Join me as I take a walk around the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival.
See you next year!
Join me as I take a walk around the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival.
See you next year!
I’ve always heard that, in order to tell a story, you should start at the beginning, go through until the end and then stop. So, that’s what I am going to attempt to do.
The drive down to Lexington on Friday was uneventful, except for a pretty hard rain storm between Florence and Lexington along I-75. It was hard enough to slow the interstate down to about 40 mph and to put the windshield wipers on full blast. It lasted about 10 minutes and was gone.
Friday night, Sandy and I arrived at Masterson’s Station Park, found our space on the corner (we love being on the corner!!) of the Big Top Tent, unloaded the cars and set up our booth. This year, we got a 10X20 foot booth – and we could have easily filled a larger one! With all of the fiber we took… Wow! Large bags of fiber take up a lot of space.
So, here is what our booth looked like:
See? Pretty packed, isn’t it?
This is the Fiber Department.
After walking around several times over the weekend, we realized that we were one of few vendors selling fiber this way. There were lots of raw fleeces, several bags of colors batts, dyed roving, lots and lots of yarn, but very little natural-colored wool in all of the breeds we have.
The price sign I created really was a huge help and we got many very positive compliments on it. It did make things easier and people could see at a glance what we had, feel samples of the different fibers, see how it spins up, get descriptions on some, and see how much we charged. I sincerely believe we sold more fiber because of the convenience of that sign.
Remember my telling you that we had a lot of the wool processed into top – especially the fine wools like Corriedale, Cormo, Bond, etc.?
Well, Sandy and I had tested some of the waste from the combing process for wet felting and it worked great. So, we put what we had up for sale. A very talented wet felter came by and bought most of the colored wool we had to make bags and such out of.
On Sunday, Kate brought a bag that she had made with some of the Corriedale wool she had purchased from us on Saturday (yes, she stayed up late getting it done) and embellished with wool she had bought from Fiber Optics. Sandy and I were blown away! It was incredible! Good, thick felt, huge with two interior pockets and what a cool image on it. Please check out her Etsy shop and buy things from her as her work is amazing!
Another lady bought the rest of the waste – mostly white – to use to stuff dolls and toys with, which is an idea that we hadn’t considered.
Back to Saturday. Sandy and I were busy most of the day. The people who came in to the booth to introduce themselves were so nice! One lady came from Arizona! (Hi Sandy O.!! Thank you for stopping by!) Seriously, the people in Kentucky could not have been nicer and friendlier.
Then, of course, there was the tie-dye department.
The colors from the tie-dyed clothing caught people’s eyes and drew them in. The fact that we dye so many varied items impresses people and the tie-dyed undies always crack people up. One poor man stood looking back and forth between two shirts for a very long time before finally making up his mind and buying one. I had the feeling we’d see him again, and, sure enough, a bit later he came back and bought the other one.
Also, one young man of about 10 came in with his mom complaining that she had thrown away all of his tie-dyed shirts, to which she had replied that he had out-grown them. So, he had a wardrobe to replenish and did so with two shirts, a pair of socks and shoe laces. I told her that rather than throw them away when he outgrows them, she should sew up the bottom of the shirt, cut it off below the arms, hem it, add handles from the rest of the shirt and make bags out of them. Her eyes lit up and said that was a great idea. I figured if her son likes his tie-dyed stuff that much, then he would love having bags made from them.
Baby items continue to be a top seller for us, even more than shirts. Several onsies, burp cloths and baby socks found new homes over the weekend. Babies always look adorable in colorful tie-dye.
On my breaks, I headed over to where there were sheep, shearing demonstrations and other vendors to look around. I met some friends there, too.
This is Keebler.
And this is B. Willard.
They live with Sara of Punkin’s Patch and she had some beautiful fleeces for sale.
The weather was on our side for the most part. Saturday, we had a short rain that brought in a slight breeze, and dropped the humidity and temperatures for us. Sunday was sunny and hot.
Sunday, the crowd was lower, but people still came to buy. I was standing and talking with Sandy when a voice came from my immediate left. “I bet you don’t recognize me?” I turned and said “Oh yes I do!” Remember this man from last year?
Well, he and his wife came back looking for us this year. Last year, he bought my entire bag of Ulf, a lovely silver Corriedale top and was spinning it in the demo tent almost immediately. Well, he had loved spinning it so much that he wanted more of what we had for sale. He and his wife looked at the fiber, looked at the Jacob and several others, and ended up going back to the Corriedale breed that we had. Bless his heart, he bought over 6 lbs. of Corriedale from us, including all of the white and caramel colored and a pound of a lovely brownish-gray we have.
