition was a group of small German drawings.  Some were sketches for larger works, but many were just sweet and lovely works that stand on their own merit.  Portraits, landscapes, nature drawings - some simple others with a considerable narrative like this 1765 Canaletto.  Really nice.

Before I went, I heard about the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef - now on display in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum.  It was wild and fanciful - exciting to look at and explore.  One young woman was pointing out pieces that she had made.  Really nice!  Read more about how this project brings together science, math, craft and community at crochetcoralreef.org.  No pictures, as I want to respect their copyright statement. It's on tour - maybe it will be coming to your town.

My last visit was to Julia Child's Kitchen at the Museum of American History.  It was delightful - and now I know what color to paint my kitchen - a mellow blue-green.  It won't make me able to cook quite as well, but it was quite a lovely space and will fit nicely in the era of my home.

One of the best parts of travel is the time for knitting - in this case about 6 hats.  Getting ready for SAFF - Set up is TOMORROW!  Yikes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Translating Yarn to Hats

A few days ago I blogged about some green yarn that I had dyed and spun.  Although I liked it in the yarn, I'm not sure I'm crazy about it knitted up. I like the seed stitch section, but not the stockinette area.  I think that the seeming randomness of the yarn did not translate well into areas that were essentially knit flat. 

Now the orange hat (actually Smoky Mountain Fibers 'Fire' colorway) looks good in what I call the 'Skater Boy' style.  Totally in garter stitch, the purl bumps that dominate the surface are quite happy to show off their random colors.  The stripy-ness of this kind of spinning can live in harmony with a textured surface.

I like both styles.  Depending on the yarn, they can look good on men or women.  They also look good in multi-colored bulky yarns - heavy worsted or chunky. 

Both theses hats are destined to one of my local gallery shops.  That way people can try them on and see what they are taking home.  Because online shopping can be fraught with disappointment, I like people to see these in person. 

Just one week until SAFF setup!  Tonight is the board meeting and I am looking forward to the festival.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dyeing Red

The color for today is red - dyeing all shades of red - fiery red to mellow read to oranges and gold.
 Later, it was purple - pinky red and blue to make lavender.  Some with firestar; others with silk.  Some more pink; others heavier on blue.  All pretty!  Getting ready for SAFF.  Dye pots every day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A n Etsy Treasury: Rovings to Yearn For

My natural creamy roving made it into an Etsy Treasury yesterday, Rovings I Yearn For.   And all were quite... yearnable?  yearny? yearnarific?  OK really pretty - and I wanted to spin every one of them.    I did spin the creamy white last evening. It's my go-to white yarn that I make to sell in the local yarn shop and gallery and is a prime ingredient in my handspun handknit hats. And I am out of that very yarn!  I delivered 5 fresh skeins to Asheville Home Crafts a week or so back and have barely been back to the wheel.

The music and dance world has kept me quite busy lately.  After teaching an English Country Dance workshop at Feet Retreat  in late September and attending the SE Dance Leadership Conference the following weekend, I knit a few hats, but did not get much spun. Now, I love dancing to traditional music - almost as much as playing with fiber (or is it the other way around?).  So it's a tricky balance to keep all the balls in the air, particularly during my busy season at work, which is right now too.  This weekend is a return to fiber.  I'll be spinning and dyeing and knitting, oh my!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kind of Green

Actually very green - ranging from chartreuse to moss to a nice hunter green.  This is the yarn that I spun a couple of weeks ago at Moon Dance, a contradance weekend that I attended.  I hand dyed this Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL) roving and then spun it up into a slightly bulky yarn.  The fiber is very puffy and springy and I thought it might make a nice hat.

No complicated patterning intended - just a couple rows of garter stitch, then a couple inches of moss stitch, a couple more garter rows, then plain stockinette on the top.  Just the kind of simple knitting that should make the yarn stand out.  That is the plan in any case.  Sorry about the photo.  Just a quick lunch hour snapshot, proving that there is some fiber work being done around here! 

Another travel weekend - more work deadlines - not nearly enough down time.  Oh well.  I am happy to have good health and an energy level that means I thrive on having lots to do.  Gotta go!  Lots to do!