Well, SAFF was wonderful. Of course. I only tasted a bit of it, because I didn’t get it together to book classes and my non-fibre-obsessed friend had taken the weekend off for my visit, so I mostly wandered around on Friday and took everything in and got a feel for the thing. The thing, let me tell you, can be pretty overwhelming. A lot of the classes looked amazing, though: the schedule’s gone from the site now, but I remember seeing spinning instructors like Abby Franquemont and Judith MacKenzie, and a colour theory class with Franklin Habit, so that should give you some idea of the lineup. Fortunately, the fleece judging was open to all attendees, so I spent a very happy hour watching Judith MacKenzie walk us through many, many primitive breed fleeces.
There were alpacas
and more alpacas
and many, many different sheep, not one of which did I manage to get a respectable photo of. There were several places to buy yarn and fibre, either directly from the farmer or dyer or from area yarn shops who came to the show. I’m amazed at my restraint, really.
Clockwise from top: Cormo roving from Lavender Hills farm, 2 skeins of Sexy bison down/silk laceweight in Steal My Heart from The Buffalo Wool Co., a cake of North Country Sock in Oriental Poppy from Wandering Wool, and a 600 yd Luxe Gradiance set in Silverlode from The Unique Sheep.
Asheville itself was fun to explore, especially for a knitter, and even more especially as I’m lucky enough to have a kind and patient friend who gets my yarn thing and was happy to show me around. For one thing, there’s an entire block that’s been yarnbombed with such exuberance I don’t know how to describe it. Here, let me show you:
It’s like a yellow brick road of knitting, leading here
Of course I went in. I needed needles for a hat project, after all, and hey, yarn store. You don’t actually walk by those, right? Purl’s Yarn Emporium is beautiful and welcoming, and as fun as you’d expect from its decorations. I could easily have spent much more time there if I hadn’t already been spoiled the day before.
I can also recommend the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They don’t allow photos (which I understand) or sell postcards of any of the work displayed (which I really wish they did), so trust me when I say that there is some truly inspiring handiwork in there. We wandered around the exhibits and shop until we could go no further without refreshment.
Living where I do, I may never make it to Rhinebeck. After this trip, you know what? I’m okay with that.