Jillian’s Spinning: Planning for a Fiber Show – the Shopping

Maryland is coming! Maryland is coming! Who’s going? I am not this year, but I am going to the Michigan Fiber Festival in August and no matter which fiber shows I go to, big or small, I plan for the shopping the same way.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Map
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Map

Step 1: Obsess over the Vendors List. I study that thing harder than I ever studied at school. I usually print it out and highlight it within an inch of it’s life – must buy, must see, just look quickly, go look if there is time. That’s four levels of vendors, but wait there’s one more…

Step 2: Plan project buying. My first run at the Vendors List is like a five-year-old me at my birthday party, hopped up on sugar and shredding the paper off of my gifts. Think of a curly haired Tasmanian Devil. I have to get it out of my system. After I am satisfied that there is an extreme amount of amazing fiber possibilities I settle down a little.  I look at idea lists and patterns and pick a few to shop for, usually three. One just won’t do and more than three is overwhelming to me. Then I match projects to highlighted vendors.

Step 3: Print out a Festival Map and mark my vendors on it – in many colors. I usually enlarge the map at home or at a copy shop, so I can fit vendor’s names on it.

Step 4: Come up with some sort of a budget that I never, ever, stick to.

Step 5: Consult with my traveling companions and adjust shopping needs because they always have great ideas I hadn’t thought of. We also plan some divide and conquer shopping like standing in line for Jenny the Potter, Miss Babs, Lisa Souza and lunch.

Step 6: Make a color coded spread sheet that matches the map. Don’t judge, it gives me joy.

Then I go to the show, lose my mind with happiness and wool fumes, do about half of my list and spend twice the money I budgeted.  It never stops being fun.

How do you plan for shopping at a fiber show?

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Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

4 thoughts on “Jillian’s Spinning: Planning for a Fiber Show – the Shopping

  1. Ruby Cruse

    Typically I do some of the same pondering, but at the end I blow out the budget and the spreadsheet is no longer viable. But this year at DFW Fiber Fest in March, I knew what I had to spend and what vendors I wanted. Then I handed my debit card to a friend from my knitting night and she shopped for me. I did that three times. And each person came back with some of the same things that caught my eye as I perused the vendor hall. But I love the fiber fests no matter where and when. I want to do MDSW and Rhinebeck – those are still on my bucket list. I always do our local DFW Fiber Fest and then one or two through out the year as special occasions.

    1. Ruby Cruse

      I work at DFW Fiber Fest and my time in the vendor hall for shopping limited. Prior to that I always did a full weekend of classes so time was also limited, but I did get some shopping in.

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