And they brought samples!
These socks she knitted were spun from Ulf. There are some stripes here and there that were blended with their Chow’s hair, which made them even more special. I can hardly wait to see what they make together with what they got from us. I hope they send us pictures!
Sandy and I are still newbies at this whole fiber fair vending thing. Last year, the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival was our initiation, and we loved it so much that we decided that we are doing the right thing. We spent the year searching for just the right fleeces to buy, making sure the quality of what we get is the best we can get, having them processed professionally, and getting them ready to sell. We are very picky fleece buyers, and it shows and has paid off for us. Having return customers, special orders, and requests for more mean so much to Sandy and I.
Someone called us “fleece brokers” yesterday, and that felt very good, because that is exactly what Sandy and I want to be. Starting with the Fiber Binder Club to introduce people to high quality natural fibers, then providing more to take people beyond the education stage into the production stage means a lot to us. Helping to support local and regional shepherds also means a lot to us. We know so many farmers and shepherds who have troubles selling their wool, and that is a shame. Mind you, having good wool to sell is important, and more and more breeders are culling for wool production. That makes a better quality clip for sale, and that is a win-win for both the breeder and the hand-spinner. Sandy’s and my job is to make sure that high quality wool gets in the hands of those who want it.
And, of course, Sandy made a new friend!
This is a baby miniature llama. We had never heard of miniature llamas before.
Will we do the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival again next year? Definitely! And we are talking about getting an ever bigger booth. All that fiber takes up a lot of room!
And come back tomorrow. I’ll take you with me on a tour of the festival.
Well, we have everything together, just need to finish packing the car, get some food and off we go.
For those of you coming to the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival, please stop by the Dyed in the Wool booth, browse around, buy something and introduce yourself. I love putting faces with names.
What we will have in the booth this year are several types of fiber all ready to spin as follows:
Shetland lamb fleeces in black, gray and white
Shetland – double coated fleece in light gray
Lincoln – one black lamb fleece and two different shades of gray adult fleeces including a national champion fleece
East Fresian – black
Corriedale in several sades of gray, white, brown and a sweet caramel color.
Columbia – white – 1st place IN State Fair Winner
Jacob – blended to a lovely warm gray
Romney – medium gray
Cormo – two batches in top form, one of which is the 2012 Indiana State Fair Reserve Grand Champion
A lovely mixed-breed sheep named Charlotte with a dark brown color
Bond in a nice brown
Texel – white – 2nd place 2011 KY Sheep & Fiber Festival winner
Also, we will have some blended batts in several colors and types of wool – a couple have silk blended in – and some balls of yarn that are naturally dyed in wool and silk.
We will have as many tie-dyed items as you can imagine. There are shirts, of course, but we also have lots of baby onsies, burp cloths, socks from 0-3 months all the way up to men’s sizes, towels, table cloth, purses, tote bags, draw-string bags, hats, sports bras, PJ’s, tank tops, boxer shorts, panties (sizes 7-9), aprons, scrunchies, shoe strings, and several items with part of the proceeds going to breast cancer research. Also, if you don’t see something you want whether it be in your size or in the colors you want, or just something that is cotton that we don’t carry, we do custom orders and can easily make it for you.
And, of course, we will have a Fiber Binder Club binder there with examples of what club members get as well as examples of what can be done with each month’s package for you to look at. We will be accepting new members as well as taking renewals for those members wishing to continue receiving monthly natural fibers to test and play with. Since we are getting ready to ship out the 30th sample, there are lots and lots of fibers to be explored. Remember, if you are a new member, you start with month 1 so you don’t miss out on any of the lovely fibers and can get the same as those who have been members since the beginning.
We are so looking forward to seeing all of you!!!
With everything coming down to the last minute, Sandy and I decided it was time to sit down, make a scaled drawing of our booth, and decide how best to set it up so that everything fits and people can fit in the space to shop. Making a drawing and guessing at the sizes of everything is good to begin with, but getting the scale right can mean changes, and it did.
