I'm starting to get really excited for the Toronto Knitter's Frolic, April 30 - May 1, and the Central New York Wool and Fiber Frolic, April 16 in scenic Baldwinsville, NY. These are the first frolics of significant size near me (suburban Buffalo NY) this year, and I'm champing at the bit! They're two months away, and it's driving me crazy. It's like a 7 year old waiting for Christmas.
Knitting and fiber frolics are amazing for a zillion reasons, but I will only list ten, in no particular order:
1. They are stocked with nearly universally "animal friendly" products, and cruelty free is an important credential for any product.
2. Absolutely one-of-a-kind uniqueness. Handspun yarn is original like a fingerprint. There is no twin to the skein you're buying anywhere in the world. It's not all handspun, but there is substantially more artisan yarn than any other situation.
3. The option to shop a wide array of completely organic product - no chemical sizing, dyes, or finishes make the yarns much less allergenic, and earth friendly. Organic yarns are usually very clearly marked.
4. The option for processed art yarns. Most shops can't carry a large array of art yarns, and when they do it's hit or miss as to whether they're colorfast, superwash, or durable. The spinners at Frolics are on site to tell you exactly how each fiber will hold up, knit up, and wear.
5. Many other knit, crochet, and weaving products are represented, and they are usually also mostly handcrafted - wooden knitting needles and spindles, ceramic yarn holders, stitchmarkers, sock and mitten blockers, project bags, needle gauges, jewelry, hats and tees, and of course, hand knit sweaters and everything else that can be knit (or woven). If you prefer artisan crafts to mass produced goods, you'll be in heaven. (Don't worry, there are plenty of quality manufactured products as well. If that's your thing, you'll also be happy. Trust me.)
6. Other fiber fans! No matter how big your stash is, or how obsessed with your craft you are, there are like-minded people, and those who will make your obsession look like a casual fondness.
7. Buttons. Buttons and buttons. Finding the right buttons can be a challenge, and the wrong buttons can really take the WOW out of a project. You'll find handcrafted buttons of every material you can imagine, and like other artisan products, originality is assured. Sometimes manufacturers are represented as well.
8. Classes are not a given, but they are pretty common in these events. I love taking classes, teaching classes, and even just reading through the classes that are offered. It always reminds me how much there is to learn, and keeps my perspective on my work fresh. Whether they're teaching how yarn is made, or some intricate needle technique, there is always something I can use.
9. Exotic fibers abound. Suri, quiviut, buffalo, llama, banana, soy, silk, camel, angora - they're all there, just waiting to be caressed and admired, and ultimately taken home.
10. You don't have to spend a dime to have a wonderful time. Shopping is fabulous, and encouraged, don't get me wrong! But these are some of those situations where you will see things and learn from them as if you were in a really cool interactive museum. There are creative ideas galore, and it's contagious. So no matter how weak or healthy your budget is on Frolic day, there's a great reason to go.
Okay, to me the above post reads like knitting porn. If it has the same effect on you, I'll probably see you at these events. Let me know if you're going. I'd be delighed to meet you. :)