Monday, October 7, 2013

Highlights

I have to own up to a couple things about wool festivals. Well, going to wool festivals is always fun - end of that story :-).  Setting up a booth of your own?  Well...let's chat about it.

First of all, I'm happiest at home on our farm.  I talk to the sheep, cats, dogs...or nobody.  As long as the food bowls keep getting filled and some ears get scratched on a regular basis, everyone's happy.  I can work along on something listening to the birds singing, sheep bells ringing, the occasional tractor off in the distance and the next thing you know, it's time for evening chores.

If you decide to put yourself out there and set up a booth at a festival (to be able to keep the food bowls filled ;-) you need to be prepared for a completely different day.  Self promotion is tough.  Or at least I find it so.  Even though the sheep and I have worked hard to produce nice products, being able to stand there all day and say "Hey, the sheep and I have worked hard to produce these nice products and you should buy them!" is intimidating. Nerve wracking.  Exhausting.

The fall Kentucky Wool Festival is extra tough because it's set up a bit different from your typical wool festival.  It's a huge craft fair with a ton of really good food vendors.  People come from far and wide, on average upwards to nearly 50,000 people over the three day weekend, to eat, listen to really good live music and socialize.  Until 10:00 in the evening.  The vendors have to get up early the next morning and do it all over again.

After a full day of hot, dripping sweat "fun" (84 degrees in October this year?  Seriously?) and facing yet another long evening, I thought maybe I might be getting a little too old for this.  I'd spent the day teaching kids of all ages what yarn is, where it comes from, how it's made...  The muscles in my right hand and thumb were very sore from two days of demonstrating how a drop spindle is used - yes, you can get spinning injuries if you overwork muscles that are more conditioned for cleaning stalls ;-). 

Then, someone I'd taught to drop spindle a couple years ago stopped by, re-introduced herself and we spent probably an hour Saturday evening talking spinning, knitting, patterns, Ravelry...  It was just what I needed.  And really, that happened all through the weekend.  A customer who "always stops at our booth first thing every year" now comes ready to run things while I go grab a cup of coffee.  Just when I'd need a bathroom break, a blog reader would stop by.  I needed to go take pictures of the shearing demonstration and another friend came by.    

It's a team effort.   The whole thing.  Running the farm, growing the wool, shearing, processing, painting Christmas cards, printing calendars, packing it up, setting it up, taking care of it, tearing it down and heading back home to run the farm, grow the wool... 

It was a good weekend.  It truly is a blessing to be able to do what we do.  Thank you to everyone for all the help and support and encouragement.  And if we just met you this weekend, welcome to the family :-). 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Last year I'd stuck a Hug a Sheep card on the front of 20's sweater.  I didn't think to do it this year.  I'm not sure if this cute kid remembered that from last year or just thought 20 needed a hug.  When I looked over and saw him I couldn't resist making him do it again for a photo.  20 was thrilled :-D.



I have a digital photo frame that runs through about 1300 (holy moly!) blog pictures throughout the day.  Sometimes it makes me very homesick, but most of the time I think it's fun to see pictures I haven't seen in awhile.  I'd encourage everyone to get one!


The calendars were a big hit (very flattering!).  I'll try to get them online in a couple days when I get unpacked and caught up.



I like being able to display my handspun handknit sweaters next to ready to spin roving :-).


The lavender by the greenhouse re-bloomed just in time :-D.


I liked my card display this year.  I'll try to get them back online later this week as well.


A Cotswold vest next to Cotswold roving.


Stella's honey shelf, looking mighty bare :-).


The wreaths were popular again this year.



26 comments:

Andee said...

I'm glad your weekend was a success. I wish I lived closer and could have gone. I love your card display!

DFW said...

Those wreaths are gorgeous! Glad you had a successful, although tiring, festival.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Lovely looking display, what a stroke of luck that help showed up when you needed it! It sounds like a good weekend, stepping out of our comfort zone is a good thing..I am sure you will enjoy this week on the farm! :)

Maureen said...

I sure wish I lived closer too... I would love to have come! Your display looks great - so glad everything turned out. Hope you can spend some quiet time relaxing now; you deserve it!

Susan said...

