Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the festival

I had a wonderful dream. There was yarn and knitting as far as the eye could see, so much that you couldn't even begin to knit it with regular needles--you had to use huge ones.

And the yarn was everywhere, and the yarn was good.

People banded together to help their neighbors. Peace, harmony, and warmth were created.

And on top of all that, there were bunnies.

Seriously, the festival totally rocked. This was my second time at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, and my first time as a vendor. I've been to other festivals, and this one seems to be unique in its fabulous atmosphere and perfect size. Everyone is super friendly at most fiber things, but they kick it up a notch at this one, and there are enough vendors to create an ecstatic sensory overload but not so many you end up dizzy from it. I know they had great classes, too, although of course I didn't have time for that this year. Overall the experience was shiny, like spinning straw into gold. I will be back next year for sure.

Vending at a festival is kind of a strange experience for me. I'm very much an introvert, and talking to people and being friendly takes a lot out of me, but it's a huge rush, too. It's almost a contradiction. And fiber festivals are unlike my daily life in that I can go on and on about yarn, and people are actually interested! It's a blast. Also, just spending the whole day surrounded by my favorite colors and textures instead of my beige office walls and computer was a huge treat. On top of all that, I got to teach a little bit! I was a college professor for a while, and I thought that completely burned me out on teaching, but what it actually burned me out on was excuses, whining, grading, and the like. A few people wanted to learn to spin on a drop spindle, and I gave mini-lessons on that in my booth (totally unplanned and unexpected), and it was such a blast! I'm considering proposing a beginning spinning class next year. I really didn't think much of anybody would be interested in spinning at this show--I brought the spinning fiber almost as a decoration. It's pretty, the merino/tencel stuff is shiny, it draws people in. But it ended up that there was no room for my spinning wheel in the booth, and I needed something to keep my hands busy and start conversations, so I decided to break out the drop spindle. I hadn't tried to spin on anything but my wheel in about ten months, and even the wheel has been sitting idle since before Christmas, so it felt extremely awkward to me, but people flocked over and asked questions and bought every drop spindle I had. I sold the one I was using right out from under my yarn! What an unexpected delight! For me, learning to spin was the last thing that pushed me from liking yarn and wanting to do more with it to loving yarn and doing more with it and starting the business, so to share that with other people is a huge treat.

All things must end, even good things. When it was time to go, this Alabama girl was concerned about one thing in particular.

Gah! Snow! Van! Pittsburgh! Deep breaths into a paper bag...
Actually, I think I'm still a pretty decent snow driver from my time in lake effect country, and I do have brand new tires on the van at least, but I was still exceptionally unhappy about this. I felt betrayed, like somehow by moving to Alabama I was exempt from experiencing snow. As it turned out, I kind of am. It stopped before I was ready to start driving, and nothing stuck on the roads. Phew! It was a long enough drive, no need to make it longer with bad weather.

Now I'm home at last, and it's all over but the unpacking. Well, that and figuring out what festival to do next! I'm hooked!


jennifer said...

It sounds like you had a blast. Thank you so much for sharing and for showing how you set up your booth. I get so many ideas that way!

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Congrats on your trip. Sounds like you had lots of fun. BTW what size are those needles. I've seen 50s before but those looked even larger.

Sarah said...

Glad you had a safe trip. It sounds like it was a fun and interesting adventure.

Cara said...

Thanks, everybody! Phyllis, the needles are size 50s, big long ones. They're from Bagsmith. It looked like it would be really laborious and awkward to knit with them, but it really wasn't at all. At was a lot of fun.