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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fibre Fest 2011

wow, it's taken me a week to do a Fibre Fest re-cap. That's partly because I was exhausted afterwards and partly because I don't quite know what to say. I'm a bit mixed about the event.

But let's start with the positive parts. The event was set in a the beautiful grounds of Bicton College near Exeter. There was an animal area. It's always nice to show people were our wonderful yarns come from.

There were some very cute lamas:
and some gorgeous alpacas:

I especially love their haircuts:
Several different sheep breads were on display. Unfortunately they were not keen on being photographed. I ended up with a lot of sheep bottoms. Perhaps it was too early for them. But I did get a good photo of these gorgeous angora sheep:
Or I suppose that should be angora goats? Angoras are goats, not sheep, right? Or are there angora sheep too? Someone correct me please.

I chose to have a 'shell stall' this year. That means I would have 3 walls to display my shawls on but it also meant i could only afford a small stall and we were a bit cramped. all the photos are taken with my mobile phone and some are a bit blurry. Sorry.

I had a small table showing off The Easy Lace Collection booklet and a couple of other patterns. The Easy Lace Collection sold really well at the show.

My display of sock yarns:
Three of my scarves:
The Daisy Shawlette was very popular. And the larger size will be published next week. I'm finishing the cast off and blocking it today. Will also e-mail the testers today. They've been waiting patiently for me for so long.

We have 3 rather blurry shawls:
From the left we have Sophia, Lazuli and Two of a Kind.

Lace yarn and patterns:

The Midnight Stole which always gets lots of admiration from knitters and non-knitters (there were a lot of those at this show) at shows.
Ok, now for the not so nice bits about the show and I've been wondering about how honest to be but I'll be honest. Sales wise this show was a waste of time for me. I only just covered my expenses. The show was so well organised and the setting was beautiful that it was a shame that the organisers didn't bother advertising the show properly. To stall holders I felt it was promoted as a national show. I paid twice as much for my stall as I did at Woolfest and my stall was a lot smaller than my Woolfest stall.

For some reason the organisers didn't advertise in knitting mags. I can't remember seeing a single ad in knitting mags and I read a lot of them. I spoke to an editor last week who said she don't remember seeing a press release about the show either. Apparently the show was advertised in places like 'Devon Life'. 90+% of the stalls sold knitting and spinning supplies. And there were quite a few spinners there. I sold a lot of patterns to spinners. But there were very few knitters. A lot of people told me they didn't knit. I heard from one stall holder that a lot of people thought it was a gardening show.

So this is my plea to any knitting show organisers: if you want quality vendors and they sell mainly knitting supplies then please advertise your event where knitters can see it, like knitting mags, Ravelry etc. If you're charging 'national fees' for stalls then please make sure you advertise it nationally and make it a 'destination event'. For Woolfest and Wonderwool knitters come in coach loads. They make a weekend out of it. and they come from all over the country. Fibre Fest was very much a local show. it's great for those of us who live in the south west to have a good show with national vendors. But at the next Fibre Fest I think a lot of those vendors won't bother coming because most businesses can't afford to do shows if they make a loss and most people don't want to give up a weekend to only just cover their expenses. Most of us who run craft businesses rely on partners or friends to help out at shows. I picked Simon up at work on Friday and he gave up his weekend to help me out at the show and then he went straight back to work on Monday. He doesn't mind but he did feel a bit like it was a waste of time since I didn't actually make any money.

Okay, rant over. I did meet some lovely knitters. I met  a lot of knitters I already knew from my workshops and knitting groups especially at Spin A Yarn but also from Cornwall. I met knitters who I'd met at Wonderwool and Woolfest. A HUGE thank you to all those who stopped by my stall and to all those who bought my yarn and patterns and The Easy Lace Collection. It was great meeting you all and you made the weekend worth it.

On a different note. There is an error in The Easy Lace Collection. It's not an error that affects the patterns. On page 10 where I show how to do the crochet cast on the last sentence above the photo in column 1 should read:....... crochet a chain a few stitches longer than the number of stitches you want to cast on.

I will update the e-book and upload a new version on Ravelry so if you've purchased the e-book on Ravelry you can download the new version. You'll get a notification to your e-mail address. If you've purchased the print version please make a note on the page so you don't forget. I'm having it corrected for the next print run.


Pixie said...

Well said! and good for you. Speaking as customer, Bicton might look nice, but not as nice as Coldharbour mill to get aound.. as for the road signs how small did they want to make them.. no way could they be read driving along.

Fibre Fest 2 years ago, was fun and friendly, this one wasn't apart from the stall holders.. sad shame! for all those like yourself that puts so much into going to shows like this.

As for poor advertising, that would explain why some did end up at Coldharbour expecting it to be there..

And the angora's were goats from what I remember the sign saying lol

Robin said...

How frustrating to be at a lovely show that is poorly advertised! I used to exhibit at shows when I designed jewelry and it is difficult to know which shows are well-organized and promoted. In the US now there are several online artist coalitions that one can check into feedback from other artists about that sort of thing, you might check with guilds in your area, etc.

On the other hand, your displays and booth were really lovely! Very nice use of your space and excellent display elements. :)

Sea said...

There are angora sheep, goats and rabbits. The sheep and goats look similar when young. The rabbits take a lot of looking after.
I used to have two cashmere rabbits, one white and one black. The black was a lovely sweet natured rabbit that didn't mind being brushed. The white one was a bigger rabbit, and had the most evil temper I have ever encountered in a rabbit, and I have had Netherland Dwarf rabbits that are nowhere near as cute and cuddly as they look.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments. I knew there were angora goats and rabbits but didn't know there were angora sheep. The ones at the show were goats. My daughter wants a rabbit and I've considered letting her have an angora rabbit so I have some fiber to spin.

Sea said...

My larger cashmere rabbit was a nasty one, but it could have been because it was not used to being handled..I have no idea how old it was when I bought it