For the most part, our plan seems to work well, but, of course, there will be some alterations once we get there. Finding room for three 6-foot tables, two clothes racks, two mannequins and our cash table means being very careful where everything goes. And where do we hang the price and sample cards for the bags of processed wool? What about the shoe laces and the Fiber Binder Club information? And we have to have room to put the scale up so the fiber can be weighed. What should the mannequins wear? There are lots of things to consider.
And then there is The List of things we need to take with us and who is responsible for which item. That was done yesterday, too, and we are hoping that everything has been remembered. There are so many little things for unexpected contingencies that need to be covered, like binder clip and tape and extra pens and scrap paper and safety pins, because you never know when one of these will be needed and if you don’t take them, you will be left scrambling for a substitute that doesn’t work nearly as well. We know this from experience.
Getting ready for a show is time consuming and being away from home means taking everything but the kitchen sink with you. But we are looking forward to seeing our friends again, making new friends, talking fiber and yarn and knitting and weaving and other creative projects with everyone.
And I do hope the vendor who makes the home-made root beer and red cream soda is there again this year. I don’t eat sugar anymore, but I will break that for one of his red cream sodas. Once a year I deserve a sugary treat, right?
When I got home from work last night, I spent the next 3.5 hours cutting rubber bands and washing out most of the tie-dyed samples. By the time I went to bed, the first two batches was in the third washing with the dyes being set with vinegar, and the second two batches were in the dryer from having the excess dyes washed out.
I love looking at the patterns and colors of what Sandy and I do. We get bored with the traditional “swirl” type of folds, so we tend to experiment quite a bit. Some of the odder folds have produced some of the neatest patterns.
This time, we had fun with the colors. Oh, we used some of the typical turquoise, lemon yellow and fuchsia dyes, but we had some fun playing around with different greens (bright green, forest green and teal), plus violet, bright orange, coral pink, hot pink, red carmine, an intense blue, and rose brown. Whenever we would run out of a dye, we’d chose another out of the stash and give it a try. This is how we find other colors we like and eliminate certain colors we aren’t interested in using again. The intense blue is a keeper, but the rose brown… meh.
Also, this time I tried a different technique of dyeing than anything I’ve done yet – parfait dyeing. I used plastic Folger’s Coffee containers and layered in socks with dyes. They came out very cool, looking marbley with the way the colors blended. And this time, rather than just do women’s socks with a few mens thrown in for good measure, this batch of socks were baby and young children’s socks (from size 0 to 4), girl’s socks (size 10 – 4) and men’s socks. We’ve sold the men’s socks quite well and only had one or two pairs left so more was needed. I definitely will do more dyes with this technique.
And we are almost done with the dyeing. This Friday, I will finish up the remaining T-shirts, as well as get all those that are finished pressed, tagged, in inventory and on hangers. We will have enough tie-dyed items to warrant a second clothes rack at the fiber shows.
In fact, yesterday, Sandy and I sat down and worked out the layout of our booth for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival. And, it’s a good thing we did, too, because we went through several permutations before we landed on something that worked with what we are taking. I still need to do a “scale” drawing to make sure everything fits.
Friday also will be the last day of dyeing until later this summer, and I have taken it off work to finish things up. It’s hard work getting ready for these shows, but it is very worth it. The people we get to meet alone make these shows worth while.
If you are going to be at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival on either the 18th or the 19th, please come by our booth and say hi. Remember, we are Dyed in the Wool, and just look for the tie-dyed clothing and accessories – we are hard to miss!
Eleven more prep days until we leave for the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival on the 17th. Those eleven days are going to be full ones.
Yesterday, Sandy and I spent several hours dyeing the shirts we already had tied. In fact, there are six full trays and two full half trays of colorful baby items, purses and T-shirts for kids and adults. On top of that, there are two containers full of socks being parfait dyed. Tonight I’ll get the first round of washing them out done.
Saturday, besides prepping the dye area for Sunday, I discharge several tied black shirts. They turned out very interesting looking and I can’t wait to see what people think of them. Of course, I still have to press them, tag them and add them into inventory, but at least they are ready for that part.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Kentucky in two weeks!
Because Sandy and I have fiber festivals coming up, all of our weekends between now and May18th are going to be spent tie dyeing and preparing for them. This means we need another day of the week to get other things ready.
