Fibre East

Tools & Toys Tuesday: Fibre-East Loots!

Fibre-East 2013 Loots

I don’t know if any of you readers are UK fiber*-lovers and might have visited Fibre-East this year, but myself and a couple of friends from my knitting group did and found some lovely treats to take home with us! I have a considerable yarn stash that I will never, ever finish knitting, so I was allowed just one thing, yarn-wise. And it had to be for one of two projects I had written down that I had no suitable stash for. I was a good girl, and it was surprisingly fun to hunt the one perfect skein to come home with me.

My one skein is pure silk, laceweight, from Luxury Yarns, in a color as close to the dress Marilyn Monroe wears in “How To Marry A Millionaire” as I think I’m ever going to find. I’ve been trying for a yarn in that Marilyn color for a long time – I even tried to dye it myself, twice! This yarn is intended for Cloud Illusions by Boo Knits, which I’ll be knit-along-ing with Karen sometime soon!

Also pictured are my two embroidery treats: hand-dyed cotton floss by Oliver Twists, who make the most beautiful colors there ever were. I wanted these flosses last year, and waited a whole year to have another chance at them! The crewel wool is from The Mulberry Dyer, all hand-dyed with natural plant dyes. They have such a gorgeous depth of color! These little bundles are meant for future lyric embroideries, after I finish the Eels lyrics.

So, a big success, I would say! Did you go to Fibre-East this year? What did you think of the new venue? I have to admit, I was disappointed – with stands scattered all over the school like that, it didn’t have the same cohesive feel, as an event, as it did in previous years. We had a lovely time though – there’s nothing like a building full of wool fumes to make a pack of knitters jolly!

* Yes, I am American and I spell it ‘fiber’. But ‘Fibre-East’ is a proper noun and it feels wrong to spell it differently. Such is the confusingly-spelled life of an expat, sigh!

Fibre-East 2012 breakdown

Woohoo, Fibre-East was SO. AWESOME! The Knitters and I had a wonderful time, got lucky with a one-day let-up in the constant rain (this photo makes the sky look ominous and it was getting a little cloudy right as we were getting ready leave, but the rest of the day was lovely), and went home with some beautiful yarny / woolly treats!

My savings jar worked out better than I could’ve imagined:

Which was just the change, there was also some cash stuffed in there and some I had set aside too, so I ended up with about £110 – I never, ever expected the change to be so much though, I will totally do this for events like this from now on! I didn’t notice the little wee bits of money going in there, so I got to enjoy a totally guilt-free shopping spree. Last year I focused on undyed wools and yarns because I had a much smaller spending budget. This year, my jar let me buy a few luxury treats as well.

Fibre-East Loots - dyed

There’s some dyed Wensleydale from the amazing Yarnscape, a big beautiful vampy batt from Boo’s Attic (no website that I know of, which is maybe just as well because I’d never leave it), and a deliciously hot pink Merino / Seacell (a blend I’ve never tried before) from Fluff ‘n’ Stuff (which was the hardest choice ever, I really could’ve spent my whole budget there in about 15 minutes and gone home totally happy).

The Skein Queen yarn is stunning, intended for a Winter Sparkles Shawl. That pattern has been in my queue for-ev-er and I finally found the perfect dreamy yarn for it. The gold is from Oliver Twists (who doesn’t have a website, which is both a shame and maybe lucky, because they had some of the most beautiful yarn I’ve ever seen!) – laceweight silk, totally for no reason other than being beautiful like liquid gold. I couldn’t bear to leave it behind, though I have no specific plan for it.

Fibre-East Loots - undyed

As for undyed treats, I did pretty well there too. I was surprised not to find more stalls with unusual breeds; I wouldn’t say it was disappointing, but that was something I was hoping to find. There were some, definitely, especially in more raw forms, but I was hoping to find more processed wool of new-to-me breeds. I did get some Masham and some Swaledale, neither of which I’ve tried before. These are supposed to be on the less-soft side, but I thought they felt lovely. A little rustic, sure, this isn’t the finest merino, but I actually like a more woolly wool. Those came from Adelaide Walker, where I also got a little bundle of BFL / silk blend – my favorite wool in the world, mixed with silk?! No brainer. Actually, my only regret of the day was not getting more of these small bags from Adelaide Walker, just to try different wools, but honestly, I probably won’t even get to spin all this before Fibre-East 2013 anyway! The bag of fluff is angora straight from the bunny, kind of stinky in a nice animal sort of way (my dog can’t stop obsessing over it), though lovely and soft. The skein is sparkle sock from DT Crafts, which I plan to dye a deep-dark-midnight-blue.

Better get to work, eh? Oh, but wait – first, admire the face on this guy, who really, really wanted to come home with me:

(Anyone know what kind of breed he is? Just curious!)

Fibre-East 2012: the countdown begins now

Fibre East shopping fund

Yesterday I mentioned Fibre-East, and how it happens to time really well for the Tour de Fleece. Fibre-East is an almost-new woolly event near-ish to Bedford (UK), where there happens to be no nearby fiber fair. As far as I know, every other UK wool event is quite a hefty trip away, definitely not do-able from here as a day trip. Lucky for us, Fibre-East started up last year and was enough of a success, they’re doing it again in 2012 – woohoo!

My lovely lovely Thursday Night Pub Knitting group (who I usually just call The Knitters, it’s simpler) took a group outing to the first Fibre-East last year and had an awesome time. It’s still a relatively small event, but was such a lovely afternoon. We found some really gorgeous pretties, all got ourselves little treats, saw sheeps and spinners and wools we’d never felt before, and just generally had such a relaxing woolly day. This year, the event will be a third bigger, and we’ve got a bigger group to make the outing with. At the beginning of the year, I decided I’d make a Fibre-East shopping fund by saving spare change until July. Last year I got a lovely little bag of loots for under £30, so I know I can enjoy myself without a huge budget. I even wrapped some lace around my change jar to make it a little prettier, and stick notes in the jar when I think of anything specific I might look for and don’t want to forget. I’ll share what my change totals up to when I take it to the change counting machine thimagy in a few weeks!

I absolutely don’t need anything, but there some things I might like to look for: some sparkly undyed yarn, batts (always batts – they’re my favorite thing to spin and not always easy to get pretty ones in the UK), something really interesting to try for the Tour de Fleece, laceweight in general (recently realizing there’s a lot of laceweight patterns in my Ravelry queue / favorites, but not much in my stash), maybe enough undyed fingering or laceweight for a cardigan. Before we go, I’ll also go through my queue and stuff to see if there’s any specific projects I’d like to find yarns for. I tend to get flustered when it’s so exciting, and could easily end up just roaming around aimlessly, skittering from one pretty to another. I like to have some ideas jotted down with yardage needed, etc, just in case I panic.

Of course, I could go home with none of these things and a bagful of woolly delights that I haven’t even dreamt up yet!