Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where to Start?

Can I just say: "What a Great Day!"

Yesterday's trip to the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair was full of wonderful fun, and it started early! I got a message from Kris on Friday evening asking could she ride up to the fair with me and I readily agreed. We headed out around 7:15 a.m. and with one stop for gas (oh it just hurts to buy gas anymore . . . $4.33/gallon :-( ) we were at the fair pretty much when things jumped off around 9 a.m.

There is a certain scent that seems to permeate a room (or tent :-) ) full of hand-dyed wool. To me it's a vinegar-like smell, probably from the vinegar most dyers use to set their colors. The humidity seemed to bring it out, and as we browsed the vendors in the large outdoor tent, I found that it was quite a comforting scent somehow.

Kris and I caught up with Sheri and Janice within about 15 minutes of our arrival (just as I was thinking I should ring Janice on her cell!) and thus began a day of shopping, eating and just generally having a blast! Linda, Jamie and Rachel were not far behind and the fair was set up such that we could group together, then shop on our own, then find each other again. We continued this way pretty much all day long, with a lunch break where we all sat down together and played show and tell.

How lucky I am to have such great friends! If you read this blog regularly, you know that Linda, Jamie, Rachel and I are the regular Gang of Four ;-D; Kris is a friend from my SnB, and Sheri and Janice are bestest friends, and are my friends from the Spring Fling (the knitting retreat) I attended in St. Louis back in April! They all seemed to enjoy meeting each other, and we all came home with some yarny goodness. I also got to see some more folks from SnB, and finally got to meet Tzurris' beautiful baby, Miriam! What a pleasant and happy surprise that was!

Here's everyone at lunch - a fine-looking crew, don't you agree? :-) We did not eat healthily I'm afraid, but it was mostly because none of us noticed the one booth that actually had some healthy fare. We were bummed about that, but we all really did enjoy the Polish food and bratwursts we had :-D

The fair was set up differently this year. I have to say I enjoyed last year's setting better, and I think there were more vendors last year - but with the weather we had yesterday, many of the vendors were probably glad to be inside rather than outside in the tents. There were still some outside, though, and it was really a nice mix. Plus there were some different vendors this year, so that was pretty great, and really if you missed it this year, you might want to consider it for you calendar next year!

It was pretty humid, even inside, and I seemed to feel this more than my partners in crime, as evidenced by my sweaty looking hair and the fact that all my makeup is gone . . . here I am with Little Loopy, and there he is again with Sheri. Little Loopy asked me where Cedric was (you may recall that Cedric, my travel gnome, and Little Loopy got pretty friendly with each other during The Loopy Ewe's Spring Fling in April :-D ). Since Cedric generally only travels with me on overnight trips, he was at home - and let me tell you that he was royally irritated with me when he found out that Little Loopy was at the fair!

After regrouping at lunch, I decided that I really did want some yarn from Briar Rose, because really, who doesn't want yarn from Briar Rose?? :-) And we all wanted yarn from the Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co., as evidenced by the photo at right.

So - what did I come home with? Well, I didn't do as much damage as I could have . . . but that pile of loot looks pretty substantial, doesn't it? Clockwise from the top: Some really nice Blue-Faced Leicester roving from Miss Babs - I got a pound of the Blue View colorway - it's really pretty. Kris came home with some in the Harvest shade. Next is 1,600 yards of single-ply variegated wool in the Autumn Leaves colorway, from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co (that link is to a 2005 Knitter's Review column that mentions the company, about 2/3rds of the way down the page). I confess I copied one of my pals on this - she had a skein of it with her at lunch, and I loved it. I realized yesterday that there is a very fine line between an absolutely stunning colorway and clown barf. I saw my share of clown barf, but this Autumn Leaves colorway - in fact, ALL the colorways at Plain & Fancy were just amazingly done. I really really like this yarn.

Then, while Sheri and Janice were completely engrossed in a sock knitting machine from 1910 or so, I got sucked into something called Flat Feet. I probably paid too much for it, but it was really quite intriguing, and so I thought I would try it out. Also there, but not readily visible is the pair of Addi Turbo circulars I bought so I could cast on ;-D Next are some Bergschultz buttons for the "sweater that no one likes but me." It has graduated to this status because before only Linda didn't like it, and now, Kris doesn't like it either. Oh well. It's a jacket, people, not a high-fashion statement. It's for tossing on when you have to run out and grab the newspaper for crying out loud! Or for sitting in my gazebo this fall when it's getting a little nippy out. So it makes me look a little tubby and it's really pink - it's a jacket.

Moving on, is a darling little Gita Maria sheep pin that I picked up from Janet Wray at JWrayco. Next to that, two skeins of Handmaiden Mini-Maiden to make the Waves in the Square shawl, the pattern for which I picked up last year. There's a little group of four mini batts of roving from the Illinois Collective that will be used to felt onto soap bars, and last but certainly not least, two skeins of Briar Rose's Glory Days Blue-Faced Leicester - enough to make a sweater from A Fine Fleece. Yay!

We saw it all, I think :-) and then Kris and I headed back with Sheri and Janice for a relaxing afternoon of knitting and spinning. The ride to the hotel was eventful . . . a big green bottle fly snuck into the car with us and landed on my right shoulder, on my white shirt! Kris say it at the same time I did, and it flew off my shoulder, right into her face - much flinging of hands and hair and windows opening and closing - but we think we got it :-D

Janice is a newer spinner, and I got the chance to try spinning on her Schacht wheel - a lot more complicated than my Lendrum, but a lovely wheel. I felt sort of clueless with the wheel because it's a double drive - and a double treadle, but I really enjoyed it, and enjoyed even more helping Janice as she spun and plied some of her yarn! I'm not a highly experienced spinner, but I've had some of the best teachers in the world (seriously), and I really enjoy sharing some of what I've learned with others - and um, hello, spinning is really fun!

Sheri finished a sock, Janice finished her spinning, Kris worked on another Windmill Beret, and I eventually cast on for those Flat Feet socks. Dinner at Chili's capped off a truly great day, and Kris and I headed South for the drive home during which I forced Kris to listen to Bollywood tunes. She was humming along after not too long :-D They really are catchy, even when you don't know what anyone's saying! We made it back to my house by around 9:45 p.m. A full day of fiber fun. :-)


PatQ said...

It sounds like you guys had a great time. I'm jealous, I had to work this weekend.

Kris said...

Your so sweet. I had an AWESOME time... i don't even know where to begin on blogging such a great day, but you hit the head.

Janice said...

It was MARVELOUS spending the day with you! It was such a fun day!! And thanks SO MUCH for all of your help and encouragement with my spinning. It was just the boost I needed to keep on spinning! See you in October!! :-)

Sheri at The Loopy Ewe said...

So fun to spend the day with you on Saturday! (And you ARE the best spinning teacher....) ;-)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Sounds like the perfect day for a group of fiber fiends -- I mean, friends! Hee!