Fiber Festival – in person

I went to my first fiber festival, my first in person fiber festival, in at least ten years. It’s been a long, long ten years and so many priorities came before spinning, knitting and my own fun. I used to love the Florida Fiber Ins in Orlando but everything was above my price range and I felt completely out of place when in attendance. That’s pre-pandemic, pre-kids, pre-Masters degree, pre-CPA. . . Last year, in the depths of my grief and anxiety, I went head first back into crafts and stumbled upon virtual fiber festivals. It may have even been about this time, but I’m not sure which ones I attended via Facebook. What I remember is bidding on Dunn Spunn’s fiber batts in a frenzy, not knowing what was going on. What I learned from that experience is that even though these batts are indeed gorgeous, I don’t like spinning from art batts. Sorry!

I got out of the house early on Saturday morning and drove up to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, VA. I stopped at Sheetz for coffee and a breakfast burrito and it was yummy. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are hungry as it’s pretty big.

First of all, I got there early so I got to walk around listening to the vendor’s talk and without the crowds. There were definitely a good bit of people in attendance later. I went through my first walk through, once again, not really knowing what was going on. That is a common theme in my life. I can find out more through other people’s reactions and conversations than I can research before hand. Through three walk throughs of the grounds and some strong will power on my part, I left with a grey gotland fleece, two bags of wool and hand plucked angora roving, one black cat knits hank of fingering weight sock yarn, some sweater stitch markers with instructions, 3 stickers and a shawl/hair pin that is currently holding up my bun. I desperately wanted a monster coffee mug but couldn’t fork over the $39 even if it was well deserved for the craftsmanship. I watched spinning on my dream wheel – a Monarch from Spinolution and watched weaving handspun on a barn loom. I was looking for a few more fiber processing tools but didn’t find the right one at the right price. Also, there were tons of carded batts and braided carded fiber, but I didn’t see anything really in the way of combed fibers. I like to spin worsted and I wish there were more of those combed braids available. I love the stained glass merino from spotted circus, which I ordered at some virtual fiber festival last year. I just wish I had spun it using chained ply instead of regular plying. I muddied the colors that way.

I cannot wait for my next fiber festival but I’ll have to take some time as it seems everything keeps going up in price. I still love it!

Barn Loom
Sheep Driving
My goodies

Fichu Bleu Shawl from fiber to flair

I’ve been ordering merino top from Paradise Fibers any time it goes on sale and I spun a three ply soft fingering yarn.

Homespun Merino Top

Next I dyed it with Jacquard Acid dye pink combined with brilliant blue.

Jacquard Acid Dye Pink and Brilliant Blue Mixed

It took a week and a day to knit this up slightly smaller than the pattern called for with size five needles instead of the seven the pattern called for. I’m thinking of making another for myself.

Plant Lady Sweater

It’s been a long time since I’ve knit something just for myself, especially something to wear. I’ve had so much Christmas knitting and then finished up my kid’s green raglan’s sweaters last winter. I made yet another blanket and finally it was time to make something just for me. I was blessed that in a round about way, I was gifted Claudia’s Hand painted Fingering Silk 55 which is a mix of merino and silk.

Claudia’s Hand Painted Fingering Silk 55 (now known as Oh Baby Merino Silk

The last few years have been tough but toughest on my waist line. My pretty knit sweaters and tee shirts no longer fit, and by far! I’m part of a Facebook group that has plus size patterns and sometime in the last year, the Plant Lady Sweater by “Amanita” Agata Mackiewicz pattern was shared. This has sizes XS (S, M1, M2) L, XL, 2XL, 3XL included. It is a bottom down pattern, which is not my favorite and I think I’ve learned a lot about fitting my own dimensions from my own mistakes. I did not follow the pattern exactly and it unfortunately shows!

I made this pattern long. I should have made it longer. I had trouble following the bottom lace pattern (due to children and distractions). It still looks good but I can tell the difference.

As I worked up the pattern, it wound up being huge, so I made some extra decreases and then made extra increases around the bust. Wearing it, I can tell. I shouldn’t have decreased so much and the bust is tight. My sleeves are tight too and I’m considering ripping them and making them both wider and longer.

All in all, I’m pretty happy. I think this is something I’d like to redo or take a top down raglan pattern and add the lace pattern at the bottom.

Catching Up

It’s happening again. I’m falling into that void where depression meets crafts. Normal people get depression, stay in bed for days with no motivation. Not me. I turn my grief, my anxiety, my huge amount of anger and drive it into a need to create. I have a Facebook feed filled with my creations. The worst part was after Christmas my arm hurt so badly (tennis elbow = knitting elbow?) that I couldn’t knit for about six months. I’d try only to be unable to flex my wrist or twist for days.

What have I been doing since my December knitting madness?

January & February were devoted to skiing. You can’t think while you are skiing. It’s waiting, waiting, waiting, followed by an intense one to five minutes and back up again. I put my audiobook on and let it rip.

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March was just intense. I received some devastating news. I attempted to backpack my way out of the anger and grief. Then my body said, you haven’t been doing this for a year, WTH! Then I flipped to planning my garden and starting seedlings. I finished my cross stitch cross from last year. I also, painfully, finished my kids green sweaters.

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April was when I really did a lot of work in the garden, doubling it’s size. Plus we got back into camping and I pulled out the spinning wheel again.

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May and June were gardening, camping, backpacking, vacation and so much more. I started to realize I was overscheduling myself and coming off the worst of the March shock.

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Hallockville Fiber Festival – First in person (for me) event since March 2020
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July and August were overscheduled again, but well worth it. The garden was abundant and we have jars of tomato sauce for the winter. I finished my rainbow blanket from knit picks and started a sweater but more importantly, picked up spinning again.

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I’ll post about my spinning and dying and sudden returning intense interest in all things fiber in the next post!