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.
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.