Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My First Fiber Festival!

Two or three months ago, while in Billings, Montana for the weekend, I stopped at a local yarn shop and picked up some yarn (project still half finished). I also saw a flyer for a fiber festival at Copper K Ranch in July.  Upon further investigation I am now enrolled in a drop spindle class.

Which leads to the next part...

I am obsessed with going to all the Montana Fiber Festivals I can this year!

I had been to Hamilton back in 2013 for a quilt show at the Daly Mansion - probably my favorite quilt show to date.

But this was Texter's first trip to this area and she and Lady K were along for the ride.

We were in and out of rain showers for most of the trip, especially once we got closer to Hamilton. Set in the Bitterroot Valley, it's one of the prettiest places in Montana I have been to so far. Mountains on both sides, I could have pulled up a chair and watched the clouds go in and out of the peaks all day. Knitting, of course!

I had a couple of goals for the trip. One was to attend my first fiber festival. This is to prepare myself for (hopefully) one day attending Rhinebeck or even, better yet, the Edinburgh Yarn Fest! Secondly, I wanted some pretty stitch markers. I have the plastic ones from Joann's and I wanted 'pretty' ones, just like the people in the videos I watch! Third, I wanted to check out all the Montana yarns and fibers.

It was small, even to my inexperienced eyes. But that meant there wasn't a crowd to fight. Which was great for Lady K, who was quickly overwhelmed by all the colors and what people there were.

A couple dozen booths, all encouraging you to 'fondle' and 'squeeze' their yarns. Most of the yarns and roving (for spinning) were all locally made and/or dyed and the booth owners were super friendly and really kind to Lady K.

One of the first booths we stopped in was for Harvest Rose Farms. She gave both me and Lady K a little bag of alpaca roving of our own. Lady K was loving all the 'cuddly' yarn-feeling. She was so kind and let Lady K pick out her favorite color from the natural colors she had. Lady K choose brown. I picked black and then came back and bought an ounce of the black alpaca for spinning (hopefully). Of I can just drape the roving around my neck and wear it!

The next stop, and later returning to, was Blue Savannah Yarns. I had checked out her etsy shop before the show (she's on vacation) and was interested to see what she had.

A luscious skein of mainly Merino wool, the colorway "Trout". It has tiny 'sparkles' in it. There is enough for socks, but then everyone couldn't see the lovely sparkles. So I think I will make a hat from it and have already picked out a really 'slouchy' hat with cables. And there will be leftovers, so maybe two hats!

But she threw in this cute little 'thank-you' bag of a tiny skein of yarn, some candy and tea. Just what every knitter needs.

I could have (and probably will as she may be at Copper K) getting one of her gradient packs (or two). Texter is pushing for the gray pack or the rainbow pack. I would probably get the gray for Texter and the rainbow for Savvy and make her a Pride hat or cowl.

Don't know what I would make from these, but it would be interesting. So soft and squishy!

And I would love to spin one of these and see what the yarn turn out like! Or just hang a few on the wall as an art piece. Works either way!

A stop at the Yarn Underground booth netted a drop spindle out of the half price bin, along with these two beauties. They are a bit more grey than the picture suggests. But at $20 for the two of them, I couldn't resist. They are 190 yards each, which would mean a hat or mittens or cowl. But I am thinking of pairing them with this yarn I have in my stash...

The golden yellow is 100% alpaca, while the grey is mainly wool. But I think I could get them to work well together. There is a lot of yardage in the yellow, about 500 yards, so this would give me about 880 yards to work with. I might pick up some natural at the next festival and do one of the shawls I have bookmarked which are large and asymmetrical and have been on my watch-list for ages. Stephen West of Westknits has some really unusal knits, but really fun ones.

But isn't that gold and grey wonderful! Think a black and/or cream in there. A departure from my purples I seem to be stuck on!

While Texter was at another booth picking up herself a pair of RedMaple Sportswear Alpaca socks, I was back, with Lady K, at the Goldieknots booth. Tammy, the owner, is SSOOOOOO sweet. Once again, she didn't ignore Lady K, but encouraged her to touch and feel, something which is great for a little one with sensitivity issues and to whom the feel of things is important. 

Tammy is teaching a needle felting class at Copper K which I just might have to take as it doesn't conflict with my spindle class.

When I returned (with Lady K) she picked out a green Soap in a Sweater because it 'smells like apples' and it's green. I would have taken a picture of it, but it was quickly in the bathtub when we arrived home.

My other purchase from her was two sets of stitch markers. One got away from me for Savvy's manager, A, who is also a knitter and couldn't attend the festival. And who had to watch the rest of her employees eat the fruit tart and she couldn't because she is allergic to strawberries. Hers was also a tiny 'tea set'.

Aren't they cute! I think I am going to get a lobster claw clasp for the tea pot so I can use it as a progress marker. 

Many of the vendors had samples of knitted and/or woven products and were encouraging patrons to try them on and see if that pattern would work for them. I stuck my head into the Mountain Colors booth to thank them for sending me a copy of the fingerless mitts pattern, not once, but twice. I had lost my original out of the kits and they replaced. It was on my desk at the time of the fire and they replaced it again. So nice of them! (And yes, I only have 1.5 mitts knitted out of 4, but I know where they are now!) 

Many of the vendors at this festival will be at the Cooper K Fiber Fest in July. I can't wait to revisit them. At least one day of the festival I will be by myself, taking a class, so I can look at the spinning wheels in-depth. I really, really want a wheel (and have for decades!)

Also in the "Fiber Fest lineup" is one in August in Eureka, Montana. Since it is about 4.5 hours away, we could make it a 2-3 day trip and see Glacier National Park too. And there is also a quilt show in Eureka that weekend too. And a petting zoo at the fiber fest. And I could hit some of the quilt stores for the Row by Row Experience Shop Hop. Definitely on the radar! 

Then in September, in Billings, Montana, is the Prairie Handspinners Fiber Festival. It's a Saturday, so we can leave early in the morning and go. Would probably overnight and Texter and Lady K can shop while I attend the festival. (Hopefully, she will be driving by then and not have a ton of homework!)

So lots of fiber in my diet!


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