Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival 2011

This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my first three posts on Tunisian crochet here, here, and here.

On Saturday, I taught Introduction to Tunisian Crochet at my very first fiber conference, the 17th Annual Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival at the Fairgrounds in Hemlock, NY.  I had such a great time at the Festival – even though I couldn’t stay for the whole event 🙁 – and would definitely recommend it to anyone for next year!

My dirty little secret (to those from the rest of the universe that isn’t New York City) is that I can’t drive.  Yes, I took a few weeks of Driver’s Ed in high school but never finished the class.  Thus far, I’ve only lived in cities where driving isn’t required (New York for about 92% of my life, with a year after college in Washington, D.C., and a few years in San Francisco as a pre-schooler).  My lack of driving hasn’t impaired me in my hometown, but it has limited my vacation options and has made me dependent on others when traveling – and, of course, it has kept me living in major urban areas.  (Driving lessons are on my to do/bucket list, by the way.)

Anyway, the person who I was going to be dependent on for this trip 🙂 had to work over the weekend.  So I had a very interesting itinerary as a result.

Here’s a blurry phone cam shot of my Friday train ride.

I started out on Friday afternoon on Amtrak to Rochester.  I took a taxi to the hotel in Henrietta, which was, er, um, well let’s just say the price was right and there was free wifi :).  In the morning, I was lucky enough to picked up from the hotel by CR, another teacher on the festival committee.  She’s been working at the festival for the last 8 years, so it was great to hear about her experience with the event during the ride.  We also “talked shop” about teaching for a bit.

This is the building where I taught my class. The class areas were very spacious and we had plenty of room for everyone to spread out.

Since CR dropped me off early, I had a chance to check out the vendors and the animals before preparing for my class.  As a City Gal, seeing the goats, sheep, and alpacas who are responsible for my favorite yarns was a real treat.

Some of the yarn vendors setting up.
How cute is this alpaca?
“Are you talking to me?”
These guys didn’t feel like posing. They were too busy munching.
“Look at me, I’m smiling for the camera!”
Miss Molly is a true “Chatty Cathy” but she clearly doesn’t want her picture taken. This is the least blurry of the several pictures I snapped of her.
More super cute alpacas.
What do you call the black sheep of the alpaca family?

There were vendors from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania at the event, but it was great to see a local vendor, the Hemlock Hills Alpaca Farm, too.  I especially loved this sign from their booth.

Besides workshops, demonstrations, and vendors, there were also wagon rides at the Festival!

After watching the vendors set up for about 40 minutes, I went back to the 4-H Exhibit Building to set up for my class.  While cleaning off the tables and organizing the chairs into a circle, I was thinking about what I was going to buy :).  I knew that I shouldn’t go wild, but I definitely wanted to pick up a few things that I had seen during set up.  Once my workshop area was organized, I stepped back out when the vendors were officially open for business.

I should mention here that I’ve had a bit of a soap crisis in the past few years.  I used to make my own soap, which, of course, did wonders for my skin since I could formulate it exactly for me.  Unfortunately, my current kitchen layout isn’t conducive to safe soap making (especially with my cat around).  For about a year, I bought soap from Simply Sensational, which was a shop on Etsy that the owner closed for health reasons.  Then for a while I shopped at Dirty Loves Clean, but she seems to have disappeared, too.  For the last year or so, I have tried soaps from tons of online and in-person vendors and have not found the soap which really works for my skin, and I have been back to buying soap at Whole Foods.  So naturally, I was on the hunt for some soap at the Festival.

I found these three soaps – all with great scents – at the Longmeadow Farm tent.

I haven’t used them yet, but I have high hopes.  (By the way, I couldn’t find an online presence for Longmeadow Farm, except in this ad on the Creekside Fabrics website.)

I also wandered into the Bitsy Knits tent and left with some goodies.

My haul from Bitsy Knits.

I got two skeins of superwash Merino wool, the Squoosh! Superwash (in the back) and the Bitsy’s Sock (in the foreground).  Although I don’t “need” another gauge ruler/needle-hook sizer, I was very attracted to this Knit Picks View Sizer, so I decided to add it to my collection.

I was hoping that the yarn would work well with my coat.  I ended up with a Blue Chalk colored coat last year when I waited until the last minute to buy my winter coat and the color options were quite limited.  As a result, I can’t wear any of my handmade accessories that were designed when I had a black coat.  I really want to show off my stuff this winter, and I think these colors go well with my new-ish coat.

Here is the hood from my coat, along with the yarn. What do you think?

After my shopping spree, I went back to the 4-H Exhibit Building to teach my class.  I had a wonderful time, and I think my students did, too!  I’ll be teaching my Tunisian Crochet Basics class again at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival on September 30.

After I finish my online Crochet 101 class as part of the Crochet Lyceum with Underground Crafter, you can expect to see a version of my Tunisian Crochet class online :).

Once my class was finished, I had to hurry to reach the Rochester bus depot in time.  I was picked up from the Hemlock Fairgrounds by a taxi right after class and I was whisked away to a Trailways bus.  Seven hours later, I was back in New York.

Bright lights, big city: The view of Times Square from my phone cam.

MC picked me up at Port Authority and we headed back home.  It was a lot of traveling within 36 hour period, but well worth it for the chance to see the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival and to teach my Introduction to Tunisian Crochet class.

Visit When Did I Become a Knitter for more Year of Projects posts.

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