What a wonderful weekend I had! SAFF is a fabulous festival. Large enough to offer a wide variety of everything a knitter, spinner, weaver, or other fiber artists needs or wants. Small enough that the vendors weren't rushed, allowing time for them to talk about their wares and make you feel welcome. I made a rule for myself that I wouldn't buy anything that I could get at home and I pretty much kept it.
Jim and I left Atlanta around noon on Friday and drove all the way to Asheville in torrential rain. We arrived about 5:30 due to stoppage for new windshield wipers (fun putting those on in the driving rain!), lunch, and a very scary, but eventually no-harm, no-foul hydroplaning incident on I-26. After checking in and a very quick cleanup and change of clothes, we joined a horde of other Atlanta area knitters/bloggers for dinner at the Holiday Inn. Claudia did a great job of arranging the get together and I believe a good time was had by all. I was a bad blogger and didn't pull out my camera, but I know if you go to Claudia's blog, she'll have wonderful photos of everyone and everything. After dinner, we adjourned to the lobby for a few hours of knitting and gabbing. I finally had to give in to exhaustion and called Jim to come get me so I could be ready for SAFF the next day.
As horrible as Friday's weather was, Saturday turned into a glorious, if cool and windy day. I arrived at SAFF just minutes after the 9:00 opening. This was my first time coming to this festival, and I was immediately impressed with the venue. (click all photos for bigger.)
SAFF is held at the NC Agricultural Center, and this building is obviously used for all kinds of livestock events. The floor is dirt, although it was covered for SAFF. There are concrete benches, as well as movie theater type seats around the perimeter. I spent the first three hours going around and around and around both upper and lower levels. And buying stuff, of course. At noon, there was a blogger/knitter/spinner meetup on the concrete steps. It was great to see all my Atlanta friends, and I also met lots of new to me bloggers. Again, I was so busy enjoying myself that I didn't take many pictures, and I also neglected to write down everyone's blog addresses. If you are reading this, please leave me a comment so I can make up for my lax blog duties! But here's a sample of the goings on.
From left to right: Anita, two knitters I did not get a change to meet, La (who came all the way from California!), and Claudia. It was wonderful to be in the midst of so many talented people! Much fun was had eating lunch, chatting, and exchanging introductions, many of which were followed by "Oh! I read you!!" Other Atlanta area attendees (and I know I'm leaving some out - leave me a comment if I've forgotten you, please!) were Steve, Lou, Doug, Janice, Daye, Diana, Pixie, Jenny, Tina, and Jen.
After lunch, there was more circling and buying. Then several of us went out to the barns to pet the animals. Again, the people we met were all so nice, as well as eager to talk about their livestock. We were amazed at the variety of animals. Here are just a few of those we saw.
Baby Doll sheep - just look at that sweet face, and the darling hiney!
Real live bunny slippers!
Watch those horns!
Pack llamas. These guys were engaged in a spitting match with the one you can't see behind the fence.
Jen and La took me back to my hotel about 4:30. I had a nap while waiting for Jim to get back from his hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We then took off for downtown Asheville to meet up with the group at Jack of the Woods Tavern. Again, I was a bad blogger and didn't take any photos, except of the outside.
There were 13 of us squeezed around a table made for 6, but we had a great time. There were Claudia, Pixie, Diana, me, Alison and Steve, three bloggers from Alabama who's names I sadly did not get (fill me in someone - please!), Jen, La, and my husband. We stayed until the country swing band started playing at 9:30 and then everyone went back to their respective lodgings. It was a long, but extremely wonderful day. Thanks to Pixie for arranging the noon time meetup and to Jen for putting together the dinner. I had a FABULOUS TIME!
While almost everyone went back to SAFF on Sunday, Jim and I headed for home, as he had to be up bright and early today for work. Our drive home was uneventful, thank goodness, and we both agreed that it had been a wonderful weekend.
But what about the fiber, you might ask? Oh yes, there was lots of fiber! You say you want to see my haul? Okey dokey.
A little hand woven basket to hang on my spinning wheel to hold supplies, and some really fragrant soap. I bought Patchouli, Kudzu Vine (smells like grape!), Vanilla Cream, and Fresh Mountain Air. Ahhhh!
The Brooks Farm booth was AMAZING! So many wonderful colors and soft fluffy fibers. I was very restrained and bought only this single skein, and that from the "bargain" rack. It's their Riata wool/mohair/silk blend. Yummy.
This Cotswold roving is really a beautiful, deep black. I have 6 oz. and if I don't spin up my usual mess, should be able to make a pair of mittens and hat or scarf.
The Interlacements booth is a riot of color. Along the back they had a huge pile of "dyer's choice" yarns - limited quantities of unusual colors (I swear I saw one that had the same colors as a tie-dyed shirt I wore in the '60's.) Amid all the brightness, I spotted this lone skein of gray w/white flecks. It's a fingering weight and is their RayFlax yarn, I believe (the skein wasn't marked and I, of course, forgot to ask.) It is destined to be a lightweight scarf for Jim.
But just to show that I wasn't immune to Interlacement's colors, I snatched up these skeins of Tiny Toes. Socks for me!
One thing I can't seem to find around here is pretty solid/semi-solid sock yarn. Knitting Notions to the rescue! This booth was filled with the most gorgeous colors and I was pleased to find they still had a few skeins of sock yarn left.
I have to admit that I went a little crazy at the Little Barn booth, although I was able to resist the pull of both their buffalo and silk yarns and rovings.
These bags contain 100% baby alpaca (the light green) and 75% suri alpaca/25% wool mix (dark green) rovings. I'm going to ply these two together and then see what I can make.
This says, "Confederate Uniforms. Mix of organic cotton & natural color wool. Made to duplicate Confederate cloth when spun." I'm no fan of the Confederacy, but I thought the fiber mix was interesting, and the color looks very pleasing. I've not spun cotton before, so this might be a challenge.
CVM roving. I've read a lot about it on the blogs, and couldn't resist giving it a try.
Ah, Miss Bab's sock yarn! The colors are fabulous and it is soft, soft, soft. I could not put it down once I touched it.
This was actually my first purchase of the day. Steam Valley Fibers hand-dyed mohair boucle. They had some wonderful colors in this fiber, and even though I'm not usually pulled to green, this was obviously the one for me. I'm going to make a scarf for my mom for Christmas. Unless I can't let go of it - it's amazingly soft and lightweight.
And this was the last thing I fell for - baby llama roving. Beyond soft. Just lovely.
But it wasn't all about me. I had to take care of my buddies who couldn't come. So, ladies, these are for you.
And Mouse's merino. (Be sure to click the link on her blog to see her wonderful stitch markers - the candy corn looks good enough to eat!)
As you can see, I did pretty well in the fiber department. I'm already looking forward to next year. And when I go I will take classes, arrange to be there Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday, and I'll get to the Creations by Joyce booth early enough to snag enough of their very nice, extremely reasonably priced alpaca to make myself a sweater!
Hope you enjoyed the account of my weekend. And to those of you who so kindly spent time with me or introduced yourself, and who I forgot to mention - please forgive me. I hope you'll leave a comment so I can update my bloglines. I want to read your blogs and see what you came home with. See everyone next year!