We love going to Oxford. That location at the end of January means we mostly have real winter, often with snow or ice or just really cold temperatures. This year it started out cold and warmed up to nicely chilly. Everyone is warm and welcoming and we get quite a few attendees telling us how glad they are that we are back. How cool it that? The venue is totally wonderful. It's the old powerhouse, named The Powerhouse, with concrete floors and old brick walls. It's a small show by some standards but we always do well. There were 11 vendors this year, all of them cherry picked to be the best and most wonderful. Several of our favorite vendors were absent this time around but I'm sure we will see them next year. The festival people have managed to create an ongoing buzz that seems almost to be self perpetuating. There are lots of great attendees - students from Ole Miss, university staff and associates, townspeople and visitors from out of town and out of state. It's a great cross section! Adults come with or without children. There are great classes taught by the vendors - knitting, dyeing, crochet, felting, etc. Some are aimed at the kids and others at accomplished craftsmen honing their skills.
The Oxford Fiber Festival is spearheaded by Knit 1 Oxford, our most favorite yarn shop ever. Patsy Engelhard is the owner and she is the heart and soul of Knit 1. Patsy and I have a very long history having known each other since about kindergarten. Patsy has gathered a great team at Knit 1. They are knowledgeable, helpful and friendly and available for questions or classes or whatever knitting related issues you might have. Knit 1 is an amazingly happy place to be.
We do a variety a fiber festivals during the year and this is the only one where we teach. I think Peggy is a great teacher and I'm not too bad either but I'm always anxious about it and when there are customers in the booth that is where I'd rather be. This year Peggy taught a class on the crocodile crochet stitch. It's a new stitch she learned recently and it makes a fabulous accent to almost any crochet project.
I taught a kid's dye class using Kool-Aid and an advanced spinning class using art batts, metallic threads, flowers and dyed mohair locks. Both were a lot of fun. While we have dyed a fair amount using Kool-Aid, this was the first time teaching it and we will make changes for the next time. Our microwave wasn't nearly powerful enough - the kids had to wait much longer than I had hoped to see their final happy yarn - so we will replace it. The kids did great and went away with lots of happy yarn.
The festival was Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, Peggy and I taught a Cricket weaving class at Knit 1 Oxford. Yet again, it was lots of fun. We had a group of women who hadn't done any weaving before along with a young lady who was being taught how to weave by her grandmother.
We left Oxford early on Monday morning and arrived home that night. Since we got back I've been working on getting the trailer unloaded (not quite finished), all our inventory put away (not hardly finished) and tying up all the loose ends (mostly finished). I'm happy to report that all the items I promised to ship have either been shipped or are packed and waiting to go to the post office. All the emails I promised to send have been sent, all the photos I promised to pass along have been passed. For all those who know me well - yes, I'm reorganizing the studio (yet again) as I put everything away. There are always those corners that need to be cleaned out and cleaned, those boxes that need the same. I'm working on it!