I feel inclined to do a follow-up post about the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts. Just before we went, I was so very excited. However, when I got home that enthusiasm had waned considerably. First, the good parts. Our booth looked awesome! Amber and I worked very well together (by my estimation) and I think it showed. Since we both use each other’s products, we can talk about them with confidence. Her items went on the table since it was the most stable item in the tent, and I was able to test out my clothesline display along with all my new signs and photos (that I am quite sure no one noticed).
Saturday started out hot and it stayed that way all day. Everyone who came into the tent let us know that it was hot in there (which of course we knew) and eventually we lifted the side walls to get some breeze. It did help, but nothing can stop the sun when it is determined to bake you alive inside a polyester bag. Overall the traffic was slow, but we remained optimistic.
Sunday presented new problems. Instead of blistering heat, we had WIND! and RAIN! and wind and rain together! When I arrived Sunday morning, I found that my shelves had been knocked over, so I set them back up. While I was out visiting, they fell over again. It would become a reoccurring drama throughout the day. “Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just standing in front of this shelf so it doesn’t fall over.”
Eventually when the rain came in earnest, we had a serious problem. The roof was sagging at the corners allowing water to pool and then fall straight through onto my goods. Luckily wool is water repellent, so nothing was seriously damaged, even the tags remained whole. But two hours before closing, I was ready to call it quits. Thankfully the table with Amber’s items was safe, so we moved it out to the edge of the tent and soldiered on. By the end of the event our excitement had literally been dampened. However, we experienced a harrowing adventure together and came out stronger on the other side!
I’m super excited about this weekend for a lot of reasons.
1) It’s the Summer Festival of the Arts at YSU. Which is awesome all by itself, but I’m going to be vending there for the first time! I’ve been going to this event for years. First just because it was a fun family activity. Then I started working on campus, so I would work that weekend and get to enjoy the food. And for a few years our SCA group did a demo. Now I get to really be a part of it by having my own little tent!
2) I’m doing the show with a friend of mine I’ve mentioned before: Amber. She’s an awesome crocheter, but her main thing is beekeeping and urban farming. She makes lovely lotions, perfumes, and lip balms with the various things she grows. Our products together are going to look awesome! I just can’t wait to see it. Planning out the booth with her yesterday made me so happy. Check out Wick & Fifth.
3) New display! I’ve been wanting to display my knitwear in a different way, but I just wasn’t sure how. Laying the stuff flat on the table is so dreary. I really love tiny clothespins and I thought hanging the items up would make them more visible, but I would need a sturdy line on which to hang. What would I attach the line to? It can’t be something that would fall over under the weight. Since I’ll have a tent frame, I’m going to attach the line to the legs at the back. I won’t have to bring anything extra and there is no risk of it fall in on itself. Success! I hope.
4) Along with the knit items on the clothesline, I’m going to hang photos I’ve taken during the spinning, knitting, and dyeing process. Many people at craft shows don’t understand what makes these items special; they don’t know what “handspun” means. I’m hoping that seeing the photos will either explain things to them or at least encourage them to ask questions. Plus it will look awesome!
The only thing that is crushing my spirit is the weather forecast. It’s supposed to be nice on Friday, which is good since we’re setting up that day. But there is a 40% chance of rain for both Saturday and Sunday. WHY?? It’s never rained any other year I’ve gone. Why this year? Oh, now it says no rain Saturday, but a higher chance on Sunday. Maybe by the weekend there will be no chance? All I can do is forge ahead and bring my sidewalls.
I was so jazzed when I found out that Walgreens will print square photos directly from Instagram! I went through my year’s worth of pictures and selected ones that represented my work in progress. In an hour I went to pick them up. How cool is that? I threw in a few pictures of Olive, my cat, just because I don’t have any printed photos of her. I’ll intersperse these among the knits. I cannot wait to see this! Even if no one else cares, I’m going to enjoy it. So there.
This weekend I am heading to WOOSTER! Yes, it’s time again for the Great Lakes Fiber Show, one of my favorites. It looks like the weather for this weekend is going to be superb. Last year it was cold! And the year before I could barely function in the heat. I think this time around we’ll get it just right.
