Sunday, November 04, 2007

Who needs Rhinebeck ...

when you have Torrance? [laugh]

Today was the Southern California Handweavers' Guild's Weaving and Fiber Festival in Torrance, CA. I went with fairly low expectations given the size of this year's Fiber Fest in Santa Monica. I was very pleasantly suprised by the activities though.

S was kind enough to drive over to Torrance with me for the day (he dropped me off and went off on his own) and we arrived about 10 minutes after the opening. I was very impressed to see a line of people waiting to get in!

The Guild had a raffle with lots of prizes set up in the front room...

as well as some good exhibits.

And then of course there were things to buy... 3 fairly large rooms full of things to buy in fact. This is a small part of the Village Spinning and Weaving table (this is a store out of Solvang, that's close to Santa Barbara... almost local). I'll show you what I got there in a minute.

There were books...

there was fiber...

and of course there was yarn.

There was a decent selection of all things knitting, weaving, and spinning. There were buttons, and beads, and wheels and looms. The crowd was large enough to feel energetic but not so crowded as to be claustrophobic. There was a good chance to see (and buy) some unusual things and to pet pretty yarn and fibers.

I did quite a bit of advanced planning for this shopping venture. I typically buy yarn for specific projects and find myself a bit overwhealmed when faced with yarns and fibers that I know I won't have any specific outcome for when purchasing. I feel this way in yarn stores too unless I'm looking for one specific thing.

So over the past few days I made myself a wish list of yarns with the various weights and yardage I'd need. I also (very smartly it turns out) brought my yarn example cards with me. What are these you might ask? Well they are index cards to which I've taped pieces of yarn of various sizes so I have examples of what sock weight looks like, what chunky looks like, what worsted weight looks like. I actually created them when I got my Joy so I could think about what different weights would look like when spinning. They were a life saver today when I was faced with lots of yarn, none of which were marked with weights (all I got was content and, sometimes, yardage). Using my cards I could tell generally what each skein might give me knitted up.

The other thing I did before this trip was print out a guide regarding how much yarn is needed to knit a sweater, or scarf, or hat, etc. I hate that feeling of not knowing how much to buy. It's still a bit of a guess, but I feel like it's at least educated this way. Of course the real trick is when you see a sport weight yarn and you wonder if you doubled it if it would knit up as Aran and if you did that then how much should you buy. You see the where the math skills come into this hobby?

There were some really wonderful things to see, yarn wise. There were several booths selling hand dyed yarns... everything from silk to merino to cashmere. While all of this was beautiful, most of it had price tags to match its value. I decided not to purchase any of this today (I am trying to live within a budget these days).

So what did I buy? Well I bought bargains!

On the spinning front, I purchased an extra bobbin for my Joy and a handcrafted niddy noddy (you can see both at the top of the photo). Both of these came from Village Spinning and Weaving. I was hoping I could find an affordable niddy noddy. When I was looking in this store's booth, I found a bin of what I thought might be niddy noddys but just wasn't sure. I asked and sure enough, that's what they were. They are very clever and come apart for easy storage. They are hand made such that the two dowels that form the arms are turned so only one end will slide into the holes. This prevents them from sliding in one side and then out the other. When you are ready to take the skein off the niddy noddy, you just pull out one of the dowels and you're set. For storage, you simply have three flat pieces that lie parallel (and look not much like a niddy noddy... grin). I think this is quite nice, I love that the niddy noddy is hand crafted, and it was very affordable. They have some on their website for sale if you want to see more images.

On the fiber front, I found some great sale yarn at Newton's Yarn Country which it turns out is based out of Anaheim. First, on the far right, I got 4 skeins (320 yards each) of Softball Cotton (a three-ply, 100% combed cotton) in a rich brown color. I also got 2 giant skeins (650 yards each) of Softball Cotton Bulky in a dark grey color and 3 more of these in a blush color (320 yards each). I'd say that the bulky dark grey and blush cotton is actually about a worsted weight yarn and the brown yarn is more of a DK weight. Of course, I won't really know what I've got until I try swatching some up. I'm hoping that I'll be able to come up with some summer sweaters with each of these though.

I had hoped to find some good wool yarn in aran weights for winter sweaters but this was not to be today. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy with my purchases and had a great time looking around. It is good fun to be in an energetic place full of happy yarny people.



Octopus Knits said...

Sounds like fun!... and so smart of you to go prepared.

Knitting Bandit said...

You're so organized. and Smart. I wish I had been that way when I first started knitting and stashing. I have so much yarn that I bought just because it was pretty or on sale that I just don't know what to do with it.