In my area of the world, Memorial Day weekend also means it’s time for the Great Lakes Fiber Show. Last week my friend H asked if it was worth the drive. It is held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds which is about an hour drive from where we live. When she asked, my first response was “meh”. But all of my other friends were telling her that she had to go. These are my peeps and their responses made me think about why I was so blah about it.
I first went seven years ago (thanks TimeHop app 🙂 ) so I had been knitting for about six years but had only been participating in knitting events for about a year. I went with two knitting friends – one who had a ton of knitting experience and one who was at about the same place as I was. I think I just didn’t understand what I was seeing or doing. I was looking for pretty yarns and at the show, things are a little more organic, shall we say? I got sucked into buying giant needles because they looked cool and the woman said I could use up my stash (this particularly cracks me up now because I had a fraction of the stash I have now and I was still under the delusion that you actually knit up your stash at some point…). Anyway, I wanted to head back the next year but I made the mistake of agreeing to let my friend and her family come with me. This meant I had two young girls who had little patience for yarn shopping with me. We had a nice day but my time at the show was quite limited. Rookie mistake – taking non-knitters and children to a fiber show.
At this point, I should also note that there are a ton of sheep at this festival and I really never went and looked at them during my first two trips. I thought of that as separate – it was the farming part which was of no interest to me. I wanted to buy yarn! This is a weird thought to me now. Also, a weird thought, that I’ve become totally obsessed with a hobby where I want to spend time with sheep and alpaca (I am not an animal person) but now I would never skip a walk through the sheep barn.
After recalling all of this I decided to give it another go, by myself. Besides, I need to get warmed up for Rhinebeck right? It was supposed to be hot on Sunday so I got up and headed out early to get there when the show opened. I was also motivated by my friend Jeanne from Destination Yarn‘s Instagram posts of her show special colorway and her warning that there were only a few skeins left. That will definitely get any knitter out of bed!!!
I still have a few of the same issues with the show that I had years ago. First, I find the layout to be super confusing and no one can give you a map. Jeanne had been posting all weekend that she was under the grandstand. I finally had to ask someone where that was so I could find her. The show has definitely grown since my last trip which is great. But, for the vendors who were there it must have been rough because it was definitely away from the other barns. Bonus – it was climate controlled so she wasn’t melting in the heat. I did get the show exclusive – Woolapalooza! Isn’t that a great name???
Now I could wander aimlessly and enjoy the show. Which brings me to my second issue – this show is heavy on roving vendors and I don’t spin. The only other yarn I bought (I wasn’t going to buy any so two skeins was a victory) was from a new to me dyer called Behind the Pines owned by Bobbi and she is from the Toledo, Ohio area. She had some great colorways, including one I had been looking for which is orange, brown and cream. She called it Falcon (one of our larger state colleges, Bowling Green, is near her and they are the Falcons and those are their colors) but they are also the Cleveland Browns colors. I’ve been looking for yarns dyed in local sports teams colors for my online store. Bobbie owns a yarn store, Yarn Cravin’, in the Toledo area so I would love to stop by. I already started knitting up the yarn and it is amazing!! It’s an MCN base and is self striping. It is so soft and lovely and the striping is excellent.
I wanted to mention a few other booths that stood out to me but I exercised self control and did not buy from them, yet. The TurtleMade booth (middle picture) had a very creative way to display her fun colorways. The Frabjous Fibers booth these giant gradient kits (right picture) that were almost as tall as I was and just made me so happy!!!
Next I headed over to the sheep barn and there was a sheep auction going on – all the sheep were lined up in a row.
This year they were also hosting Wool-A-Rama. It was an angora show and competition. Now, I know most knitters dream of getting a flock of sheep or a herd of alpaca, me, I would raise angora bunnies because I don’t think there is anything cuter than these giant balls of fluff. There were judges judging the actual rabbits and there was a judging going on inside of yarn that had been spun from the angora fiber and lots and lots of balls of fluff.
In the end, it was definitely worth the drive. I am so surprised by the amount of knowledge I’ve gained in the past six years about knitting, yarn, and where it all comes from. And, I’m glad I’ve waited this long to make plans for Rhinebeck – I’m sure I would not have appreciated near as much as I will now. Oh, and I wouldn’t sign off without sharing a picture of my loot!