Indie Knit & Spinnin’

That’s right, friends. We’re already making plans for this year’s Indie Knit & Spin in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We’ve expanded significantly since our first show in 2011. This year we are moving upstairs to accommodate more vendors. It’s going to be a crazy awesome time, so mark your calendars. You won’t want to miss it! You can get the details on the blog or join the Facebook page to get the latest updates.

Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square
7604 Charleston Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Saturday November 16th, 2013
11 am to 5 pm

8x8 booth

kickass pennsic!

Another spectacular Pennsic is behind us. Things were different this year, the most significant being the dates. We were moved up one week and required to leave early due to another event that followed. I was not happy with the change, but we still enjoyed the time we had there. Overall the weather was great! During the day it was cool enough that I didn’t have sweat running down the backs of my legs and at night I enjoyed wearing my cloak.

Our camp used to be all about staying up all night and sleeping late. However, somewhere along the way we dropped all the party people and turned into a chatty morning group. Poor Rich! He is the only one left who wants to sleep in and now he can’t because I talk too loud! One morning I got up at 6 am and walked around the neighborhood. It was the perfect time to look at other camps since no one was up yet. FYI: There are a lot of scroungy looking camps!

Front gate

Last year we made the mistake of leaving our sheet wall system at home.  Every now and then we’d have some wandering idiot go through our camp because he/she couldn’t tell that the bridge was the entrance to OUR CAMP and NOT a public through-way. Determined to end it, we had my mom paint a new sign for over the bridge, put up lanterns and attached a rope to block the way (easily moved by those who are welcomed in). Some people may think we are overly cautious about “security”, but we’ve had many issues in the past.

At the bridge

Once you get in though, it’s quite lovely.

Pavilion

Vardo

Camp

We had a new common tent – “Big Blue” as Rich has named it. And it is big. 80 pounds big. This was the first time we put it up, so there will be modifications in the future, but we stayed dry and had plenty of space. Can you tell that the grass hadn’t been mowed in several weeks? It was mid-shin. Where is my annoying neighbor to hassle them? “Why do you let this get so high??”

Common tent

Pennsic is a great place to make friends, but sadly that means you are likely to see them only once a year. Such is the case with these ladies. We met when that little girl was 10 months old. Now she is six. Rich had taken this picture right after they came in and I hadn’t seen them in two years, so that explains the ridiculous Oprah face.

Friends!

The camp has a front and back entrance. Our lovely hand-painted sheet wall panels go across the back since the front of the camp is covered in shrubbery. These are the heraldic representations of our household members. I am a squirrel. Richard is a gryphon.

Sheet wall

Back gate

And that is a quick tour of our camp. I didn’t take any other pictures, not even of my camp mates. When you are there in the middle of it, it is hard to remember to get your camera out. Also, I was using the camera on my phone and then battery died.. sooo… anyway, we have a really great group. It really does feel like a funny little family with each person having their specific role. Hooray for Pennsic. Bringing weirdos together since 1972.

booth photos

We had a blast at Indie Knit & Spin last weekend. It was sort of a feeding frenzy, especially the batts. They were the hot item in my booth this year. We were able to expand from the 6 foot table to an 8×8 booth, so I had more room. However, since I brought new items and had new displays, it was a stressful morning trying to get everything to fit. In the end I’m happy with the result, though I forgot to take a picture until halfway through the day. It was fuller at the start.

8x8 booth

8x8 booth

8x8 booth

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Those pictures I thought disappeared from Rich’s phone a few weeks ago have suddenly popped up. So here is an overdue view of my booth from the Autumn Fiber Event in October. It was a roomy 12 x 10. I had so much space I hardly knew what to do with myself. At the back I set up a table for destashing. All of the looms sold and some of the fiber, so it was worth it.

roomy 12x10 booth

roomy 12x10 booth

roomy 12x10 booth

And here is a bonus picture of my bento box lunch from the Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. Everything was yummy, except perhaps the sushi. Apparently I am not a fan. It’s the smell. I feel like I’m stuffing my face into an aquarium.

bento box!

prepping for Indie Knit & Spin

I glanced at the calendar yesterday and realized there are only about three weeks until Indie Knit & Spin! After the Autumn Fiber Event last weekend and a busy (not with fiber) September, my inventory is rather low. I have high expectations for this upcoming event, so there is a lot to do to get ready.

  • Spinning yarn
  • Carding 30-40 batts
  • Sorting and picking Corriedale/Border Leicester fleece
  • Dyeing
    > Falkland top
    > Shetland roving
    > Cotswold locks
    > Corriedale/Border Leicester locks

And then it’s nothing for three months! Maybe I’ll finally have a chance to paint the bathroom and practice wet felting and get all that custom yarn spun up. It’ll be a good time to hibernate and get stuff done.

Check out our Facebook page and Ravelry group to get more information about the event.

Undyed locks will make their debut at Indie Knit & Spin! Here is the beautiful Corriedale/Border Leicester cross I found at Woolfest. It has lovely wave and a great staple length. After a wash and dry, I’ve been picking through it, separating the locks and pulling out VM. The locks fluff easily, so you could just pull them apart and spin them without further processing necessary.

measuring a lock

hand picking a fleece

Orange

 

this year it was the crickets.