I cannot wait until your calendars are available! I LOVE your calendars...and do you sell your drop spindle kits outside of the fairs? Hmmm? I would have hugged 20 had I been there. Come to think of it, I would have hugged you, too!

Miha Giustina said...

I like the buttons on the Cotswold sweater. By the way, any sweaters, (mittens, hats... fury dogs....:-) for sale?! Just asking....:-).

I am glad you had good time at the fair.

Miha Giustina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Ann said...

Loved everything but the wreaths were gorgeous!

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Sounds like A LOT of work, but it sounds like you enjoy (usually) sharing with those who want to know!! Wish I was close enough to come visit your booth and chit chat a while!! You're blessed to have the life you have with your animals!

Alice said...

Very touching blog post, Sara.

The displays look lovely! And I think that your love
and caring for the sheep is reflected in the items you create and sell.
Wish the weather would have cooperated on Sunday. :-/

majorasue said...

Glad you had a good weekend. I agree, it can be exhausting, and it's nice when you can get a break for a second or two.

Miha Giustina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
small farm girl said...

Hey, sorry I couldn't give you relief this year! Maybe next year..... Oh, and anytime you need some help setting up, give me a heads up notice and I'll be glad to help you out. That includes Hug-A-Sheep-Day! Just let me know.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Looks good Sara, hope it helps keep the food bowls, hay feeders filled for the winter. I would have a hard time with those hours, LOL, would really miss my nap time. Good idea having photo frame with all the pictures. Have you done cards with critter photos too? Let us know when you have the calendars and cards online.

littlehawkyarns said...

The digital photo frame is one of the best ideas I've seen. Glad it went well and I'm in total agreement about the set-up and keeping tabs on a booth. Thanks for the pictures too. It is nice to see someone I admire and how they set up.

Sandra Morris said...

A lot of food for thought.
We have considered selling at the Wool festival instead of just visiting one. Sounds like a lot of work!

Spinners End Farm said...

Beautiful. You have given me some lovely ideas for our booth. I don't know how you can be turned on for such a long day...it is exhausting! I would love to visit your festival and squeeze your roving! :)

Michelle said...

I cannot imagine how very tiring running a booth must be. However, I love all of the items you have shared with us, especially the wreaths!

Jan baby said...

You made it through the weekend! Yeah! Great looking booth. Beautiful wreaths, especially the bows :- ).

LannieK said...

Glad you survived the long weekend! What a gorgeous booth you put together - very nice! Love the wreaths, too. Don't know how you do those long hours - But when you are talking about what you love, it's easier :-) Extra ear scratching time in order for you this week! relax.... hand soak... ear scratch... relax... nice job!

La tribù della valle dei cavalli said...

I've done that all week-ends during summer sometimes even during the week...working as spinner in medieval events or in ordinary markets....I don't even remember all the towns i've been! I can understand you so well! Now you can relax with your guys at the farm and tell them the story of your wool festival!

Rachel Berry said...

Aren't fibre festivals wonderful! I have only been helping my friend sell yarn for one season but I have loved every minute of it. It's certainly hard work setting up the stall, lugging heavy boxes of yarn from the van. But chatting to fellow weavers, catching up with regular customers and being part of the fibre festival community makes all that hard work worthwhile. I wish I could have been able to visit you and give you a hand!

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

Oh yes, WORK! Have been to enough conventions to understand exactly how you feel. So, that is what the wool wreaths look like! All your displays were great and glad you are home!
good job.

Sheepmom said...

Your booth is so pretty. It doesn't looked "stocked" as much as "decorated". I'd be almost afraid to take things out to buy them because it would disturb the overall effect! So glad you had help when you needed it. Kind of a mini life lesson of people appearing in your sphere when you have need. Now you can relax! Good job.

Deb W said...

Sorry I never made it back to your booth. I was there with 3 first-timers who aren't sheep/wool people. They loved the Fest, but it was all about the crafts. Oh well.

Susan said...

That would be enough socializing for me to last all year, for sure! But, I bet it's a lot of fun catching up with old friends and meetings some new ones. The festival sounds exhilarating...and exhausting. Hope it was extra successful for you this year. : )

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