knitter’s fare

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, projects

whoa, these are some BIG tomatoes aren’t they?? and believe me they taste as good as they look. these are gift from james, who is lise’s husband—his garden is producing much better tomatoes than mine at home is this year and he kindly dropped off a bag to me yesterday, so i could have some good eats while i’m here in waterloo, ontario.

i arrived last friday as the guest of shall we knit? yarn shop and the kitchener waterloo knitters’ guild.

but i feel like i’m the guest of the whole city—waterloo is a wonderful university town with a wealth of interesting things to see and some great outdoor spaces to explore—most of them just outside my door. i was here last year in june and have been very much looking forward to returning.

first up on my week-long agenda was a trunk show/meet and greet in the shall we knit? booth during knitters fair, which took place this past weekend.

i arrived pretty early in toronto, having left our house at 4 am to catch the plane and was ready for a good nap by the time i reached my room. feeling refreshed afterward, i headed over to the shop for the friday evening knit n chat, where quite a crowd was spread out between the porch and the back room. i got right down to knitting and chatting and then totally forgot to take photos, ack.

having spent most of my travel time on a secret project and not wanting to divulge its details in public, i worked on the blümchen sleeve i have going.

i think i added several inches to it that evening, but sleeves, as you know, are long; it won’t look like i’m making any real progress on these for a while.

after the knit n chat, i met up with karen, lynne, lise, and tom at the knitters fair venue, where they were putting the finishing touches on the booth. it’s quite a production to recreate the yarn shop in a temporary space so that it feels like the real shop and the SWK staff does a beautiful job each time.

(aren’t they adorable in their aprons and pearls??)
with most everything installed, we headed home for a good night’s sleep to be fresh for the next morning—which was show day.

all that was left to do was unpack the trunk show and shop samples for the displays. here are a couple shops of us in the booth during those last few quiet moments, when the shelves were still full and everything was in its place.

just before the big flurry of activity after the doors were opened

the booth was thronged with customers all day—it was wonderful and exhilarating to be part of it.

i was scheduled for two hour-long meet and greets, where i got to talk to some knitters who already know me and some knitters who don’t; i enjoyed helping some of them choose project yarn in the booth or patterns to go with yarn they purchased, and just chatting or signing patterns as well.

this is jennifer, who is in our fall in full color project club, wearing her finished longshadows scarf in spirit trail nona, which was the august club project. isn’t she lovely in it?

she was so excited to share it and i was thrilled to see one in the wild.

during the times i was not in the booth, i was free to wander the show and there were a number of friends to visit as well and vendors who were new to me.

here i am with roxanne, whose zen yarn garden yarns are some of my favorites. roxanne has bouncy sock yarn that i know for sure is included in mister knitspot’s lineup of favorite socks as well as several woolgirl clubs.

and she has lovely lace and fingering yarn in luxury blends for myriad other projects. above is her serenity 20, a merino/cashmere/silk 2-ply lace (almost fingering) yarn in colorway frosted kiwi. mmmmmm.

and below, serenity silk single, another delicious merino/cashmere/silk blend, this time in a single-ply yarn that maximizes the softness; shown here in colorway frosted teal. can’t wait to try this one out . . .

just next door to roxanne, kathy had her zig zag stitches booth set up with all manner of project bags.

as you know, i am something of a project bag ho and true to self, i not only had a little fall down in kathy’s booth, but i managed to cheat on michele at the same time—how could i??

well, it was totally unfair to put the bike bags right out front, for one thing. and yes, michele has this fabric too, but i caved when i saw it in person (i’m trying to make up with my bike, which dumped me a few weeks ago, sob).

it could have been worse—she also had owls and poodles but since i saved her booth for the very end of the day, someone else beat me to them and i managed not to get snared into buying more than one (this time).

a little further along, i ran into marcia white

whose needlearts bookshop is one of my favorite places to shop for unusual or hard-to-find needlework books. i bought all of my japanese stitch dictionaries from her and i see she has some great new titles and reissues coming in soon that i’ll want for my library.

