Thursday, September 13, 2007

Admissions

LuckyCanuck asks if I ever make anything lousy....now, Lucky, I know you saw the various item's from last fall's "Timeless Tuesday" series I did! Those were pretty lousy. And recently, there was the cream baby blanket on the Singer 327 that I frogged totally. And the crochet baby bonnet that got blue paint on it, and the hat I crocheted for Lucy that was too big, and the roughness of the W Tank....and some of my socks are not the finest looking. The pair I'm working on now, the short rows at the heel look TERRIBLE. I don't know what the issue is. I don't recall the other pairs looking so bad. I think I need to go back and read the instructions, LOL.

And now, I will share my thoughts, feelings, and scores from the K-W Knitters Fair. I had planned too anyway, but Monika's comment made me reflect on the annual event.

I don't remember what year was my first, I know I went in 2002, 33 weeks pregnant with Lucy. I'm not sure if I went the year before. I may have gone in 2000 but skipped 2001. I had been going to the Creative Needlework Festival in Toronto, but that was getting expensive (and K-W was only $3 back then), and hard to arrange with having kids (I got kicked out of a Lucy Neatby class because I had a 4 month old infant--Huey--with me. Lucy didn't care, it was someone from ANOTHER class in the same conference room who complained!). Kitchener is an hour away, through lovely early September countryside. Even for people coming from Toronto, it's not too remote. And FREE parking! Even now at $5, I still think it's a great day out.

The first year, I went hoping to find some certain things. It wasn't like that! Yarn stores didn't bring basic stock; there were a lot of kits (not my thing), lots of books, and lots of the trendy yarns--at that time, it was self-striping Regia. Three or four years ago, I think the entire show was sold out of Fleece Artist by noon. I shop odd-ball and sale bins, and there were very few of those!

Each year has had it's own flavour. One year, it seemed like most visitors wore their tackiest acrylic kit sweaters and purses. Last year, everyone had shawls. I am not a crowds person, but this was much easier to deal with than the Creative Needlework Festival. Everyone is a knitter, no one is selling mops or steak knives or even rubber stamps. People are the emodiment of Canadian politeness, even when eyeing the same skein. We're all there for the same reason; a collective conscience of creative indulgances.

The best time to shop is during the lunch time. It really thins out. But take your own lunch and eat it in the shelter out behind the parking lot.

The booths have changed a lot too. In the early years, there was a LOT of bending over--things were in bins on the floor at almost every booth it seemed. Especially the GoodBuyYarn.com. That was a terrible booth years ago. This year, everything was up at waist height, although it was not organized in anyway (the GoodBuyYarn booth, that is). But that's part of the fun.
As for the long, slow lines to pay--you have to remember that vendors aren't set up for electronic Visa purchases (see the Yarn Harlot's post about not realizing her credit card was 'not working'). The workers have to handwrite the slips and manually imprint the Visa cards. I did that for a home-based business for a short while; those machines are finicky and stiff. I noticed many booths had more people working---such as Camilla Valley Farm which is a LYS, and the fabulous Tobi was helping out (previously I had waited a LONG time at their booth).

And the notion of getting good deals....well, that's tricky. If you go there saying "I need 12 balls of Louet Gem in periwinkle" you won't find it. You've got to be the type that is either a kit person, or much more flexible....laceweight is laceweight....it's okay if it doesn't come with a pattern---for me. For others, that would make them put it back (I see this alot at the Spinrite tent sale. They had Fresco for $10 for 10 balls last year. But it's disontinued. It's an aran weight ribbon yarn. But yet this group of ladies who looked at it at the same time as me put it back because there was no pattern and it was discontinued!). A lot of the trendy yarns are not a good deal at the K-W show, but if you don't have a LYS, it gives you a chance to see and feel them, to flip through books, to just see things in real life.

I did manage to get some good deals this year. I had wanted to get books, but I just don't use them enough to justify the prices (and howcome Needle Arts Bookstore wasn't there? Or did I just not notice?).


As mentioned, the Good Buy Yarn booth was MUCH better this year. However, you have to know what the yarns are worth, and what you're willing to pay. There was a single ball of Zara, and the price was $10. Not a good price. But, I found this bag of 5 balls of Kureyon for $35. That IS a good price, normally it's about $10/ball. PLUS....the $35 includes tax! I only saw one bag of this colourway, and I really liked it so I snatched it up before Cindy saw it because I knew she was looking for Kureyon. There was quite a bit of GGH Safari, a linen yarn, quite fine, in colours I like, and Estelle 100% silk in beautiful colours, but it was out of my price range. This booth is a great place to go if you want odd balls for afghans like you can get the $200 kits for.