I don’t have anything wildly innovative and new for this event. I’ve got some dyed roving in a new breed, Romney/Border Leicester, plus locks, freshly carded batts, and a larger selection of Companion Colors. In addition to the fiber, I will have two sets of wool combs from Valkyrie. One is the larger Viking comb and the other is a smaller, finer set. And my new logo buttons will be available! These were made locally by a friend and fellow small business person. I am going to pick them up today, in fact. If you want one, it’s just $1 or free with $30 purchase.
Since the month of June is surprisingly vacant, I suppose I feel the need to continue to add in other events. In that spirit of panic, I just added something else to my schedule at the last minute: Festival on Phelps in Youngstown. It’s a community event/benefit headed up by some friends, so I thought it would be a good thing in which to participate. It’s next Saturday, and the night before I am doing a fiber workshop at Greyland Gallery. You could make a weekend out of it! Oh, it’s going to be another busy one. That’s the job though, right?
This was year #5 for me at A Knitter’s Fantasy. While it isn’t the highest scoring event on the schedule, it is still special. This was my first step into the world of yarn shows (back in 2010). I appreciate its proximity to my house: about 7 1/2 miles. I enjoy setting up Friday night. I am glad the booth fee is reasonable. And of course, I always love seeing my fellow vendors and friends. Ana and I shared an 8×16 booth again. My half is pictured below.
This year I quietly debuted my newest dyed item: Companion Colors. I only had three pairs, so it was more of an experiment than a grand introduction. Mostly I think they were ignored, but I did sell one to someone who was very happy to take it home. I am looking forward to playing around with the process more during my next dye day. Perhaps by Great Lakes I’ll have a nice stock of them and do a bigger display (with signs).
Right before packing (and I mean RIGHT BEFORE) I was still labeling yarn and fiber. I’ve been fiddling a bit with my tags, so some items had a newly updated version. I’ve been trying to print horizontal labels, but it’s actually been somewhat difficult. I don’t use any fancy image software and whenever I print things, they always come out grainy or fuzzy. The best method yet has been to print a sticky label and attach it to the band. I used them for new Sheep Tones skeins and the Companion Colors. I do like the way they look, however, the edges of the label are coming up! Blarg.
Despite the weather, I had a nice time at the Winter Market last weekend held at the B&O Station in Youngstown. I’ve been purposely building up my home base and it seems to be working! Along those lines, I will be setting up this weekend at the Good Life Fest at the Calvin Center, just down the street. In addition to what you see below, I’m going to bring more of the “yarn show” inventory, such as spindles, Eucalan, etc.
Remember that lovely, natural, spindle-spun Shetland I blogged about a few weeks ago? I finally got around to knitting it! I started it last Sunday while I was at the Winter Market. All afternoon I would knit a bit, count, and realize I had messed up. It’s actually a very easy pattern, but I was distracted by shoppers and the constant picking up and putting down of it. Once I had the opportunity to focus a bit, I made a lot of progress and now it’s almost done!
I am super excited about the new GE logo tote bags that arrived last week! I’ve wanted to have a nice thank-you gift for my big spenders, plus I have to admit a bit of envy when I see shoppers carrying around logo bags for other businesses. After shopping around a bit, I ended up having these done by VistaPrint since I could get all the colors instead of just one. They are $10 each, but if you spend $75 or more, you will get one for free! They are not available for purchase in my Etsy shop because I’m not sure if I am “allowed” to sell them there or not. Do they even have rules anymore? However, if you really want one and will not be at any of my shows, please send me an email and I will get one out to you!
Speaking of Etsy, if you feel the desire to make a purchase in my shop this month, use the coupon code YarnSchool to get free shipping. I decided it was time for some continuing education (and inspiration), so I signed up to attend Yarn School in Harveyville, KS at the end of April. I was worried that it might be just beginner stuff, but then I was reading on the Ravelry group about how many people go back again and again. It can’t be too dull/easy/basic then, right? I’m excited to get out of my corner of Ohio and see a new state! I’ll be flying out there alone, which is an adventure all on its own. And I’ll have to be friendly all weekend. I think that is scarier than flying! I tend to get weird and distant in situations like that (roommates, group lunches, chatty classes, socializing with strangers). Let’s just hope I can keep my mouth shut and learn something new!
I had so much fun at the Last Minute Market in December, I decided to join the Artists of the Rust Belt for their Winter Market! It’s taking place this Sunday, February 9 from 1 pm to 7 pm at the B&O Station (530 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown, OH 44502).
