Living in the knitting void that is Florida, one is hard pressed to find fiber in forms other than prepackaged skeins from purveyors like Berroco, Plymouth, Coats and Clark, and their ilk. I'm not knocking commercial yarns but there comes a point in your knitting career when you yearn for the basic fiber that has more of that home grown feel.
Last year I heard of SAFF, the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair, a three day event in Fletcher, western North Carolina. Unfortunately, last years traveling companion canceled last minute. This year I met with success. Fellow sock knitter Bonnie and I followed the fiber call in our white Mustang convertible and headed for the hills.
I won't belabor you with all the wonder that is 5 days away from kith and kin. We had a GREAT time. The weather was perfect, gently cooled. The traffic was smooth, the hotel came with a 10th floor view overlooking Asheville, great beds complete with feather duvets and plenty of elbow room.
We hit the fair both on Friday and on Saturday. Both of us were overwhelmed with the many choices of fine merino yarns, silks and silk blends, alpaca, angora, in all varieties of yarns and loose fiber. There were spinning wheels in all varieties as well as notions, buttons, swifts, soaps, and the list could go on. Here is my hotel knitting project, a STR sock, the mate almost complete. I can't believe that we didn't take photos of our haul but I have uploaded my stash to Ravelry.
Our first purchase of the day was soap. That's right, goats milk soap, and plenty of it. This booth offered up over 100 varieties and scents. We cruised both levels and made many passes before we settled. I bought three skeins of silk for a Clapotis, silk sock yarn, merino sock yarn, a new blend of sea wool (more sock yarn), and some lace weight alpaca for a friend. The choices were tough. Included in my purchases were a few patterns from Yarn Paradise in the Biltmore Village.
Our trip through Asheville took us to Earth Guild, and we discovered a new shop called Purls. We were bummed to find out that we had missed their knit night on Thursday.
Sunday was spent cruising the back-roads of Asheville and a lengthy visit to the Biltmore Estate. The day ended with frozen custards from Kamm's.
We left the cool weather and sunny skies on the Blue Ridge on Monday morning and headed south to cloudy skies and Tropical Storm Noel.
Treats were waiting for me when I returned. The new STR installment from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Lenore, the first yarn in the Raven series. Apples new Leopard OS. YEAH! My kind blogging pal, Lunitinks, sent a beautiful counting bracelet made from tigers eyes, glass beads and crystals. Thanks, Secret Squirrel!
We're committing to a return trip next year armed with knit night information, more time in the Blue Barn with the Ravelry crowd, and prepared to take some SAFF classes, too.