So, Wednesday nights are set aside for anything else that needs to be done. Last night, we worked on bagging up enough of the fiber purchased for the Fiber Binder Club to cover what is needed for members, then weighing what was remaining since that will be for sale at the festivals. We really want to give you the largest number of choices we can as far as different breeds of wool goes. It’s a lot more fun for all of us this way. Remember, we will have Corriedale (white, gray and brown), Cormo, Jacob, Texel, Shetland in lots of colors as well as some sweet double-coated Shetland, Lincoln in several colors, Columbia, East Fresian (black black!), and a few mixed breed fibers.
For those of you who bought some of the 2010 Indiana State Fair Reserve Champion Cormo fiber last year in Kentucky, we will have 1 pound of the 2012 Indiana State Fair Reserve Champion Cormo fiber for sale. One pound is all that we have left of that one, but we do have 8.5 pounds of Cormo fiber that earned first place ribbons that will be there. Remember, the Cormo we took last year ( about 4 pounds if I remember right) sold out within 2 hours of the fair opening last year, so if you want any of what we will be taking to Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival, you will need to get it as soon as the festival opens because I will not guarantee there will be any left by the afternoon. Also, if you want to purchase any of it now to make sure you get some, just let me know. The Reserve Champion fiber (combed top) is $4 per ounce and the blue ribbon fiber (combed top) is $3.50 per ounce. This is bright white fiber and is spins, knits and weave up beautifully. Remember, there are only 16 ounces of the Reserve Champion fiber.
Also, when you have your wool processed into combed top at Zeilinger’s (I can’t say what other mills do this because Zeilinger’s is the only place we have used), you get the stuff combed out back. Sandy and I took some of the left overs from the Cormo fleece and tested it to see how well it would wet felt. It does very well. For people who like to wet felt, this would be great for felt covered soap, making felted cloth for trivets or pot holders or anything else you want to wet felt. I have no idea about needle felting because I have never done this and do not have felting needles to test it. If anyone out there needle felts and would like to test a couple of samples, let me know and I’ll send you a bit to see what you think. These remaining fibers are pretty short – about 1/2″. If you want some for wet felting, we have lots of natural colors and it’s only a quarter an ounce. This is way less expensive than buying roving or top to use in wet felting and we have the comb outs from Cormo, Corriedale, CVM, Bond and some others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Lots of colors available.
Because we know how busy the next three months are going to be, we are working ahead on the Fiber Binder Club. We have the report for Month 29 done already and the research for Month 30 is complete. I plan to write that report this weekend. The shipment for April will be going out in tonight’s mail for those who have paid. There are still a couple of monthly subscribers who have not paid, but if you do so by the time I get off work at 4 PM (EST), then yours will go out tonight as well.
So last night was busy and we got a lot accomplished. Next Wednesday, we are going to be blending fiber batts once again, so that is something to look forward to. This is going to be the best Festival season for us so far. We have so much to show you guys.
Sandy and I are getting ready to mail out Month 28 of the Fiber Binder Club for those of you who have been with us since the beginning. We drove up to Zeilinger’s last Saturday and we brought back a car load of the most wonderful wool you have ever touched. And I do mean a car load:
See what I mean?
Some of this is ear marked for The Fiber Binder Club, and some of it will be for sale, first at Kentucky Sheep & Fiber in May, then at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in June. After that, any remaining wool will be placed on here for sale.
Those of you coming to the Kentucky fair might want to get to our booth early. We have more of that wonderful, bright white Cormo from the same breeder as last year, and last year it sold out within 2 hours of the opening of the fair Saturday morning. Also, there is more Corriedale, and that went out in its entirety by mid afternoon Saturday. Also, this year we have Shetland in all sorts of colors as well as Columbia, East Fresian (a true black), Jacob, Lincoln and many others.
And, we will have a new stock of tie-dyed items as well in new patterns and colors.
I just wanted to let you know that I dropped this month’s Fiber Binder Club shipments off at the PO this morning. Sorry it is a little late, but I have been sick off and on for the past three weeks, and especially this past week. Started out as the flu, settled into a head cold, morphed into a sinus infection.
Still, the boxes are gone. And I’d like to welcome our new members, Dee, Darlene, Ruth, and Lise! Your binders, dividers, wool information sheets and your first month’s FBC selection are on their way to you. We really hope you enjoy them, and please let us know what you think.
So, with March, 2013, FBC behind us, it’s time to look forward to what Month 28 will be. We have a couple of different options, depending on whether we get the 125 pounds of fleeces we took to Zeilinger’s in January back in time or not. Either way, I think month 28 will be fun and educational.
Thank you, FBC members, for making this fiber club so worth it.