The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival was this past weekend, and I'm really, really grateful that today is a holiday so that I can rest up! In addition to attending Lucy Neatby's talk on Friday, I took a half-day class on Saturday and a full-day class on Sunday. The whole weekend was so inspiring that I'm going to break it up into a few posts rather than end up rushing through just for the satisfaction of pushing the "publish post" button. Fingers crossed that I don't totally space out on anything!!
I'm still working on my class projects (one will take a long time, but I'm hoping to wrap up the other one today), so I'll put off writing about those for now, and just give you my general impressions, especially vs. last year.
One thing that was very different for me was the number of knitters I knew this year, either from classes I've taken or from the knitting groups I attend. Last year, I went to a few events and took two classes, and I literally knew nobody at all (except my mom, who went to one event with me and shopped during one of my classes). I didn't walk away feeling like I'd really met anyone, either, which is fine--I didn't feel that anyone was unfriendly, and it doesn't really bother me to do things by myself. I do think that I enjoyed it more this year, though--it was really nice to run into so many friendly faces, and have people to exchange vital shopping information with!
Also, a couple of people on Ravelry made Ravelry avatar id tags, and although I neglected to request one (it was a super busy week, I was barely online at all), the tags were a great idea and I saw a lot of them around. In one of my classes, I sat next to C_____a and across from A___C both of whom I recognized right away from their Ravatars. C_____a uses a photo of herself as an avatar, so it's not surprising that I'd make the connection, but A__C has recently been using Sigmund the sea monster, and I'd never have made that connection without the tag!
So, what didn't I like about Madrona. . . . hmmm. Nothing really bothered me this year. The hotel is under construction and is a total mess, but it really didn't inconvenience me, and I think that it will be beautiful and interesting when it's finished. The makeover is long overdue. The hotel is using Tacoma's city-of-art-glass reputation as a starting point and going hog-wild with it, though I don't think anyone will really believe that they are in Murano when they are really in Tacoma. I love the glass viking ships in the lobby (example above), and my understanding is that the renovated rooms have a clean, modern feel. I decided that in my bid to be frugal now for my trip in May, I should cancel the night I'd planned to stay at the hotel, and earmark that money for the Marketplace, and given the renovations I think I made the right decision.
Oh, the Marketplace? You want to hear about the Marketplace? It was bigger this year than last year, with some great vendors that were totally new to me. It's really a nice mix of people who travel from show to show and have a fairly specialized set of products, and a few local yarn stores that have a more comprehensive selection. I saw a LOT of stuff I liked, but decided to concentrate on a smaller quantity of unusual items. I exceeded my budget a little, but not by too much, and the things that I bought are not readily available locally so I feel fine about it.
Here's what I bought:
1 skein of sock yarn from Tactile Fiber Arts, a company that is new to my stash. Their booth was small, but the wall of sock yarn was just gorgeous--the colors blended together so well that it was very tough to make a decision, and also very tough to walk away with just one skein. I have no idea what this color looks like on your monitor, and I'm not totally sure what it is in real life, either. I thought it was a corally dark pink when I bought it, and when I took it outside it looked more red, and the photo above looks kind of orangey. The base yarn is very nice (reminds me of Louet), and the yardage is generous.
Now, the super special yarn that will have to wait for a super special pattern to do it justice:
1,000 yards of handpainted, laceweight cashmere, in the prettiest blues evah. EVAH. It's from Just Our Yarn, and I walked into their booth to take a look at this particular yarn (I researched the vendors in advance, so I wasn't walking in blind), and I immediately walked out with two skeins.
That's it for yarn--when I think of it as three skeins, it doesn't sound bad, right? I also picked up 4 oz. of Bamboo roving from Tactile, I was looking for some to make thrummed mitts ala Grumperina. I also bought a couple of patterns from Black Water Abbey Yarns, they had some beautiful samples out. Someday, I will have a Texture Tote and a Vickie's Cardigan on the needles, but I had the foresight to realize that today is not that day, even though I am all of a sudden very interested in starting a big, cabled project.
Whew! I think that that's more than enough for one post. It's time for my weekday holiday nap, assuming that I can get some dachshunds onboard for that plan!