Even though I had to drive over and back at Deer-Thirty (the magical hours when deer decide that they can occupy the same spot in space and time as moving vehicles), my day at the North Country Fiber Fair was fantastic.
I arrived before the 8:00am cutoff for entering items in the Juried competition. I entered a skein of wool/silk 2-ply yarn (from Twisted Fiber Arts roving) in the wool-blend category, a skein of bamboo/silk that was spindle spun (from Butterfly Girl Designs, spun on a BFG spindle), the pair of handspun Firefly gloves (also Twisted) that will be a Freebie Friday pattern, maybe next week, and a pair of stranded fingerless gloves knit with Knit Picks Palette yarn, using Nanette Blanchard's Black Forest Fingerless Mitten pattern (all of these have appeared on the blog somewhere along the line). I then had about an hour to browse the still-unopened vendor booths before my No-Wrap Short-Row Heel Workshop started at 9.
The workshop went well. Last year, I taught the same technique but tried to go at it from an unusual angle, thinking that might make it easier for people to visualize what was happening on their needles. I was wrong. This year, I tried a different attack on the technique, and the workshop went much more smoothly. I think almost everyone had a lightbulb moment, and everyone finished their heel (or came very close to finishing).
The heel workshop was over at noon, and I had time to eat a yummy lamb-sloppy joe and then browse and shop before the next class began. I bought 3 ozs of dyed Merino (neon green/blue/purple), a cone of millspun sock weight natural SD Wool yarn (from the South Dakota Colored Wool Studio), 2 wonderful skeins of J L Yarnworks' sock yarn (and some great sock monkey hair clips for the assorted little girls in my life), and two sacks of naturally dyed wool in shades of yellow for my handspun sweater (that I have not started yet) from Connie Henning and Shay Huhta. I also seriously considered a braid of sportweight millspun alpaca yarn- 600 yds of charcoal and fawn- beautiful and oh so soft, but decided to sit in the spinning circle and spin for a bit instead of continued browsing (these people speak Yarn and Wheels, and I needed to listen).
At 1:00, I met with about 6 others for the Crochet with Wire and Beads class, taught by Connie Herring (http://www.connieherring.com/ ). I don't crochet often, so I wanted to expand my skillz with this class. I'm so glad I did- we were given a choice of glass bead colors (I took the peachy/earth tone set), and in 3 hours, crocheted and assembled a gorgeous 3-strand necklace and a fantastic matching bracelet using beads and very fine wire. It's not a fast process, but it's fascinating, and my guess is that I will be buying more beads (oh great- another stash...)(though I do have lots of handmade, lumpy bumpy lampwork beads left over from my last obsession that wasn't yarn. hmmm....).
After the class, I had a good hour to sit in the circle and spin some more, which was beyond wonderful. I met a friend from Ravelry, and caught up with people I only see once a year (and was reminded, once again, that people who don't know that I lost weight, are apt not to recognize me until I speak. No mistaking that voice).
About halfway through the spinning circle time, the judges finished with the competition, and...
[Turn Away if You Can't Stand To Read A Grandma Bragging].... I learned that all 4 of my entries had won Blue Ribbons! In fact, I came in 2nd place in the entire competition, and as such I got to choose from a table full of wonderful prizes (including books from The Taunton Press that my editor had sent as donations). One of the prizes on the table was a 600yd braid of sport-weight Alpaca charcoal and fawn yarn. Guess which prize I chose?
After a catering service served our buffet supper, there were many door prizes (I won a wee needlefelted angle kit), and then we had a fashion show, narrated by Rick Mondragon, editor of Knitter's Magazine. We all modeled our entries, and I showed off the revamped Dakota Dreams sweater, to many oohs and aahs.
Most of the people hunkered down after that, to spin and knit or crochet or weave some more, and to plan classes and activities for today. But I had to drive back home (insert sad face here), so I left after the fashion show, and braved Deer Alley for another 75 miles.'
As always, I had a fantastic day, and as always, I'm sorry that NCFF only happens once a year.