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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Michigan Fiber Festival 2007 (Part 1)

I am officially at the end of my personal fiber event season. (Someday I will get to Rhinebeck!)

This year I decided to go up to Allegan two days early so that I could take some classes. Because I had a work meeting Tuesday night, I had to leave at 4am on Wednesday in order to get to my first class at 9am eastern time. (I ALWAYS forget Michigan is on eastern time.) After a few snafus (detours here in Chicago, a non-functioning I-Pass), I squeaked in with just 15 minutes to spare.
My first class was Acid Dyeing, an all-day affair. I was tired, it was hot (classes are in un-air conditioned barns), and the class was a bit more disorganized than I would have liked. Nonetheless, I learned just enough about acid dye to be dangerous. We mixed primary colors plus turquoise and fuchsia and then learned formulas for mixing other colors from those stock solutions.

On Thursday, I took Advanced Dyeing, another all-day class. We went over techniques for injection dyeing, sprinkling with dry dyes, kettle dyeing, and hand painting. My purpose in taking the class was to try hand painting sock yarn, so while the instructor had provided materials and fibers for the other techniques, I focused on painting skeins of undyed yarn that I brought with me. While I may not be the next great indie dyer after just two days of classes, I was pretty happy with my results:

I was trying to re-create a Colinette colorway and a discontinued STR colorway. While I didn't quite get either, I learned enough to do better next time. (They really aren't as neon as they look on my monitor.)

Once they were dry, I re-skeined them. Let me tell you, re-skeining yarn sitting on an air mattress in a tent using your feet as a swift is hard work.

On Friday, the early arrival vendors opened at 10am, and I did the bulk of my shopping then. I went from never even using a niddy noddy to owning five:

Just how did this happen? Well, I wanted a 1 yard and a 2 yard, but the first few I came across (Kromski and Ashford), were not made in the US, so naturally they weren't in yards. I bought them anyway. Then, I found a nice handcrafted 2 yard, so I bought that. Later, I found a handcrafted 1.5 yard, so I got it, as well. Finally, I found an adjustable one that goes from .5 yard to 2 yards and increments in between, so I bought that one, too. If I had seen that first, it would have saved me quite a few bucks. That's what you get for being an impulse shopper. Oh, well, it's an instant collection that happens to go with the logo for this year's festival:

On Friday afternoon, I took a Pita Felt class, a method which utilized thin bubble wrap as a resist between layers of fiber to form a pouch. It was a new technique for me and I produced this nifty little holder for my iPod (which needs some serious blocking):

This morning, I zipped through the vendors that loaded in last night, went to visit the animals, and packed my tent for home. I was justtoo tired to last another day, wasn't in the mood for crowds, and I was all shopped out. And, even though I really do enjoy sleeping in the tent, the shower facilities there leave a lot to be desired, so I headed for the comforts of home.

On the subject of sleeping in the tent, it was hot, muggy and rainy Wednesday night, but it was downright cold Thursday and Friday. It was great sleeping weather. (In 2006, it was hot and rainy every night--nothing ever dried out. Blech.) One disappointment this year was that they had the pavilion set up for the Saturday fashion show and dinner, so people didn't gather there in the evenings as they had before. For me, part of the fun had been hanging out at night with knitters, spinners, and weavers and learning about what everyone else was doing. As a result, it felt much more solitary. In some respects, it was fine given recent circumstances that have required a bit of introspection, and it did give me a chance to finish Three Bags Full, a charming book so appropriate for the occasion. Still, I did miss some of the community aspects of the event.

I leave you with pictures of those to whom we owe our gratitude for supplying the materials for our craft(s):

This little fellow and I bonded. Seriously, one year I will come home with a rabbit.

I love those ears!

I know that these are working animals and not just pets, but the very used-looking "I'm 4 SALE" neckerchief made my heart hurt just a bit.

Next post: yarn acquisitions!


sophanne said...

great pix- i like the last three the best-- I mean- how hard could it be to keep a little alpaca around the yard?

La Cabeza Grande said...

What a face! I'm sorry we didn't have the chance to meet up at the festival.