There are always buttons treasures to seek out and the prettiest yarn to stroke!
A mere two weeks after a fabulous weekend at Unwind Brighton, Fibre East beckoned knitters, spinners, crocheters and crafters along to Redbourne Community College in Bedfordshire. Fibre East, by its own admission seeks to 'celebrate the Best of British' - a term that loosely covers anything from UK based dyers and vendors to specialists in homegrown or British breeds.
We arrived early so there was time for some crocheting in the queue!
I love the variety and choice that this engenders - there are always favourites indie dyers, talented crafts people, small local shops and designers who often won't exhibit at the larger national shows due to the huge costs of the stands. It's a chance to go and see (and more importantly feel) the yarns that are mostly only available to view in an Etsy store, to meet the passionate people behind these small brands and to support them. I can happily say that I NEVER come away from one of these local shows without a few skeins of something I hadn't planned to purchase - and consider it a very welcome accident!
Shearing demonstrations were on all weekend - you have to feel sorry for the very hot sheep that were last to relinquish their fleeces!
There were a couple of MillaMia stockists exhibiting including Sue Stratford and The Knitting Hut, The Knitting Gift Shop and Knit One - all stands looked busy with excited customers throughout the day. The Natural Dye Studio, Easyknits, Yarn Garden and Purl Alpaca almost seem like regulars now, and I was excited also to see Rachel Coopey, Sweet Clement, Kettle Yarn Co and Five Moons.
Sue Stratford with her menagerie of animal kits and the lovely folk from Five Moons
I was perhaps a little surprised that the show wasn't busier. In previous years there has barely been enough room to wrestle your purse out of a handbag - even at the 2012 show that we all affectionately call 'worm armaggedon' due to the horribly wet conditions the footfall seemed higher. This year there was certainly room enough to stroll and browse without an elbow in your ribs, there was space to see what was on offer and time to chat with the vendors. Don't get me wrong, I am all for a more relaxed marketplace where I have more time and choice to make my purchases, but that has a huge impact on the vendors of course.
Time for a picnic with friends in the grounds of the college
I wondered to myself on the way home if we are now experiencing too much of a good thing. It feels like the knitting/crafting community has been craving some really good quality shows for a good long time, and now we almost have a glut! Perhaps a shuffle of the calendar for 2015 will help to ensure that all the shows receive an equal share of the (yarn) cake.
(posted by Max)