This past weekend was SAFF, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival, held in a huge Agriculture arena in Ashville, N.C. I have wanted to go to this for several years and always found a last minute reason that I could not. A friend and I began discussing it late in the summer at a knitting group and there was lots of interest in going, but as it neared, it seemed that everyone found a reason they could not, except one friend. She booked a room with two queen size beds, ah…, room for a roommate.
Friday afternoon, we set off, splitting travel expenses, making it very doable for both of us. Saturday morning only 30 or 40 minutes after the second day opening, we were parking in the huge lot, excited to explore. This festival has two venues for vendors, one huge arena and a smaller building with a small show floor and a large attached pavillion that I expect can be set up with temporary stalls for animal shows, 5 barns, one of which was used for the animals that had been brought, and a building used for classes. I was overwhelmed, yarn, fiber, books, spinning wheels, looms, spindles, notions, garments, whole fleece, food, WOW. We wandered until we could wander no more, bought festival food, sat in the bleachers and vegged, watching the arena floor from above, going over our lists of where we wanted to return after checking out the other building of vendors. After our break, we set off across the parking lot and visited all of those vendors as well. Many vendors were spinning or weaving between customers, all willing to talk about their fibers, some with commercial products, most with fiber they grew or at least dyed. Another break for a drink and some sit and knit time. One of our local friends had her shop there and we waited until the show was over for the day at 5 o’clock and we all went out for Thai food and some visiting time.
Sunday morning, we were back near opening time to explore some more, for my friend to buy two whole Icelandic fleece, me to try several spinning wheels as I really would like one that I can take to the Thursdays spinning group or to the spinning guild meetings. We collected our purchases, packed up the car to head home.
I managed not to buy the gorgeous felted hat that was $135 nor the spinning wheel that I decided will be my next wheel, but I did come home with a sack of spinning fiber to spin and knit into a hat or cowl, enough lovely red wool to knit a cardigan sweater for me and some lovely Raku buttons to put on it, a skein of sock yarn, a knitting needle in a size I lacked but need to make my daughter’s sweater and a pattern.
We drove home on the western edge of the building storm, arrived home tired, but safe before it got dark and had a great time. Didn’t take a single class, watch any scheduled demonstrations or make it to the animal barn and still filled a day and a half at the festival.