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.
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?
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.
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.
Having a friend shop for you is genius!
Don’t forget fiber Tetris in the car at the end of the show! No pain, no glory.