Sunday, March 27, 2011

Second fiber fair of the season...!

As promised, I drove off to Bowling Green, Ohio, late on Friday afternoon.  I had made what I took to be a firm reservation on a day before at a motel across from Bowling Green State University (a Best Western), but when I got there -- I have trouble depicting the scene in words -- the two young women behind the desk claimed to be unable to find my reservation, even though I had a confirmation number, and were decidedly uninterested in doing anything about the situation ("We don't have it..." -- period...looks of vast boredom).  I stomped out and went to my old fave, which I should have undertaken from the start, the local Hampton Inn -- which was full.   But, in good Hampton fashion, a young woman named Jessica got on the phone and found me what turned out to be a sensationally nice room back up the road near Toledo -- for a huge discount -- with a sofa bed to sit on and a magnificant manager who helped me find a genuinely sensational restaurant in downtown Perrysburg called Stella's.  If anyone is driving up or down I-75 at meal time, go into downtown and find it.  REALLY amazing.  And if you are tempted to drive into Bowling Green long enough to patronize the Starbucks (advertised from the freeway), keep going PAST the Starbucks into Bowling Green's newly spiffed-up downtown and look for Grounds for Thought, a marvelous independent bookseller and espresso shop -- great coffee, great people, and not a burned coffee bean in sight.

Then on to the Bowling Green fair, where I appeared at 9:30 AM (a world's record for a woman who typically is barely awake by 10AM).  Each year, the Black Swamp Spinning Guild (named after the early American land company of the same name?  I wonder if they know that?) sponsors a high-quality, ever-expanding festival at the Wood County Fairgrounds, which is at the outer edge of Bowling Green.  This year, I was gratified to see a LOT of very high quality people in attendance, not least of which was our friend Carol from River's Edge in Grand Ledge, Michigan -- maker of unusual and beautiful rovings, handpainted and novelty yarns, and some other gorgeous things.  With any luck at all, we'll soon have a large supply of her rovings for Artisan Knitworks' small but growing spinning program.   Here is the inauspicious entrance at the fairgrounds:

....and here are a couple of shots of the interior of this surprisingly spacious building (the Junior Fair Building, whatever that means -- for young fairs???). 

And here is the talented, aforementioned Carol of River's Edge -- a happy woman, I'd say!

One of Michigan's most interesting (and less well known) hand painters is Maureen, one of our customers at Artisan Knitworks who used to own her own yarn company and now spends most of her time hand-dyeing and hand-crafting a number of other items for the festivals.  She, too, is a happy woman these days running her company, Twisted Stitches, and talking to people like me (look at the dark plum semi-solid wool-Tencel in the very bottom rack -- before I got there, she had maybe 8 of them -- now she has two):

And I met Amy.  What can be said about Amy?  She is a very naughty, very funny, amazingly gifted maker of small and large project and notion bags -- so of course she calls the company Bad Amy!  I bought one gorgeous little square bag made of fabric with brassieres all over it -- a smaller one with black and white sheep (and a chartreuse sipper!), AND a drawsting-top project bag (suitable for sock knitters) with a genuinely astonishing mix of fabrics.  Really cool stuff.  I decided to buy three and see how people responded-- we have had some trouble with bag sales in the past.   Well.  I got back, put them out, and sold one within about 25 minutes.  I guess people like them.  I will be in touch with the delightful Bad Amy SOON to get a larger supply of her zany, colorful bags.  If you have a yarn operation of any kind and want something FUN, you should do the same thing.  It is also true, and equally important to know, that she is a very, very, very good technician at the sewing machine.


Now I need to grade some papers -- which I hope is a less depressing exercise than two weeks ago, when I graded a stack of very sad mid-term lower-division exams -- and buy some groceries, so that I can say we have more than milk, Egg Beaters, and ketchup in the refrigerator.  More soon.


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