15 Top Tips for Fiber Festival Fun

We loved your suggestions for fiber festival success for our Spring Cleaning Contest! We could only choose one winner, but everyone had such great advice that I encourage you to go read the comments in their entirety before your next festival.

First off, our winner is Prairie Spinner! Here's her excellent advice:

  1. Brush up on the vendors and their products, and make a wish list.  Include everything you can think of!  Your list will whittle itself down as you see what is available, but you'd be really sorry if you forgot something in the frenzy.
  2. If there are classes that you want to take, sign up early and don't worry about the cost.  That new knowledge may be the most valuable thing you bring home!
  3. Get excited on the big day, but don't get so focused that you make other bad decisions.  (Like getting *really* annoyed at your husband for driving soooo slow looking for a good parking spot, but not slow enough that you can jump out of the truck and run on in.)
  4. Scope out the entire area, then settle down on the next circuit to do your fiber and equipment purchasing.
  5. Know yourself. There's that sweet spot between letting special finds call to you and bringing home a bag of buyer's remorse… try to find it and hang on to it.
  6. On your third turn around the venue, slow down and visit with vendors, breeders and anyone else you find yourself standing next to.  I'll take bets that you will meet someone who knows someone you know!

But some of the other tips were too great not to share. Here are some of our favorites:

From Mystic Spinner:   From ssomers: From Becca Lewis:
Bring a spindle to try out yarns on the spot. 

Bring a bit of fiber to spin to try out new spindles.

Pick up vendors business cards and make a note on the back what you got from them-so you can order more.

   Enter something in the fleece, skein & garment competitions. It's a real morale boost to see others admiring your work & sometimes there's prize money that you didn't expect to win which makes for more shopping.

Spend time in the demo area or tent. Relax & spin with your friends without spending more money.

Go slowly through the fleece & used equipment sales. There are bargains to be had if you look closely.

  

If you are working with a tight budget, take cash and do your best to stay within your means.  That being said, if you find a tool that you just can't live without . . . get a business card from the vendor and write down all of the tool specs/prices so that you can access data easily when you've got the financial ability to splurge).

Also, if you've been toying with the idea of owning fiber producing animals of your own, and you're convinced it will be just as easy to care for as the family dog, this is the perfect opportunity to talk to people who live the "dream life" in all of its dirty, nitty-gritty detail.  Get a realistic view of what you might be able take on and at what point you'd be in over your head!

A Laughing Matter

If we'd had a prize for humor, it would have gone to anonymous@2, who wrote,

I don't want to sound like I have no willpower at all, but I have been known to spend a bit more than I budgeted for. Here is my plan for for the next festival:

1. If I don't see it, it won't tempt me (as much), so I'll wear the darkest sunglasses I can find, and borrow a pair of blinders from a neighbor's horse. I think I'd better also wear ear and nose plugs and welder's gloves!

2. I'll only bring as much cash as I can afford to spend. Sadly, when that runs out, I'll undoubtedly launch into a song, with a tin cup in my hand. Embarrassing yes, but I might get a few bucks from folks who want me to shut up.

2. I'll leave my credit cards at home, but VISA, AMEX and MasterCard have all assigned full-time reps to follow me around authorizing purchases anyway.

4. Finally, I'll limit my purchases to fit my transportation.  I won't take the van, 'cuz I'd  fill it so full that I couldn't move, or see anything in the rear view mirror. Therefore, I'll arrange for tiniest transport I can think of. So when you see that guy on the freeway juggling fleeces and spinning wheels while riding a unicycle, you'll know who it is!

The post also included some great serious tips; here's my favorite: "Don't start by buying large items that you'll have to carry around all day! If you really want to make the fleece or spinning wheel the first purchase of the day, see if the vendor will hold it for you."

Cleaning Closer to Home

Our spring cleaning contest inspired me to start tidying up my stash… by using it. I'm beginning with this handspun Wensleydale, which I loved so much as singles—that luster, those colors— that I decided not to ply it. There are about 8 oz of heavy laceweight singles, so I'll be knitting for a while on a chevron-stitch wrap I have in mind. Next time, I will have cast on. (I figure if I tell you about it, then I'll have to make progress . . . right?)

Off to wind my yarn and pick out my next spinning class . . . and make a new issue of Spin-Off!


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