What is the Yarnscape? Part II

Knitting has a profound connective power. The culture and people and rituals around it, the values, they all contribute to an immediate and profound trust in one another. It’s home. You belong and are accepted, which rings true no matter where you are.
— Clara Parkes, Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World

Savvy Skeins booth at Houston Fiber Fest

Until a week ago, I'd never been to a fiber festival before. I've long wanted to, but when weekends are usually full of sports and scouts activities, well, "Mommy wants to go hang out with other knitters and spend too much on hand-dyed yarn" doesn't take precedent. This past weekend, there was a single Sunday in my schedule with no sports snd scouts, and I was able to attend the Houston Fiber Festival, breaking my streak of missing all the fiber events. 

I suppose it's not a big festival; I haven't been to any others to compare. But it was exactly what I hoped it would be. I found a room full of people who get excited about yarn, just like me, and that's fun. 

 Blue Mule Fiber booth

Blue Mule Fiber booth

I brought my kids, and I think that made it even better, because they're friendly and enthusiastic, and they help break the ice.  First stop when we walked into the vendor hall was the Gritty Knits booth, where my son was obviously eyeing the spinning wheel. He's pretty interested in understanding how things work, you see, and here was a contraption that makes yarn. Which must be fascinating because mom is obsessed with the stuff. So, when he was offered the opportunity to have a go with the wheel, he did, and just like that, learned how yarn is made! (She let him keep the bit he spun, and now I have it in a drawer with keepsakes.) He went around the festival examining every wheel he came across, looking to see what was on each bobbin.

My daughter tried her hand at some festival photography. Which must be fun because mom is constantly taking pictures of yarn!  She loved the set up at the Blue Mule booth with all the cool notions.  I loved their spread of Alpaca-silk blends. 

It's especially fun to find dyers who are inspired by the same things you are. My children were delighted by the self-striping skeins at the Round Table Yarns booth. They begged for me to knit them something and agreed on the "Sword in the Stone" colorway.  I was delighted to read the story on the inside of the ball band explaining the colorway's name. I've always enjoyed that story (especially the Disney version!)

 Round Table Yarns, "Sword in the Stone"

Round Table Yarns, "Sword in the Stone"

Blue Mule had a variety of Texas-landscape-inspired color ways. I might have drooled a little looking through those, seeing how the dyer had interpreted in color places that I love, too.  (Of course, I had to take home "Big Bend!")

Some booths I specifically went looking for. Ana and Matt of Yarn Carnival had announced on Instagram that they'd be selling Mr. Carnival's copper cable needles, and I made sure to find them before time ran out so I could take home one of these beauties. I loved talking to these folks and would love to do it again because they're the best kind of Texas Friendly. 

 Mr. Carnival's copper cable needles

Mr. Carnival's copper cable needles

I also found dyers I'd never heard of before, like Wendy of Amanda Hope Yarns, who obviously is ridiculously prolific in her dye studio. I couldn't believe the sheer amount of  beautiful yarn she had--and that I'd never heard of her before!  It was a no-brainer to go home with one of the cute sock sets. After all, I needed one more sock yarn to finish out my Box o' Sox challenge for this year.  I love that this yarn channels the bright energy of the dyer and I love that I know that because I bought it directly from her. 

In my experience, yarn people are the best people. Somehow, playing with sticks and string together connects us in ways that throwing balls, living on the same street, or staring at glowing screens together can't. I have lots of things in common with lots of people, but it's the fiber folks who consistently make me feel like I have a tribe. 

And this is the other part of what the Yarnscape is to me. Like the term 'landscape," it can mean a literal thing, a style of image (which I'm fond of, see Part I of this series.) It can also mean something more abstract: a culture, a scene, or as Merriam-Webster puts it: "a particular area of activity." Specifically, it's the people and our shared enthusiasm around fiber crafts. 

 Weaving at Wimberley Valley SAORI booth

Weaving at Wimberley Valley SAORI booth

That piece of weaving was made at the Wimberley Valley SAORI booth by all the people who had visited them at the festival. There's a bit of red at the end that my daughter added. It was one of the most beautiful things I saw all day: it symbolized how amazing it is to bring people together around something they love. I hope they make it a tradition and that my family gets to add to next year's piece. 

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