How can I be such a complete idiot? I went to a fiber festival with a dead camera!!!
Anyway: Friday evening, I made it to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and settled into a Hilton Garden Inn (a chain that is now my favorite -- used to be Hampton Inn, but they're sometimes run down these days) and collapsed. Why? Because of the THUNDERSTORMs. What an ordeal. They came and went, like little nightmares after eating too much rich food -- I'd be driving along and all of a sudden I'd be lashed with huge quantities of rain, as if in the tropics.
The next morning, I took my time. Sat in the nice breakfast area over oatmeal and fresh fruit, with my knitting in hand, until about 10:00 and then took off again. The festival opened at noon -- and of course the weather continued to be squallish. Time and again, as I moved south toward and then beyond Indianapolis, rain and wind boiled up. Because I grew up in a minor tornado alley in Minnesota (the far SW corner of the state), I am hyper-sensitive to the possibility of tornadoes, so the whole thing was unpleasant. The tornado "shelf" accompanied me much of the way -- that nasty black line of clouds from which tornadoes ordinarily touch down. Argh.
But I got there. The entire festival is housed in a single, big steel building at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin, Indiana. That was just fine, given the weather. And, frankly, I was underwhelmed by most of it -- maybe because I go to so many festivals. Its not that the hand-dyed or hand-spun yarns were bad -- only that I have lots of stuff just like most of it in the shop already, and I didn't see anything at first that really popped. Also , this year, the organizers (no doubt for economic reasons) expanded the show to include tool-makers, soap-makers, and so on -- again, not bad, but not what I go to festivals to see ordinarily.
This is not unusual, I should add. I go to the really small festivals on purpose. Often, the table fee is very low, so NEW artisans can get their start there. They are worth finding and then following.
To wit: I found two wonderful Indiana women, across from one another on the far aisle. One of them had huge, squooshy skeins of wool (they started life as Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, then got softer from the vinegar and rinsing involved in the dyeing process) in wonderful shades of gold, purple/blues, wine/reds. So I loaded up, to say the least (36 skeins). Then her friend at Froebe Fibers had done up some really lovely lace-weight and finger-weight yarns in semi-solids. So I loaded up on those as well -- maybe 25 skeins. Huge yardage, and done with food-grade dyes (NOT Kool-Aid, which fades) and proper rinsing.
I also stopped at the Markel Antique Mall in the town by the same name in Indiana -- huge enterprise, with a few interesting button vendors -- walked off with an array of interesting old buttons, some of them Bakelite, others glass and other kinds of old plastic. Cool additions to the collection.
Surprise surprise -- on the way home, I drove through yet more thunderstorms, which I won't describe. Ugh. I also found the world's worst Burger King at a Marathon station in Michigan (near Monroe) which promised sweet potato fries and then couldn't find them (!!!).
Glad to be home.