it was good to meet marcia in person—we’ve communicated by email for a few years, so it was with much pleasure that i got to see her this weekend.

around the corner was the purple purl booth—hugs and kisses all around; it was nice to touch base with them (i visited their shop last june as well).

now, THAT was all just in one room of the show . . . there was a whole other show floor down the hall a bit.

and the first person i saw there was kim from indigo dragonfly—who has some of the most beautiful (and popular) hand-dyed yarn in canada. she and her husband ron are well-known for the clever names they give to their gorgeous colorways; i’m very fond of their special brand of humor.

i dunno why i don’t have any of kim’s yarn (it’s one of those strange happenstances that i keep meaning to fix), but we did talk about the luscious new polwarth/silk blend she’s working with and what a great sweater that would make . . . so maybe in the near future, eh?

very close by i saw a booth that made my heart go pitty pat—hubbert farms beautiful display of yarn and fiber in all natural colorways of alpaca and gotland, from pale gray to fawn to charcoal. sigh—i just love me some neutrals . . .

and there was jody, who i know from the blog, excited as all get-out to share her beautiful lace shawls knit in her own handspun alpaca yarn. wow

her yarns are spun from some of the fiber blends available on the hubbert website, a couple of which she shared with me so i could show them to you

this little beauteous bump is a blend of brown aplaca, gray gotland wool and silk—just look at the depth created by mixing rich brown and charcoal gray, mmmm

now this is very special—i believe jody carded this for me herself, so it’s not necessarily something that’s available on the site or in the booth, but wow, isn’t it lovely? i am so honored to be carrying this home with me; i can’t wait to spin it. i really need to carve out more time for spinning in my week somehow . . . sigh.

next door to the hubbert booth was another wonderland of natural color at hopeful shetland

michele minty doesn’t have an online shop, but she does have some of the softest and nicest shetland spinning fiber i’ve ever touched, so it’s worth the trouble to contact her through her blog to find out more, or to hunt for her booth at local fiber shows.

she also offers some lovely shetland blends and crosses; i purchased two small bags of shetland/BFL cross blended with silk. it was the softest thing in the booth and i couldn’t resist, mmm.

at the end of that aisle was the gemini fibres booth, which i was not familiar with before, but the display stopped me in my tracks. i’m not a spindler at all but i know there are those of you out there that will appreciate the view i had of their spindle array on saturday morning, just before the doors opened.

i couldn’t even fit it all in the photo!

as i rounded into the last aisle, i saw some concentrated activity in a few places, which is a sure sign that a popular up and coming dyer or fiber producer is in the vicinity.

and sure enough, there was tanis fiber arts, mentioned recently by mister knitspot in his review of favorite socks (i used tanis purple label cashmere sock to knit his cinderblock socks).

tanis has a luscious new single-ply fingering yarn called red label cash silk single, which she was test marketing at the fair. of course i accepted on to bring home to show you—i love this chestnut colorway, thank you tanis!

next to tanis, i saw tabi ferguson showing her intimate sericin collection of luxury fiber blends, handspun skeins, and richly hand-dyed silk yarns.

that shot was taken in a still moment before the doors opened, but a few minutes later, her booth was packed as shoppers made a beeline for her very selective offerings that disappear all too quickly.

i can’t help but enjoy seeing people clamor for the work of someone i know; it’s a wonderful aspect of our community that we can share in each other’s peak moments.

i have a couple of incredible sericin batts at home as well as a beautiful skein of handspun, beaded yarn. i’ve been saving both for the perfect project, but really, it would be much better to use them!

oooh, i have to get going here to organize my talk for the guild tonight, so i’m going to show one last vendor and then skedaddle

viola is another emerging hand-dye company that i’ve been hearing wonderful things about, so i was excited to see that emily, the dye artist at the heart of the label, had a booth at the show

and there she was, right across the aisle from tabi, with a big smile on her face and a booth loaded with charm, cashmere, mohair, and soft merino—what’s not to love?

i’ll leave you to ponder that while i scoot—there are still spots open for my classes at shall we knit? later this week; please join us if you can!

