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Chapter 19: The Fun of Festival Season

Posted by Marisa Veri on

It's incredible to think that this summer is well underway already!  For lots of people, summertime involves trips to the beach, ice cream cones, theme parks, camping and lazy pool days.  Knitters, crocheters, and fibre artists may do all of those things too, with something woolly in hand, but for us, summer also heralds the best season of all, Festival Season!!  Yarn and fibre festivals bring together artisans, crafters, and fiber enthusiasts from everywhere to celebrate their shared passion - all things woolly and wonderful.

View of the Pretty Little Yarns Booth from Muskoka Fibre FestPretty Little Yarns Ltd Booth at Muskoka Fibre Festival June 2023

If you follow us on social media you may have already seen the start of our 2023 festival adventures. Back in March I did the first in person show of the year, the Hamilton Fibre Market, followed by Sunshine Fibre Fest and Knit City Montreal in May, and then Kawartha Yarn and Fibre Festival and Muskoka Fibre Fest in June.  For anyone who came out to any of these events to support us and the other vendors, thank you so much.  We appreciate it beyond measure. 

Knit City Montreal was a particular honour as it was our first time exhibiting at an event outside Ontario, and boy was it an EVENT!  With two full days on in the marketplace, a knit night and variety show, on top of the classes and workshops, it was bigger than anything I'd ever been a part of before.  While we were too busy with the booth to attend the knit night and classes, we managed to make it to the variety show where we were rewarded with a wonderful night of entertainment that left us glowing.  There was poetry, performance art, drag performances, singing and dancing and comedy sprinkled throughout to season it all.  If you get a chance to attend one of these events in the future, I 1000% recommend it.  Fiona and Amanda do a spectacular job making their events stand out.  

Marisa stands beside the sign for Knit City Montreal

As you can see, it's been a busy year over here already.  We have a little lull in July between shows which is giving us a bit of time to work on new yarns, new products and even working on designing a class before our next batch of shows.  

If you've been to a fibre festival before you might know some of this next bit already, but if you haven't let me try to entice you.   Each festival is a little bit different.  The location changes from place to place of course, but also, each has it's own particular atmosphere.  Some offer unique vendors selling finished products, where others allow only fibre arts supplies and materials, some focus on knitting products while others expand to all fibre arts, some allow for commercially made offerings while others enforce a hand-made only marketplace, and others still include workshops or social events in their programming.  It's these differences that draw some attendees to visit the full circuit of festivals, gathering inspiration, and connecting with fellow fiber enthusiasts as they go.  Let's take a look at some of the things that festivals bring to the fibre arts world:

  1. Community: Summer yarn and fiber festivals serve as a gathering place for a diverse community of individuals who share a deep love for all things yarn. These events provide people with the opportunity to connect with other woolly-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and forge fibre friendships.  Oftentimes we find our craft independently, learning from YouTube, books, or maybe just a single class, missing some of the benefits of the learning constantly surrounded by experienced peers.  Finding your creative community can help you advance your skills and stay inspired.  Whether you're a seasoned maker or just learning, festivals create a supportive space for all skill levels.

  2. Inspiration: Inspiration is all around if you look for it, but sometimes we need something more focused on the topic we want to be inspired about.  When you go to a fibre festival, you immerse yourself in a world of color, texture, and creativity both with the vendors, the teachers and fellow attendees. These events are teeming with hand-dyed yarns, luxurious fibers, new craft kits and innovative designs to ignite your creativity and spark new project ideas.

  3. Workshops and Demos: One of my favourite parts of yarn and fiber festivals is the chance to participate in hands-on workshops and demonstrations.  Many festivals bring together industry experts and skilled artisans to lead classes and demonstrations and allow festival-goers to learn new techniques, refine their skills, and explore different crafts.  For example, at the Sunshine Fibre Fest I was able to ply yarn on an enormous walking wheel, something I would never have the chance to do on my own.  Whether you're interested in mastering a new knitting technique, dyeing your own yarn, or trying out weaving, there's something for everyone. If you want to learn needle felting as well, be sure to check out my upcoming Stabbing Succs Needle Felted Terrarium class taking place at Fibre Spirit in Barrie!

    Stabbing Succs: Needle Felted Terrariums

  4. Vendor Marketplace Extravaganza: Everybody's favourite part of the festivals - shopping!  Vibrant vendor marketplaces bring you a chance for all your favourite independent dyers, small-batch spinners, and artisans to connect in person, share their latest projects, and showcase their unique creations. Our booth for example will bring you beautifully hand-dyed yarns, looms, felted stitch markers, project bags, kits - essentially you'll find everything you need to fuel your fiber obsession. These marketplaces are a fantastic opportunity to support small, local businesses, discover hidden gems, and expand your fiber stash.

  5. Social Events: Beyond the workshops and shopping experiences, summer yarn and fiber festivals often host a range of engaging community events. These can include live demonstrations, fashion shows featuring stunning knitwear, knit nights or even friendly fiber-related competitions. These events really bring together the fibre community and provide a chance to witness the diverse talents it contains.

 We have a few more Fibre Festivals and Marketplaces where we will be exhibiting this year and we hope you will come out to see us!  You can catch us next at A Feast of Fibre Erin on August 5th, which is a brand new festival this year with food trucks and alpaca to add to the enticement.  After that will be Fibre Spirit in Barrie which is a fantastic show.  This year they added an entire menu of workshops, including my Needle Felted Terrarium workshop.  Moving into the autumn, you will also catch us at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter's Fair and Woolstock, which are annual favourites for vendors and attendees alike.

Now you know the ins and outs of festival season, and you know which ones you can catch me at, I hope that we will see you before the year is out!

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