Every year, usually in the fall, Peggy and I try to get out of town to a new fiber festival - a festival where we can run around and buy things and look for inspiration and great ideas both for our yarn and fiber but also for our booth. This is a time to be buying not selling. Our first fiber festival experience was the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in West Friendship, MD just outside of Baltimore. It was wonderful and crazy and exhausting and completely overwhelming. We loved it and were hooked! Since then we have been to OFFF (Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival in Canby, OR), Estes Park Wool Market (Estes Park, CO) and Taos (Wool Festival at Taos in Taos, NM). We tried to get to Rhinebeck (New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY) one year but the logistics of that trip didn't work out. We loved OFFF and had planned to go back last fall but the birth of my grandson intervened.
This year we went to SAFF. That's the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival in Asheville, NC. Several people we met at the Spin-In in Destin, FL raved about SAFF and since we hadn't been back to the east coast in a while it seemed like a good idea. It was great!
The festival was held at the Ag Center literally across the street from the Asheville Airport. Asheville has the cutest little airport I've flown into in decades. They have 7 gates and it feels like about 10 feet from the gate to the front door. It was such a delight after flying in and out of Houston all the time. The Ag Center is a collection of buildings and barns with ample parking. It's a nice venue with plenty of room for animals and classes and vendors. We each took several classes and they were beautifully organized.
There are several great things about going to a fiber festival across the country - getting out of town, seeing different topography and a different climate, a complete change of schedule and all the different vendors. Some vendors travel to all the big fiber festivals so you see them where ever you go - Brooks Farm Yarn comes to mind. Many vendors are like us - they decide how far they are willing to drive to a vendor event so can only be found if you go to their part of the country. It's so interesting to see different local vendors.
Walter Turpening was there. I have one of Walter's weaving benches and I love it! He makes them to order after taking specific measurements - like the length of your lower leg, the height of your treadles and the height of the breast beam of your loom. Yes, I ordered another weaving bench - this one on rollers for my 6' wide loom.
Carol Leigh and Denny from Hillcreek Fiber Studio were there with their wonderful triangle looms and copies of Carol Leigh's new book about weaving on frame looms. It's a fabulous book with great ideas!
Also there were Gale's Art,Gwenyth Glynn Wensleydales, Stony Hill Fiberarts, Good Fibrations and Plays in Mud Pottery along with so many more that I can't remember.
So here is the summary - SAFF is great! Nice people, good travel arrangements, beautiful weather, lovely hills and valleys, wonderful vendors, great venue, lots of fun!