Interweave Yarn Fest 2017: Also for Weavers
I love introducing people to weaving and helping them to better understand something they might not know a whole lot about. There’s something lovely about showing my loom to somebody who’s visiting my house for the first time and explaining how they work. I never do so without them having shown me some interest first, but typically once somebody sees my studio or one my weavings they have about a hundred questions. It is truly delightful to see somebody really understand cloth for the first time.
Perhaps the only thing better than teaching somebody new, as a weaver at least, is when you’re able to walk among other weavers. Where you can use as much techy weaver lingo as you’d like and folks respond in kind. When you know you can reach out and touch somebody’s scarf and not have them look at you like a crazy person. Where you can share ideas and build off of one another to come up with things that are truly spectacular. Where you can learn and grow as a weaver surrounded by your own kind. Sure you can get all that online (well, maybe not the weavers’ handshake), but there is really something so wonderfully special about doing it all face-to-face.
For some of us this is a fairly common occurrence. We have friends who weave and local guilds where we can talk shop on the second Tuesday of every month and at workshops each Wednesday. We have local yarn shops full of employees who are more like old friends who are more than happy to help you choose yarns for your project or to show you a skein of something they know you’ll love. Unfortunately there are many weavers out there who are geographically isolated—they live in what I like to call weaving deserts—where they are the only weavers for miles and miles.
Fortunately for all these types of weavers, there are more and more wonderful events across the country where you can go and spend a weekend (or more!) surrounded by weavers and other fiber fiends. Where you can browse hundreds—perhaps thousands—of skeins of yarns and weaving equipment galore. Where you can take classes from experts in weaving and make new weaving friends from around the country and even around the world.
I love attending these fiber fests and weaving weekends on the occasions I’ve been able to get away for one. I especially treasure the time spent at Interweave’s own Yarn Fest. Part of the fun of attending Interweave Yarn Fest for me was experiencing an event like this from “the other side.” Instead of attending classes I was teaching a demo on pin weaving and instead of shopping the market I was talking to vendors and attendees about how they were enjoying the weekend. (Ok, and I was also shopping while on the clock—but with all the yummy yarns, gorgeous shuttles, and other weaving goodies can you blame me?)
Everything about Interweave Yarn Fest was just so warm and friendly. I knew most all of the instructors and at the meet and greet I had a lovely time chatting with them like old friends. Plus, as I recall, there were cookies and hot tea which is always welcome. Best of all though, were the people who attended the conference. I loved talking to the experienced weavers and the first timers alike, and there were plenty of the latter. Many folks were taking their first weaving classes on rigid-heddle weaving and were excited to talk about what they’d learned. It was the best of both worlds—seeing the excitement on new weavers’ faces while also being able to talk shop with people who knew far more than me. It was a truly wonderful time!
This year I will sadly have to sit out Interweave Yarn Fest due to the future baby which is scheduled to arrive about a month before. I have no doubt that I’ll be enjoying my time at home with the little miss or mister, but in March part of my heart will be back in Loveland at Interweave Yarn Fest, wandering the marketplace and talking with new weavers like they are old friends. And who knows—maybe in 2018 I’ll be back with my own future weaver in tow.