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Yarn makes the world go round, AKA Morti's guide to festival yarn buying

Last month I mentioned I went to the annual sheep fest in New Hampshire. This and the Vermont sheep fest are the only two I've been interested in hitting for the past few years. (Just the thought of all that human traffic at Rhinebeck gives me the heebie jeebies, which is too bad since it is an extensive festival.)

I also mentioned last month the lesson I learned regarding sheep fests. Now everyone is different and shops and stashes differently. Ergo this lesson may only be mine to learn, but be_that_as_it_may, I'm going to share it here 'cuz that's how I roll.

Well, now that I ponder on this subject there are several lessons I have learned over the years. So here they are, with no importance implied by their ranking:

1. At any given time, I have a tendency to be in love with a narrow field of colors. So I must remember not to buy more than one yarn in the same hue and intensity. Do not do this, Morti.

Why, you ask? Well when you get home and you lay the stash out on the nearest surface to oogle and breathe in those special festival yarn fumes you will look down and be like, geesh? I thought I bought more yarn than this. I mean I spent $___. Where did it go? Buying yarn in the same color family makes your haul look small.

And not that a small haul is bad, because that's not the point I'm driving at. The point is that a festival is a one day a year event. I want it to be memorable, as well as filled with rainbows and unicorns. If I look down at a stash in a narrow paletted range, I'm gonna feel I didn't take advantage of the festival. I'm gonna feel I failed that festival, and the yarn gods, themselves. And regret is on my list of feelings never to feel ever ever again.

2. If you want specific books or specific issues of knitting mags write down the names and titles and, where appropriate, author names. You think you are going to remember that title, or that author, or the cover of the magazine you are looking for but you won't. You will be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds and completely lose your focus.

3. Don't lose piece of paper with info for #2.

4. Really, don't lose piece of paper with info for #2.

5. (See how I'm padding this list, like I know what I'm talking about and have important expertise to impart? )

6. Try not to buy commercially available yarns. Specifically, if you can buy a yarn at your LYS, don't buy it at the festival. Save this business for your LYS.

Yes, festival participants are paying for a booth, too. They're just as good as your LYS, but that's not the point. Your local LYS needs your business. She is most likely a small business owner making a go of it in a really tough economic climate. She is a priceless resource that you may only need rarely, but when you do you want her there, so make sure to spend money at her store even if all you like is indie, artisanally dyed yarns.

You need conventional yarns sometimes, and you want your LYS to sell them to you when you need them. Otherwise, if she goes out of business, you'll printing out all the locations of nearby Michaels and A.C. Moores and spending an entire weekend tooling around trying to find an acceptable substitute. Your LYS has the yarn for you in a pinch. Support her. (Now, get off soapbox.)

7. If you're at Rhinebeck, or by default any large festival like Maryland Sheep & Wool, you should buy a yarn you love when you see it. You may regret it, but you can easily rectify this by selling it on Ravelry. You probably won't lose much, festival yarn has a cache that some rav buyers crave.

Now, if you don't buy that yarn, you can never rectify anything and you will die a lonely death with a large, but diffuse air of defeat about you knowing you failed to buy the perfect skein of yarn. You know that skein I'm talking about. That skein would have made all of your knitting perfect, because it was perfect. You'll never ever find a yarn as good as that again. Go get a tattoo of Festival FAIL on your forehead. You suck.

At smaller festivals, you don't have to worry about this worry. You can spy that perfect skein and then come back to it some time later to make sure it is the perfect skein and not a transfigured Peter Pettigrew of a rodent. A stasher needs perspective to zero in on the perfect festival yarn. Smaller festivals allow you this perspective. Since I am an anti-socialite and don't go to festivals for the people this makes small festivals the best places to find the perfectest, one-of-a-kind yarn.

The perfectest, one-of-a-kind yarn is what makes a festival full of rainbows and unicorns people. If you learn nothing, learn this.

8. And lastly, but not leastly, and probably not even lastly but it has to be for now because I've run outta steam, break the bank if you really need to. Short term banking problems are nothing compared to regretsy. Remember? There is nothing worse than yarn regret. Nothing.



Knitting Kris said…
Confessions.....I violated #1 and #7 this year at Maryland. That festival is overwhelming! This year I tried to be more mindful in my stashing habits, and I was! But I still brought home the cool colors, but also with a purposeful shot of red for a specific project. So maybe not a total violation, right?
I suffered severely with festival failure for about a week, and then assuaged myself with yarn from Australia, so all is better now. Nothing like foreign yarn to ease the pain!
PS -I like the "Morti" nickname.