With no gift shopping to distract you this time, just buy something special for yourself ! Or, if needed, pick up a unique item for Valentine’s Day (rather than “some dumb little thing“). In addition to having a few new knitted items and yarn, I’ll also be bringing more fiber (batts and locks). Should be a good time!
Sorry, but I’ve got to do a quick walk down memory lane! I realized today that this is the eighth year I’ve participated in a holiday arts & crafts sale. It all began in 2006 with my mom’s table cloth, five pairs of mitts, and a few balls of yarn that were just there for show. Isn’t this the saddest and cutest thing you’ve ever seen? It’s really quite terrible. But I’ve learned since then!
This weekend I participated with the Artists of the Rust Belt at their Last Minute Market. I tried something a bit different with my setup and was very pleased with the result. It seemed to work fine, since most of this is gone now. So, I think it’s safe to say things have improved a bit?
For some reason I couldn’t resist jumping on board one last show this year. Why not? I’ve already surpassed my own expectations. First I booked two weekends in a row, then three. Why not add another craft show? Just go for it, right?
I’m going to be in Youngstown again, but at a location never before experienced. I went to the B&O Station once when I was a little kid and all I remember is that it was an expensive restaurant at which we didn’t stay to eat. Now it’s a fancy hall where they have wedding receptions and, apparently, craft shows.
The B&O Station
530 Mahoning Ave, Youngstown, OH 44502
December 21 & 22, 2013
12 pm to 7 pm
12 pm to 5 pm
I am working on a few new items for this weekend. Even though it should be low priority, I couldn’t stop myself from spinning. There will be 11 new skeins of yarn. And so far I have six pairs of mitts done with the intention of doing two or three more this week. Also, I’ve been fooling around with crochet more. I got one clutch done (another in the works) and a button-up neckwarmer. It’s fun! It’s new! I was getting bored!
This past weekend I was at the Holiday Open House & Sale hosted by the Artists of the Mahoning Commons at the Ward Bakery Building in Youngstown, OH. That’s a mouthful, eh? Two different local news outlets came and wrote articles about us. The first was from a TV station. Their article was short, but they included a photo. I ended up in the picture! At least my underwear wasn’t sticking out the back of my pants.
The second article was written by a reporter from a newspaper, The Vindicator. It didn’t have any photos, but it was much longer. He talked to me for quite a while and he was very nice. I feel a bit sorry for him though, having to listen to me ramble on and on about drumcarding and sheep breeds and yarn. A few details in the article are a bit inaccurate, but when you are trying to write about something totally foreign in a small amount of time and you are piecing together my descriptions of how things work, I think you are allowed a bit of wiggle room. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the newspaper before, at least not for this sort of thing.
If you missed out on the show last weekend, you will have another opportunity to shop the weekend following Thanksgiving. The hours are 12 to 5 pm both days. Support Small Business Saturday!
Or at the very least, turning white fiber into colorful fiber. It feels like I’ve been spinning more in the past three weeks than I have all year. Totaled up, I got 10 new skeins done. Some have already found new homes, but I’m going to keep at it this week because I’m not quite done yet.
This past weekend I went to Pittsburgh for Indie Knit & Spin and it was a fantastic day. When the right people are there, ready to shop, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable, it just doesn’t get any better. I sold the Country Craftsman spinning wheel, so now my living room is a bit more spacious (just in time for Christmas!). The totes and bags I just filled with fiber are already empty again, so I see plenty of dyeing in my future, although that can wait until January!
Even though I am done for the year with fiber festivals, I have one more event to attend. I am participating in a local art/craft show this weekend. Many of the other vendors are friends from my days in college, so it will be nice to be “back home” this holiday season. For this event I will need primarily finished goods, but I’m going to bring yarn and a bit of fiber to help fill in the space. I’ve been trying to get as much knitting done as possible, but I always wait until the last minute. And where I should have 50 pairs of fingerless mitts done, I only have 12. My goal is 15, so this week I will be doing a lot of frantic knitting, some felting, a bit of carding, and some spinning.
After all the hubbub dies down, I swear I’m going to start crocheting more. I bought those two books from Knit Picks and I just haven’t had the time to really sit down and work with them. My December and January are clear right now, so I’m looking forward to taking a breather, washing my fleeces, conducting some experiments, and learning a few new things. Sadly, when you are in production mode, you don’t always have the time to explore. But if you don’t, then your work can get dull. It’s a delicate balance.