Who knew that there were fibre festivals in the south? Unfortunately, none of them is in Louisiana. But that's OK, because we drove three hours to Mississippi to attend one. The Magnolia State Fiber Festival was held in Vicksburg, and two knitting buddies (Jeanne and Claire) and I left at god-awful:45 AM this morning to attend. They each attended a different class, so we had to get there early before the first one started. No matter. We had a terrific time. It is, admittedly, a small festival, with no more than 40 or so vendors. And there were no live animals, but what it lacked in size, it more than made up for in enthusiasm. The vendors were really engaging, very friendly, and because it wasn't too crowded (there was always a constant flow of people, but not like other festivals I've attended), were able to sit and talk with one about their fibres, dying, preferred things to knit, and so on. I even made two Ravelry friends today! How cool is that?
Even though I was on a limited budget, I did manage to get some yarn. Like dear Queen Victoria when she was a mere slip of a princess, I was good*, Or maybe I was able to be good because there was no ATM at the festival (at least I didn't see one, or the hit to my wallet would have been greater!).
From the delightful Kimarie Hazekrigg of kimarie's knit knacks, She had some beautiful yarns, and I took home one skein of blue yarn (of course), and a packet of rainbow dyed merino.
From Stacey Blanton of Brazen Stitchery, some yarns inspired by two of my favourite series.
This first, is a half skein, named Salazar Slytherin is my Homeboy. Fingering weight, merino and nylon, I'm thinking it would make a great hat. I've never made a hat with anything finer than DK, so this will be interesting. Stacey also friended me on Ravelry
From the stand of Bex Oliger of Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, I got this amazing safron yarn. Merino, dyed by Th' Red Head Designs, it isn't quite as orange as the picture suggests.I might try to pair this with some yarns I got at the NHS&WF over the years, to make a shawl. I wonder who will get it?
As well as yarn, there was someone selling hand made soaps. From Shalene Weddle of My Heavenly Creations, I got some wonderful smelling Rosemary Mint soap. I cannot wait to take a shower with this!
From Gulf Coast Connection, June Pegram gifted me with a bit of lagniappe. After giving me some wonderful advice about pre-drafting roving, she gave me a wee bit of roving from the Gulf Coast Native Sheep, an endangered species which she is helping to conserve. Thank you so much, June!
There were yarns I wanted to buy, vendors who had some great things. Unfortunately, my wallet is not as deep as my desire for new yarn. I have added to my personal database of favourite indie yarn folk the following:
Knitting Rose Yarns, by Lise Wilson. Most of her yarns contain bison fleece, are so very soft, and look so very knittable. Yarns that I wanted to take home with me, which had no bison (surprisingly) were the blue and the black yarn on the right of the picture, So beautiful, so shimmery!
From Wool of Louisiana, by Kelli Caruth Miller, these lovely undyed yarns. Thankfully, these vendors sell their wares on-line. And we all know that I love receiving packages in the mail!
In all, it was a very enjoyable festival. I really liked the small size, because the chance to interact and really talk with the vendors was so easy. Sure, I've talked with vendors at larger festivals, and those discussions have been most enjoyable and informative. But they were almost always interrupted by someone who had a question about specific yarns, or wanted to buy something. Today, with the lower attendance, it was a much more relaxed pace, and I came away having learned new things, made new friends, and acquired more fibre. It was also a good chance to spend some time with Jeanne and Claire, who were funny, informative, and who kept me on my toes.
*The story goes that when Princess Victoria learned how close she was to the throne (she was the Heir Presumptive of her uncle, King William IV), she is reported to have said, "I will be good."