I am having a difficult time readjusting to “this” life after being Genevieve for a little while. Being at Pennsic isn’t so much a vacation as it is a lifestyle. I can enjoy the outdoors without having to make special arrangements. I get exercise every day without having to make time for it in my schedule. I watch the moon travel across the sky each night. I sleep so much better. I don’t watch TV. Everything I need is right there. It’s so simple.

I hate coming back.

My house feels alien. The yellow kitchen looks so bright. My bed is uncomfortable. I can’t see the sky. And of course I have to get back into my routine, whatever that is.

Remember when I said I didn’t have anything planned for this year? Well, that was true, so when an opportunity to work at one of the merchant booths fell into my lap, I accepted. So from Wednesday of the first week to Friday of the second, I worked at Carolina Calicoes as a “fabric pixie” (that’s what one of the customers called me). Measuring, cutting, folding yards upon yards of linen. It was a great experience and the shop owners were wonderful to work with. At least it was something totally new and different!

I took a few pictures of the camp, but they aren’t very interesting…

pavilion

common tent

vardo

And just to prove there were people in camp…

in camp

in camp

packing it up

Just a few days till we board our time machine and head back into the 12th century (or something like that). I’ve been packing up various items such as clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries, bedding, food. I am responsible for everything “in the house”. Rich takes care of the big stuff that lives in the garage.

totes

Before I can pack the stuff that needs to go, I have to unpack what remained from last year. Some thoughts that run through my mind as I pack: what is this? Do we need this? Did I wear this last year? Will I wear it for the first time in 7 years if I bring it? We’ve never used this. Where did this come from? No wonder this box is so heavy, it’s full of metal spear tips. It’s hard to pack light since we take a lot of the camp’s gear, like the shower and water system. This year we have a beautiful new shower floor and fixtures. I’m sure it will be disgusting in mere days (hard water deposits).

Now that all the obvious things are packed, I have to address the most difficult portion: projects. Over the years (9 of them) I go back and forth between bringing lots to do and bringing very little to do. It gets hot there and sometimes all you really want to do is lay around and fall asleep, not have wool in your lap. Other times you’re busy visiting camps and wandering through the merchants. Or perhaps you spend your days in the class tents. But this year my Pennsic friend isn’t coming and there are not any classes I want to go to. So it looks like I need to bring something to do or spend my days lounging. Of course, we are having a few visitors throughout the week that may appreciate a companion, so I’ll probably spend some time with them.

But what do I want to work on? If this is truly a vacation, then spinning and knitting could be considered work, however, I have a few shows coming up. I really need to get some knitting done and I wouldn’t mind using my drop spindle. Perhaps I will bring some yarn and if I feel so inclined, I will feebly cast on and then promptly ignore it. Also, I’ve been reading the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind and I will likely spend all day on that. And then there’s the lazy part. Too lazy to pack the stuff and too lazy to use it when I get there…

It’s a mess, but it should keep me occupied. So far I’ve got two unfinished knitting projects; two spindles, one with stuff already going; odd balls of yarn for cuffs; and fiber to spin. I’ll probably bring it all home untouched.

going to Pennsic

learning experiences

The great thing about setting up at shows and festivals is getting to meet people. Whether you are sharing information or making sales, it’s just great to interact with customers face to face.  The other great thing about shows is that you can really learn from your customers and get ideas for the next project.

I learned a few things at the Apple Castle this weekend.  First, I need more stock (but I already knew that).  People don’t like you to make the decision for them, and if you only have one or two of something, they won’t buy it.  They like to pick from a variety of colors and patterns.  Second, I need to offer more alpaca.  There are a lot of farms in this area and people know about them.  They know they are soft and cute and they want to wear it.  I have plenty of alpaca fiber at home, but I just haven’t spent the time to spin it.  Third, I learned how to accept credit cards using the Square.  I was so excited by the whole thing I got a little flustered, but overall it was a great experience.  I’m glad to be able to add that to my business, since I’ve noticed that younger people don’t tend to carry checks, but they do use plastic.  Fourth, I finally realized how a newsletter could be useful.  I just thought that my blog was sufficient, but a newsletter delivers the information directly to the customer.  If I have a coupon or new product I want them to know about right away, I can’t expect them to find it on my blog; I need to bring it to them.  Fifth, I need to be better organized and take my time.  And finally, I could probably talk less.  I suppose it was a good weekend for learning things.  This was also the first time I did a craft show outside of the McDonough.  I passed out a lot of fliers for Indie Knit & Spin and found out a lot of folks there are from Pittsburgh.  And I had a general schedule of upcoming shows I’ll be attending, so I distributed those also.

I suppose, in all, this was a successful outing.  As Rich said, it isn’t solely about money.  You need to find out what your customers are interested in, discover ways to improve your business, and just get out there to remember why you are doing this!

Thanks everyone who stopped by to visit.  And welcome to my blog!

fall festival

 

Don’t forget, I’ll be making my debut at the Apple Castle Fall Festival this Saturday. It’s located in scenic New Wilmington, PA. Hours are 9 am to 5 pm. Come out and get some apples, cider, fall decorations, and MY YARN! It’s going to be a beautiful weekend; maybe your last chance to get outside and enjoy the fall sunshine. See you there!

And I’m excited to announce that GENF now accepts credit cards. Thanks to Rich’s fancy pants Android phone and Square , we now have the ability to swipe your card! Welcome to the 21st century.