I wanted books, but this was the only one I bought. I love lace, but am still not quite a shawl person, so I thought some lace clothing books would be nice. The cover sweater did not interest me at all until I saw a lady at a booth wearing it, done in a soft, flowing, marled yarn with a slight fuzz. Then I fell in love and was glad I had chosen that book!

The FiberTrends pattern was not a deal, but was there, was one I wanted, and no shipping.

The yarn in the picture.....I decided on Friday that perhaps I would take a look at Handmaiden Sea Silk. I know everyone seems to love it, and one skein makes a decent sized project. But I had never seen it in real life. The first booth that had it, I found that colour and was swept away (haa haa). Cindy suggested I make a nightie for my anniversary cruise, so that's what I'm experimenting with. You might notice that I double stranded it (trying to match the colours) and that it's crocheted! I searched high and low for lingerie patterns, but they just don't come in the right gauge. I emailed Joan of http://www.whiteliesdesigns.com/ and she said that handknitters don't like knitting smaller than 20st/4 inches. I LOVE her lingerie designs, but I wasn't about to triple strand the yarn. I paid $35+tax for the Sea Silk, and saw it later at $50. I wouldn't have paid $50, and if someone had said that's what it goes for, I wouldn't have looked at it. But I was happy with the $35.

This is beautiful yarn, I first saw it several years ago at a workshop. It's regularly about $18-$20/skein (300m for 20g!!). Cindy spotted a little basket with a few skeins in it marked down. She grabbed two skeins in a really nice plum/purpley hand dyed. There were two skeins of this one, but I only bought one, for $10. So that was another great bargain. I love blues/greens.

We took the long way around and Grand River Yarns was near the end. Their booth was smaller this year, but again, everything was up instead of on the floor (maybe I'd look at the Briggs and Little booth if they'd stop putting it in bushel baskets on the floor!). She had a special of buy 4, get one free. Again, Cindy scooped up some beautiful skeins, and I had a hard time choosing what to get. There was some nice black/silver yarns, but it was $7.95/skein, which is fine for one skein, but not to buy 4 (for me, anyway. I'm just frugal). So I dug around and found the blue rayon. It's 253 yds, so I think I will get a nice plain, sweater/top out of it. For $4.95 a skein, I was happy! My free skein was the one on the right, it's kinda crinkly and is 400 yds. It's quite fine so I think it will be a shawl/stole. Maybe on the SInger 327....I'm doing something really neat on it right now that's a lace shawl.

Some vendors weren't there this year. Fiddlesticks Knitting, The KnittingNimrod, RedBirdKnits, NeedleArts Book Store....but there were others that were new.

So there you have it. I didn't go crazy, but I got some good bargains. It would be fabulous if they offered more in the way of workshops, but there's the Knitter's Frolic in Toronto in April for that.....hey.....Cindy.....I don't drive in the city......but I can buy lunch...

I've really got to get some things done, it's the first night for the Georgetown guild, AND it's meet the teacher pizza night.

2 comments:

Monika said...

You got yourself some real nice yarn. I love the Kureyon! I just don't do well in crowds, I'd rather have my peace and quite of a yarn store, if I want to fondle yarn, but I ususally don't. I know what I like, and what I don't like. Still sometimes I buy yarn, like 2 skeins of recycled silk, which I DID buy in a LYS and not online, and I hated it as soon as I unpacked it at home. I like online shopping best, but will go to sales in the LYS from time to time. I don't like oddballs, because you never have enough for a project. When we arrived at the Fair last year, there was no parking, too many people there at once. We had to circle for quite some time. But I think now, that this trip was not under a good star from the start, since the 407 was closed (don't know why), and we drove zick zack to get from one onramp to the next. Anyway, Fair's in general are not for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it! And regarding your comment, I agree with you. There's too much colorful yarn out there, which looks terrific in skein but horrible knit up. I like almost solid colors as well, but am not normally a "pink" person, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. ;o)

Lucky Canuck said...

You're right about the selection at the shows. You have to be flexible, for sure. Going with something in mind is sure to equal disappointment!