Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ghost Of Wool Festival's Past

I have had a bad run of computer luck lately.  Or maybe it's a good run of bad luck.  I don't know. I'm hoping against hope that Tim's computer guru can get me back up and running.  Today would be exceptionally nice (please please please).  In the meantime, I'm going to post a re-run from last year so that a. no one thinks something dire has happened and b. to remind everyone that the Kentucky Wool Festival is this weekend :-D.

I mostly picked this particular post because of the super cute kid hugging 20 - one of my favorite pictures.  I'd forgotten that I'd whined about the long hours...and I'm already whining about the long hours this year.  It's a hard festival.  Fun, but hard.  I'm not sure how many more years I can talk myself into doing it.  I thought last year would be my last, but here I am.  

We have a bunch of nice roving to bring, plenty of spindle kits, Christmas cards, a few wreaths and the 2015 calendars (including a new Hank calendar) will be done...I hope.  I'll be teaching (along with everyone else in the wool tent) drop spindling throughout the weekend.  There will be knitting, crocheting, weaving, needle felting, rug hooking, fiber prep, combing, carding, blending and plenty of spinning.  It will be fun :-).

Come see us this Friday, Saturday and Sunday...and hopefully you'll see me back later today with a fresh post from a happy computer (please please please).

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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 :-). 

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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.


Lorraine said...

Sara- It is alot of work and exhausting to run a booth. But your products probably don't need alot of promotion- they probably sell themselves.

Nice to be back home-

Miha Giustina said...

2015 calendars; cannot wait! :-)

I need orange said...

Wish I were close enough to visit, shop, and help. I could even help with the drop-spindle demos.....

Sending you good thoughts for a smooth and excellent weekend.

Marcy Doane said...

I, too, wish I lived closer. I would so love to help in your booth--after I bought up everything!

Alice said...

It may not be your "Comfort Zone" but you do an excellent job of promoting being a good steward for your sheep, shepherding, the wool industry, and fiber art all wrapped in a cloak of humility . May you never feel too tired to take on the task, and may your fingers and arms heal from teaching those who would never learn otherwise.

karen said...

looks like a good festival. I will look into one of those frames...that would be fun to watch! Love the basket of knitting goodies :)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Don't forget to deserve a calendar for me. Booth looks great.

fjord girl said...

Looks like the place to be- could loose myself here. Wonderful.
I used to live in Rhinebeck and needless to say every Oct I would skippylou to the fairgrounds for the wool fest.

Terry said...

Oh how I wish I could be there! Besides 20, are you taking any sheep?

Terry said...

Sara, I know you like spiders too, so I thought I'd pass along this post.
I really enjoy this beautiful blog.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Who on earth would "USED to live in Rhinebeck"??? ;-D

Not taking any sheep besides 20. He's the official flock representative :-).

Spinners End Farm said...

Lila and I just got back from vending a two day fiber festival are right; it is exhausting work for an introvert! :). It is rewarding as well though. Glad ours isn't open until 10!

LannieK said...

You are so good at all you do. I know you'll be exhausted, yet have a wonderful and successful show! Your booth is always beautiful and attractive :-) Hope to make it, one day... Can't wait for those calendars!

sophy0075 said...

I wish KY was closer to where I lived, or that you would vend at SAFF (I know, the idea of being a vendor at TWO festivals is twice as nauseating/exhausting!). Spindling is not my cup of tea, though I will probably do a bit of it during Spinzilla week when I have to fulfil some Life obligation away from home and my wheel. But I sure wouldn't mind buying a bit of lovely Cotswold roving, and some pretty sheep cards.

Andee said...

Oh I wish I lived closer so I could help out at your booth! You have such wonderful things for sale and I know 20 would be very sad if you didn't have a booth of your own at the festival!

Lisa W said...

Well, just another reason for me to come out to KY twice a year, I guess. "Sara needs help at the festival" :-)


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