Are you considering visiting a fiber arts festival this year? It’s a ton of fun but can also be totally overwhelming, so check out these 5 tips to make the most out of your fiber fest!
Plus, check out my gorgeous yarn haul from Vogue Knitting Live ‘23.
Before You Go to the Fiber Arts Festival
Do these 2 things before you go to ensure you get exactly what you want (and not more than you can afford) every time.
1. Prep Your Project List
The Problem With No Plan
You see the perfect yarn. You squish it and it’s like a cloud. You’re high on yarn fumes and you buy all of it—I mean there are some projects that need 2700 yds and you don’t want to not have enough. Then you get home and… now what? Your stomach sinks as you pat it and then stick it on top of your already overflowing stash.
Without a plan for your yarn, you’ll worry if you’re buying too much or too little, only to have it languish in your stash for longer than you care to think about.
When I buy yarn just because it’s pretty, it tends to hang in my stash for 1-3 years before it gets knit. And that entire time, it mocks me every time I pass it. “Whatcha gonna do? Huh? What now?”
But this time I had a plan.
What Is A Project List & How to Prep It
Go to Ravelry or wherever you keep your favorite patterns and pick out which ones you’d like to make. Aim for a mix of a big and small projects in a few different weights.
For example, I had a DK weight sweater, a sport weight cowl, a worsted weight shawl, and a few sock patterns on my list.
Next to the name and yarn weight, write down the yardage/meterage that you’ll need to make the project in your size.
And bada-bing bada-boom, you know exactly what you need and what it will be used for. So when you see the most gorgeous sport weight yarn in your life, you know that you need exactly 230 yds to complete the cowl of your dreams.
2. Set a Budget
I know, know. The dreaded B word. But seriously, a budget is your friend.
A budget is what keeps you from the stress and guilt of overspending. But more importantly, the budget is what will allow you to have pure and unadulterated joy in the items that do come home with you.
So decide what it is before you go and stick to it. (Tip #3 will help you do it without regret.)
At fiber arts festivals there tends to be a kind of money blindness. You’re caught up in the moment with all the people and the yarn fumes and it’s amazing and you can swipe on a sweater quantity of the best indie dyed yarn you’ve ever seen before you even know the price.
It’s yours and you feel amazing until you’re back at the hotel or all the way back home only to realize that a $376 sweater (along with all the other goodies you swiped) was waaaay too much for your bank account, causing stress and resentment towards yarn that should be loved!
Always ask for the price and don’t feel bad if you have to put it back. There’s another perfect yarn out there for you.
Why do Pre-Fiber Arts Festival Planning?
This might sound like a lot of work or two unnecessary steps. But unless you have unlimited time and money (may I ask what profession you’re in?), these two little steps will help you have nothing but happy feelings towards the yarn that comes home with you.
And let me tell you from experience, that is a lot of fun!
When You’re At the Fiber Arts Festival
3. Tour Before You Buy
There is a lot of AMAZING yarn at a fiber arts festival. And they have it knit up in samples that absolutely gorgeous. (Here’s looking at you textured wrap in Picante from Murky Depths.)
Indie dyed yarn is a work of art.
But if you bought every skein of yarn that tickled your fancy, (a) you wouldn’t be able to pay your mortgage this month or (b) you’d run out of money before you found the yarn you couldn’t live without.
Think of the fiber arts festival like speed dating. There are going to be a lot of dates that make you think “he’s worth a chance,” but here you need to wait for the no-questions-in-your-mind “he’s the one.”
And it may take you a whole lap around the marketplace to know the difference.
How it worked for me!
At VKL, I had loved a lot of different yarns as I walked marketplace that first night and had the thought “I’ll come back for you.” It wasn’t until (3/4 of the way through the floor) I ran into the perfect skein on Cher on Merino DK at Cowgirl Blues and I simply could not let go of it, even for a moment, that I knew the feeling I was looking for.
I felt that way about every single skein I came home with and I practically glow every time I look at my haul.
4. Take LOTS of Breaks
Going to a fiber arts festival is amazing, but it can also be overwhelming. The colors and noise and crush of people can lead to sensory overload. And if you’re not careful, you can wear yourself out too fast so that the rest of your experience isn’t fun.
The first night we hadn’t even made it to the end of the first floor when all of the sudden I started feeling pain… pretty much everywhere. I looked at my watch only to realizing we’d been going for 2.5 hours straight (after a day of travel, classes, and walking everywhere for meals).
The next day we were smarter.
Every time we entered the market place, we set a timer for 1 hour. When it went off, we got some water and found a place to sit for a little bit.
After every few hours, we returned to our room to put our feet up and bask in the calm and quiet for a few minutes.
We were able to last longer, have more fun, and nix the pain on day 2.
5. Ask All the Questions & Talk to Everyone
Have you had a burning question about how difficult mosaic knitting really is? Or maybe you just want to know if these two colors go together. ASK!
At no other place than a fiber arts festival will you find so many knitters and so many yarn enthusiasts ready to talk you through any questions you might have.
Is this yarn good for socks? Yep. Will this give me the drape I want in this sweater? No, but try this one.
What on earth is the contiguous method?!? (It’s amazing, I took a class on it.)
Everyone that I talked to was just as happy to be there and talking yarn as I was! And the more we talked, the more fun we had!
Fun At Vogue Knitting Live!
I had a blast at Vogue Knitting Live! And I met some truly amazing people and learned about new dyers and yarn brands (many of which I had never heard of).
I also came home with some fabulous yarn that you will be seeing starting in April all the way through the fall (because I came prepared with that project plan).
Check out the fabulous yarn and supplies below!
Are you Ready For Your Fiber Arts Festival?
So you are you ready to go? Do you have your list, budget, and walking shoes packed?
What fiber arts festival do you want to visit this year?