Well, I only had one day to take in the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan this year (it continues through Sunday, don’t miss it). After several years of multiple days to take it all in, the one day was a condensed and intense experience. As always, I loved it.
I headed first to Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm (of Vermont) where I’ve made friends with Ellen and crew. It’s just not Allegan without some yarn from Ellen. This year I got some sockyarn in a 50% wool/ 25% SoySilk/ 22.5% cotton/ 2.5% chitin (from the sea, ground shells of some sort which everyone has been raving about and I’m out of the loop as far as specifics). The colorway is a favorite: turquoise, blue, hot green. And glints of white. Nice.
It has different strands which took dye differently (I”m guessing there are cotton strands which didn’t take when she dyed it with acid dyes made for wool). I love it… even though it has cotton. My friends know I’m not at all big on cotton yarn but this hank of yarn is soft and squishy and has enough wool to make me happy. There are 475 yards in the skein, it’s marked 3.5oz.
I then made my way around to booths where I knew the proprietors. Right next door to Ellen was Deb, who has alpacas and who used to be a manager at Casual Corner when I worked at the Meridian Mall in 1987. Talk about going back a few years! I love seeing her, and hubby Bob, each year.)
I said hi at Heritage Spinning of Lake Orion, MI (where they had yarn in the perfect turquoise… but it was merino laceweight and I just couldn’t imagine anything I wanted to make out of it so I let it go in favor of more sockyarn). I stopped to hug and chat with Tracy Bunkers of Bonkers! Fiber (Lawrence, Kansas). She had not been at Allegan last year so it had been a long two years since we’d talked. I said hi to Toni of The Fold (Marengo, IL)… we used to both be vendors at the now-defunct Bloomiefest for a few years, and I hadn’t seen her since last August.
I chatted with a few more folks who were new to me in the main building, then I went back to the barn building (where on the weekend you can actually see fiber animals, but not on Friday). I lucked out and ran into Andrea Mielke of Mielke’s Fiber Arts (in Rudolph, WI), who had been teaching all day and just got out of class. We chatted intently about historical/ethnic knitting traditions. I really value her thoughtful input. I’m honored to have her as a teaching peer in this business of fiberarts.
I also met Rita who handpaints yarn under the label Yarn Hollow, in Grandville, MI which is really close to Grand Rapids and a good number of Brian’s siblings. At Rita’s booth I bought my second skein of sockyarn and made acquaintance with her and Geniene (who makes felted mermaids, way fun).
It turns out that Rita reads this blog. I can not tell you how much I love each and every one of you who is out there reading, even if I don’t know you. I was just delighted that she said hi and let me know she was a reader here. I felt so welcome! It’s an odd thing to write and not know who is out there. I mean, I get 900 or more intentional viewers a day, and I get somewhere between zero and three comments a day. I only know you are there when you tell me (and those who comment, I love you extra helpings).
The yarn I got from Rita is at right in the photo. It’s a 50% Superwash Merino and 50% Tencel. I’ve never knit with this type of yarn, either. I guess I’m branching out a little. The colorway is called Grateful Thread and it’s pretty ColorJoy to me! It’s a pretty intense sort of rainbow skein. Cherry red, plum, indigo, green, yellow-green, yellow, and a lovely intentional brown. It may take me a while to figure out what this yarn wants to be when it grows up but it will be snazzy when I do. It has 4oz, 412yd, fingering weight.
Last I headed over to Linda of Little Red Schoolhouse Yarn (Lansing, I teach there) because we had plans for dinner. While i was waiting for her to wrap up her booth for the night, I wandered across the aisle to a new double-booth I had not seen before. It was Knitting Notions (Nashville, TN). I asked a few questions (wanted to find superwash worsted weight but she had none so I wandered to the fingering-weight merino washable yarn). As I checked out the selections she checked out a few people.
I chose a gorgeous yarn she calls red-violet which is a semi-solid as many hand-dyed solids are. I love it. It’s a deep shade between magenta and plum, very purple but not blue at all. I find that I wear my solid-colored socks more often than others, and this may just make me a regular-cuff pair plus some footies if I play my cards right. The skein is 100g (3.5oz) and 420yd. Suggested needle is 0-1US (2-2.25mm). I’m going to enjoy the knitting *and* the wearing of these.
So I brought my selection to the cash box. And Catherine said she knew who I was, that she’d read my blog before. We’ve had a short email conversation since then. You know, she wasn’t sure if she should say hi.
You guys… I just have to spell it out here. I am SO appreciative of you. I want to know you if you see me. This life I live is very public, and many people know who I am. That does not mean I’m inaccessible.
I heard second-hand of a young man who sat at the same table as Brian and I at Bliss Fest and he really loves our music but didn’t introduce himself. I’m sad about that. We might have jammed a bit together, perhaps. Then to think that perhaps Rita and Catherine might have chosen to not introduce themselves as ColorJoy friends, well, that makes me sad, too. I realize that they *did* say hi, but who did not?
For the record, I want to meet you. I know I’m easy to spot in a crowd. If you see me at a gathering, please say hello. I’m a woman who works alone much of the time. I type into the ether and I don’t know who listens.
I believe that life is all about relationship, whether it be just a friendly hello and five minutes, or a lifetime friendship. It’s all important and satisfying. I’m public but I’m just plain human, just like anyone else. Please do say hello, OK?
Oh… I guess that was a bit of a digression, please forgive. I bought yarn from Catherine. After that, Linda and I had the best Indian food I know about… at Saffron on Main Street in Kalamazoo. Oh, heaven! I love Indian food, have sampled it in several states and at least one other country.0.. and this one is my favorite over the rest, bar none. Linda liked her meal, too, and hers was very different from mine.
We chatted about life and work and knitting and travel. We just have had trouble connecting this year, so it was really great to have hours to spend with my friend. I got home well past dark, nearly midnight. I had a most satisfying day.
Photos: Yarn from Ellen, Catherine and Rita; Geniene with mermaid and Rita with my skein of yarn.