June 22, 2015

Fiber Heaven on the Horizon

Y'all know that I travel around the Southeast and vend at a few select fiber festivals every year.  A very few festivals.  I am SUPER picky about where I go and how my brand is promoted.  You've also seen my yarn, and probably drooled over it, dreamt about making things with it, squeezing it, cuddling up with it at night in place of a pillow ... And you know that I teach knitting classes here and there (most recently at Revival Yarns in Athens, GA).  So you know you can take my professional word for it when I say that if you don't round up that crafting group and hustle your cookies to the Georgia Fiber Fest in Columbus, GA in September, you will be missing out on THE fiber festival of the year in the Southeastern U.S.  I mean it.  I'm saying that because I wouldn't sponsor a show that I didn't think was a primo experience for yarnies and fiber fanatics. (I'm pretty tight fisted cautious with my moolah.) I am so excited about this show that I have already started stocking up bases, sewing project bags, and ordering knitting needles! There will definitely be some festival-exclusive colorways in my booth, and a little birdie would like to suggest that I will be debuting my first-ever line of grown-on-my-farm fingering weight yarn!

Friends, let me tell you a little bit about the Georgia Fiber Fest. It will be held in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.  If you have never been to the Columbus Convention & Trade Center, you are missing an experience of a lifetime.


Not only is it surrounded by picturesque riverside walking/biking trails, but the place is a revamped Civil War ironworks.  Right down to the iron-tainted bricks, the original smelting vats of monstrous size in the main hall, the immense skylight windows, and the train tracks, this place is Southern American history meets fiber fantasy land. And the BEST part, if you are a frequenter of fiber festivals, is that there are no outside tents, you are not shopping in an agricultural barn with a dirt floor and 80% humidity, and there is AIR CONDITIONING.





Not only is it surrounded by picturesque riverside walking/biking trails, but the place is a revamped Civil War ironworks.  Right down to the iron-tainted bricks, the original smelting vats of monstrous size in the main hall, the immense skylight windows, and the train tracks, this place is Southern American history meets fiber fantasy land. And the BEST part, if you are a frequenter of fiber festivals, is that there are no outside tents, you are not shopping in an agricultural barn with a dirt floor and 80% humidity, and there is AIR CONDITIONING.



Oh, wait, and did I mention that the gazillion classes taught by well-know artists (myself included) are in classrooms with real walls--not bed sheets or cubicle walls or barn stall walls, but REAL walls in rooms with doors so that you don't have to listen to what's going on in the class next door while your try to concentrate. This year, we also have a first: Saturday morning classes for kids! Teenager Kirsten Flannery is teaching "Just for Kids: Beginning Drop Spindle" and "Just for Kids: Woven Bookmark Bracelets"

Our guest speaker, Pam Powers, is also doing a workshop or two.


You might know her (PSQUARED on RAVELRY) from her fabulous designs on Ravelry.  She's also the designer of Nora's Sweater, which was the cover for Interweave Knits (2009), as well as having designed for Twist Collective, Belle Armoire, and Apronology. She also has a new book out, and I am sure that she will be happy to autograph your copy:


About those vendors ... Last year there were 40+ booth spaces filled with fibery goodness; this year's vendors are just beginning to get posted on the website, and we expect to have a very full marketplace, especially since we've moved classes upstairs and added about 25 more booth spaces. You will want to HURRY and sign up if you want to be a vendor because we are nearly out of booth spaces.  Last year there was even a yarn truck, and I do believe it will be back again.

There's a fiber arts contest. There's a fashion show--they make the vendors and the teachers model for you, so it's a hoot!

Oh, and a fabulous catered dinner with a speaker (Pam Powers) that anyone is welcome to attend and a fashion show--bring your knitting or crochet because it's totally social acceptable to knit/crochet at the dinner table. I know I will be. You can dine with teachers, vendors, and designers (like me) and it's not like one of those chintzy dinners, either--the courses just keep coming and the wait staff is amazing!

If your Honey is a history buff and he feels like he needs you to drag him along, there's also a museum on property so he can leave you with the credit card to shop in peace, and there's a quaintly restored historic downtown area to explore because you might need a little extra time to stuff all those bags of fiber heaven in the trunk. Did I mention that the convention center used to be an iron factory and there's an operational train attached to it?

There is also more parking than you can shake a stick at--covered parking by the way, plus on-the-street parking--and restaurants and hotels (you will want to make those reservations early because the hotels also fill up fast!), and a park that's part of the venue ...

I am going to go right out on that limb and say that this festival, though only 3 years old, is right up there with SAFF and Stitches South.  Heck, you might as well just think of the Georgia Fiber Fest as your up close and personal Etsy (as in handcraft artisans galore), only WAAAAAAY better!

I think it is also pertinent to mention that this is the ONLY fiber fest in Georgia of its kind--I'm talking to you Florida, South & North Carolina, and Alabama.  Now that Stitches has moved to Nashville, that festival is more than just a hike for most of us, and it would be just plain crazy not to  shop locally.

So, check out the website:  http://www.gafiberfest.com and start making plans to visit, take classes, and fill that stash cabinet to overflowing because you know how you can't pass up a good fiber festival! There's a mile-long list of classes available, so check those out as well when you get to the main page.

It's time that this well-kept Southern secret got out, so share with your crafty friends and make your plans.  You can find this event on FB, Instagram, and Twitter.

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