Each year, fiber artists and others gather at the Allegan County Fairgrounds in western Michigan for the Michigan Fiber Festival -- a lovely, good-sized event with very high quality offerings. This year was no exception -- though I have to say the interiors of the various metal buildings (excepting only the comparatively remote, large "barn") were insufferably hot. One thermometer registered almost one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. That's just plain ridiculous, and if it continues, artisans may well decide not to come to Michigan. Fans succeeded mainly in batting hot air around. Someone needs to give serious, sustained thought to how this very serious problem can be remedied. When you have hundreds of people milling around in that kind of heat, you court disaster, particularly since some of us are no longer 20 years old. I know that the heat also suppressed sales. Nobody buys heaps of wool in 100-degree heat. I actually overheard two women talking about how they were just going to leave because they would be ill if they stayed. Not good. And one vendor told me that her sales were down dramatically as compared to last year. Could be any number of causes -- but the heat surely had something to do with it.
More positively: I saw many of my favorite people -- beginning with the wonderful Ellen Minand of Ellen's Half-Pint Farm in Norwich, Vermont. Ellen makes big, beautiful skeins of hand-painted yarn, typically in DK weight but also in light worsted weight: I got gorgeous hanks of wool-silk and some new fingering weight yarns with a subtle glint -- Angelina or something just like it. They're all in the shop now in big baskets near the door. One of Ellen's hanks makes a woman's sweater up to size large, and Ellen has been known to make additional yarn if needed from a couple of yards; I send it to her and she works hard to get a perfect match. But it's only happened once. And that was with a woman who needed a size 56.
Here are two general shots of the inside of the "barn" -- the only cool building among 5 or 6. I do recommend that everyone drive there next year. Call me -- I will be driving, and I can take up to 3 others in my cute little Beetle. If a large number want to go, we can rent a van from Enterprise. I did that one year, and the result was just incredibly fun. Had I not been working to get a book to press the past couple of months, I'd likely have tried it again this year.
DO NOT MISS the guy with knitted antlers.
Please NOTE that Sarah Peasley comes to the shop this weekend to teach two workshops -- one on double knitting, the other on cables. These are fabulous, and we still have a bit of room. So call the shop pronto. THEN on September 18-21, we have Sally Melville -- the legendary Sally. Check your e-mail (and this site) for further information. Love to everyone.