At the Fiber Festival: How to Enjoy a Sheep and Wool Festival on a Budget
If fiber is your thing, a yearly pilgrimage to the local fiber festival is a must! Attending the festival with limited funds or space? There is still plenty to see and do. Sheep and wool festivals offer numerous opportunities to soak up inspiration and learn something new. Here’s how to have a grand ole time without blowing your budget.
Hit the barns first.
While other people descend on the vendor area, pay a visit to the animal shows. It’s fun to see the fiber animals, and you may find some good deals among the fleeces. (Test them out for yourself, and don’t assume that a great fleece necessarily commands a high price.)
The easiest way to limit your spending is to decide on an amount in advance and stop spending when your wallet is empty. (Make sure to budget for meals and other incidentals in addition to fiber and tools.)
Bring a small bag and buy no more than you can fit.
If you’re traveling from far away, don’t bring your roomiest suitcase on the trip. Bring a medium-sized backpack. Take the bus, so that your only storage space will be on your lap. Arrive by bicycle or motorcycle.
Be a shopping enabler.
You can still enjoy the thrill of finding something great . . . just do it with someone else’s wallet. Help a friend find the perfect thing.
Try it out.
Toolmakers small and large will bring their wares to the show, some to sell on the spot and some for demonstration. This may be your chance to try an incredible custom spinning wheel and talk to the maker, or check out a type of spindle you’ve never seen before.
Get on a waiting list.
Speaking of incredible custom wheels, many of them are ordered years—even decades—in advance. Some makers require a deposit to hold a place on the waiting list, while others will just take your name and contact you when your turn comes.
Take a class.
If you’d rather take home skills and experiences than stuff, check out the list of classes available. Many festivals have internationally renowned teachers offering workshops.
Watch the demos.
Spinning, weaving, home crafts, dyeing, felting, and more . . . If you’ve been looking to take up a new craft or learn more about an old one, you may find some free advice.
Spot new trends.
Most of us scramble to finish our latest projects to wear out and about (weather permitting). See what everyone else is wearing, buying, spinning, and knitting.
Snap frequently and post them to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or your outlet of choice, and make sure to tag them properly so others can experience the festival vicariously. You’ll end up with a phone full of memories for yourself by the end of the festival.
Enjoy the festival!
Featured image: Illustration by Laurel Johnson.
Find a list of festivals in the United States and Canada at www.spinweave.org/news-events/festivals.
Find related Interweave posts on upcoming festivals here:
Great Lakes Fiber Show
OK Fiber Fest!
Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival
Minnesota Knitter’s Guild Yarnover
Yellow Rose Fiber Producers Fiesta
Ann Arbor’s Fiber Expo
Welcome to the Long Island Yarn Crawl
The Smokey Mountain Fiber Arts Fair
The Yarn Show: Chicago YarnCon
Behold the Yarn Crawl: Dos and Don’ts