....so today was the Waterloo-Kitchener Knitters' Fair at a very nice and quite large conference center in Kitchener, Ontario -- I have wanted to go for a couple of years but had always gone to the Jefferson County (Wisconsin) fair instead -- I decided to put Larry in the car and go to Canada finally, knowing full well that if I went nuts and bought too much stuff for the studio, I'd have to explain myself to the customs guys, who sometimes don't have a sense of humor.
It was a good, good day. Why can't we have highways like that? Smooth, beautifully free of ugly billboards, and well appointed with gas stations (though well off the road). Not a long drive, but I am tired to start with (the Third Coast festival looms, my semester at Wayne State has begun, I have an unfinished book ms., etc.). There were about 70 vendors, maybe a few less -- maybe a third of whom were yarn shops -- The rest were handdyers and other makers of beautiful goods -- beads, buttons, roving (though not as much roving as at American festivals, for which I was personally glad). VERY high quality, which has been my experience each time I go to a Canadian festival (as with the Frolic each year in downtown Toronto).
I didn't buy much -- four beautiful, fat skeins of chunky wool with gorgeous variegations. I think I'll put them in little kits with the Mad Hatter pattern and see if people see what I'm imagining. They'd be great material for chunky bucket hats with a big retro flower on one side. I also got a dozen elegant (not encrusted with cutesy painted crapola, as they often are) yarn bowls -- hope people like 'em as well as I do. I've had some requests, and I just can't find very many that aren't overdone. I also found a gorgeous, gorgeous maker of wool-cashmere blend fingering-weight yarn in just plain stunning monochromatic, layered colorways. So I got several skeins to see how people respond. They are a bit on th pricey side. Worth every penny. One skein would make a small shawl -- and if people love them, I'll get more (IndigoDragon). And, finally, I grabbed maybe a half-dozen shawl pins, THE most beautifully crafted polymer clay pins I'ver ever seen, beautiful surfaces, a steel shank in the pin part, unbelievably gorgeous in shape. Again, not overwrought, just well crafted. Here's Cynthia, who makes the pins:
We also connected again with a woman we once bought yarn from at the Frolic -- Creative Yarns -- who is making some truly beautiful, silver-laced lightweight wool. I'll wait until I get a packet from her and then glom onto some of them.
On the way back, we drove 25 kilometers out of the way to find a MEADERY -- what a wonderful, Olde English concept!
They have honey bees and they make not only honey but mead! We both had thought it would be too sweet to tolerate -- but NO. It's like a lovely, complex semi-sweet white wine with low undertones of honey. Got two bottles, one sweet, the other medium sweet. If you come into the shop today or tomorrow, you can taste it! Also the little honey candies they make and sell......
While we were there, I was talking to the owner, and as we talked about currency and whether she could take American bills, I was reminded all over again of how awful Americans can be. She apparently has lots of people come in with American money and DEMAND change in American currency. It's Ontario in another country. So she says to them, "Do you think I'd get Canadian money back anywhere in the United States?" And of course most people in the US won't even take Canadian money (now on a par with ours), much less give Canadian change. Someday, I hope to see a bit less colonialism -- that is, too many Americans don't really think of Canada as a sovereign nation, not even in borderlands like Detroit, where Windsor is across the river and Canadians readily take U.S. money. Why not do the same? Or at least not get mad when people don't want to stock two currencies when they give change. What a sad commentary. svb