Strategies for a yarn fair

Every fall I try to go to a yarn fair. I simply love it and I’ve become very good at it. I have developed a strategy and I know what I like.

2014  2015  2016  (I was there in 2017 too, I just never blogged about it.)

This year I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it, with everything going on. Then, during the summer, I started to get updates of a new yarn fair, not too far from my town. Two of my knitter friends and I talked about it and decided to go and one sunny but windy Saturday in September we went.

It was a lovely fair, and a lot bigger than anyone expected. So many yarn producers and dyers. I did what I usually do at a yarn fair and despite there being so many people I was in and out as quick as one could ever expect with a lot of goodies and I don’t regret a single one, this even without making any research in beforehand. That’s when I realized afterwards how much of a strategy I have developed over the years.

Here is my guide to a successful fair visit, using my strategies.

1. Know what you like – and what you don’t.

I like merino. I can spot it from far away and I’m drawn to it like a moth a to badly protected yarn stash. I don’t like single ply though so this means that I can skip anything that is single ply and not merino.

2. Know your vendors

This is tricky and becomes easier with experience, obviously, but I follow a lot of vendors on Instagram, I hear about independent dyers, I try to keep an ear on the yarn world ground, so to speak. This means that I know what I find interesting and what is not really for me.

3. Decide on a budget

It’s easy to get carried away so decide on a budget before you go, and remember, it’s cool to be able to buy food and pay rent.

4. Be systematic

This was a small marketplace and it was easy (especially for someone as tall as me) to get an overview of the place. I started in one end and worked my way trough, using numer 1 and 2 above. I stopped at the booths that I liked and skipped the ones that weren’t for me.

5. Think it through before you purchase

I have peviously made a guide on how to buy yarn and this applies to yarn fairs as well. You don’t have to have a specific project in mind but try to think of items a specific yarn could be used for. Compare colors, do they complement each other? Also, if the vendor is new to you, pick a skein or two just to try it out, then when you know you like it, you can get more at a coming event.

.6 Go by yourself

Of course it’s more fun to visit a yarn fair with your friends and I don’t say you shouldn’t (I do it all the time) but what I do say is that while at the fair it’s easier to browse by yourself. You might not want to go to the same booths as your friends and it’s neither fun to wait for someone who has trouble deciding nor is it fun to have someone waiting for you while  your are trying to make a super hard and super important decision on wether you need two or three skeins of bright yellow, hand dyed, merino sock yarn. Also, if there is a lot of people, chances are you will lose each other in the crowd so it’s better to pick a time and a place to meet instead of spending way too long searching for your friend who was last seen behind the DK wool in the far right corner. Once you’ve each done your tour around the fair, meet up for coffee and show off your purchases.

Yarn fairs are wonderful! These are my strategies and they have worked wonders for me so far. Of course there are other ways to work a yarn fair but this is how I do it.

I’m not organized but at least I’m a knitter

I am not one of those people who plan ahead and put my winter clothes in marked boxes in the attic in April and switch them with summer clothes in October. I wish I was but I’m not. Perhaps if it  was easier, if circumstances were different, I’d do that. As it is, all winter coats and hats and mittens are in the hallway all year round. It’s not a good system, let me tell you, because once the cold weather comes I can never find mitts, mittens and so on. At least not two of each. The other day I found one yellow mitt and one purple. They just simply wouldn’t go together.

Then I remembered! I had a pair of unused mitts that I made a year ago for an acquaintance. Then I realized she wouldn’t want them and I’m not the one to knit for someone who is not going to appreciate it, so I kept them and figured I would just give them so someone else. I haven’t though which turned out to be lucky. Instead of looking through the entire appartment (and who has the time to do that before you leave the house?) I just picked these up and off I went, as warm as ever. It’s not really my color but the pattern is beautiful and the yarn is lovely and I will just keep wearing them till I either find two yellow or two purple mitts or I finish the blue version if these mitts that I started over a year ago but never finished – which ever comes first.

Most likely I will lose one of these mitts before any of that happens, but hopefully by then I have made myself (or someone) another pair. Either way is good.

Pleasures of summer pt. 2.7 – the light

Well, technically it’s fall but still. We can also enjoy the pleasures of fall. The light. Being semi young in this in credible town and watch new students arrive. The smell of late night lectures and setting sun. The light. I love it. It’s different depending on the season but oh, so lovely no matter what time of the year it is. You just have to stop and look at it.

Bring the bonnet back

It’s getting cooler and it’s time to start put on your hand knits. Last fall I made three hats, or rather helmets. They are the funniest shape but a quick knit and fairly fun to make.

Once you finish the knitting you have no idea how on earth that will transpire to a hat. When you sew the head seams you get a better understanding but the helmet still looks super weird until you put it on, then everything makes sense.

Hats have a tendency to drop off a baby’s head but these helmets stay put and they really cover the ears, something other hats might have trouble with. It’s tricky for a ht with a round brim to cover both ears while not covering the eyes.

This helmet has a brim in a zigzag pattern and therefore the ears are covered and they eyes are not. A very good feature in a hat.

Pattern: Hjälm from Nordiskas stickbeskrivning. Yarn: Mandarin Petit from Sandnes, color 4621, Drops Safran from Garnstudio, color 01, and Baby Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss, color 340018 Light Pistachio. No mods.

I must hate myself

Why do I keep doing this to myself? I mentioned earlier this summer that I don’t like these kinds of yarn balls. In some kind of weird irony three of my projects this summer has been knit or crochet with yarn that comes like this. That is a total of eleven yarn balls! I need to stop it! After this project…

Purty!

There is not much knitting going on right now. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to take advantage of the opportunities that arises. I simply forget to pick up my knitting. Or even worse, I forget to bring it. This will not be good for me in the long run.

Today I did manage to squeeze in a few rows though. I’m slowly moving forward with my shawl design and let me tell you, I love it! It’s turning out great! I can’t wait to see its progress. I probably should try to squeeze in some more knitting…

I can feel it

First day of the new university semester. This is, finally and from what I can tell right now, my last semester at uni. When the tundra rose blooms, the sky feels higher and the air smells of ripe apples, that’s when school starts and you know it’s fall. It means the start of something and fresh books and new pens. It’s easier to breathe and anything can happen.

It makes me wistful but it’s good, it’s familiar and comforting. There will always be a new fall and the beginning of a new school year. It’s safe and maybe every school year is not super exciting but this year is. It feels great.