26 thoughts on “knitter’s fare

  1. Wow……I think just the delicious fragrance of all that hand-dyed fiber lusciousness would render me unable to function properly. That is some beautiful stuff!

  2. Wonderful re-cap of the show. I don’t know how you manage to pull it all together into a blog post. When I’m there I’m it all jumbles into a delightful blur of people and yarn.

  3. Thanks for such a great review of the Fair…and for showcasing some vendors I didn’t have enough time to visit. It was great meeting you at my ZigZagStitches booth!

  4. Oh what a wonderful selection of yarn and knitting goodies. Thanks for sharing. (And you made me check in Michele’s shop for new knitting bags. I was strong tho’, for now! But there are one or two rather lovely bags in there calling out to me!)

  5. Haha, no worries, Anne! (Between one bag ho and another) I have one of Kathy’s bags myself – she does beautiful work.

    (Besides, I will get the last laugh – I just discovered a new fabric store today :-))

    Love seeing all the yarn at the show – what fun that must have been. The fumes would have done me in for sure!

  6. Looks like a great time! what pretty yarn! the crowd looks like they are having a great time!

    so funny about the bags – poor, poor Michele – LOL. And, no, Michele – you shouldn’t divulge you found a new fabric store – I’m one of the addicted too!

  7. Holy moly I am on fiber overload!! So many amazingly beautiful yarns and fibers!! Soft shetland is my favorite fiber to spin….so lovely.

    It makes me smile to see your samples displayed and see a few of my yarns…you are an amazing knitter!

  8. Oh, the tomatoes! I have a hard time making peace with the coming coolness, but the harvest makes things much more bearable.

    I made soup yesterday with tomatoes from a knitting/gardening friend… and blackeyed peas, spinach, onion, and a few frozen green peas. It was magnificent. I’ve been experimenting with making my own crackers, so I had some of those with it. The soup was better than the crackers, but there’s nothing like homemade. Even my experimental crackers were better than saltines!

    Sounds like a great weekend. I had a music weekend this week. Next weekend is a knitting weekend. All good.

  9. Hi Anne,

    I met you at the Knitter’s Fair, but I’m ashamed to say I was too shy to tell you what a wonderful designer you are! I’m currently working on a Simurgh to give to my mom, and I really am enjoying this pattern. I think I’ll have to make one for myself as well! Thanks for being so lovely!

  10. Oh, those tomatoes!! I have a bunch of tomatoes, but living at 7,250 ft in elevation I never ever get such beautiful produce in my garden!

    I love your blog/patterns /getting to read about so many wonderful things! Thank you 🙂

  11. Those ‘maters look yummu juicy, perfect for a ‘mater sandwich.

    Jody’s shawl patterns are lovely! Where does one find the patterns?

  12. What a yarn and fiberlicious knitters fair! It is always wonderful to go along with you on your travels.

  13. Great blog Anne; loved the pictures. I am sure Michele will understand your unfaithfulness! hahaha And I see she’s found a new fabric store (be still my heart!). This is all getting me excited for Rhinebeck!

  14. Thanks for all the great photos and commentary. Makes me feel as though I was there, myself. Greatly appreciated.

    You’ve intrigued me with the photos of the Viola yarns, which I have not previously seen. They look beautiful. I must go in search of some!

  15. I don’t think I can think straight in these fairs- all that yummy yarn! Do you know what pattern is that wrap with the holes on one side in your pic (of Indigo Dragonfly, I think?) above Hubbert yarns? That looks like a cool knit!=)

  16. Anne, How come you did not mention your interview on the FiberBeat podcast?!! I love Mike’s shows and I’m looking forward to some quiet time tonight so I can listen to you.
    Thanks for your garden tours and also letting us tag along with you to the knitters fair.

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