My knitting bestie, Cheryl, and I enjoyed the East Texas Fiber Festival so much last year that we decided to go again this year. We turned the entire day into a fun girl’s day out (of town) and it was a blast. But first: yarn! Vendors There were so many more vendors this year!! Leading up to the festival, I was amazed at all the new vendors posting on Instagram. Soon I was worried that this festival would be as overwhelming as the DFW Fiber Fest. Thankfully, it wasn’t! One of the new vendors was a favorite of mine, Suburban Stitcher! It was so cool being able to browse her booth! Some other newbies included Leading Men Fiber Arts, The Modern Skein (a yarn shop from Montgomery, TX), Wander Luck Fibers, Shipwrecked Sheep, Quixotic Fibers, Panorama Fiber Arts, Night Owl Fibers, Mohair and More, Graceful Fibers, Haute Boheme Fibers, Euphoria Knits, Jems Luxe Fibers, and Blue Mule Fiber. So much fiber goodness! Location The festival changed venues this year and it was definitely for the better. Instead of the pavilion in Lindale that had no climate control, this year’s festival moved indoors and about 20 minutes down the road to Canton. That being said, a part of me really missed all the lights strung up in the old pavilion. The Canton Civic Center is serviceable but…..bare, like a convention center. Purchases I went into this fiber fest wanting yarn for one shawl and a gift for my FibreShare partner. As expected, I bought a lot more than that! And the skeins that caught my eye were variegated/speckled skeins. I really, really need someone to make me purchase only solid colored skeins! Perhaps Cheryl will hold me to be stricter with my purchases next time. But I bought all new-to-me dyers, which made me extremely happy. I love finding new yarns and meeting new, friendly dyers. And everyone was super friendly and welcoming at this fiber fest. Considering that’s what East Texans are known for, they did me proud!
There was something about DFW Fiber Fest this year…. I don’t know if it was due to more social media interest and traffic or different vendors…..or the excitement of having The Grocery Girls in attendance. Whatever the reason, there was a lot of excitement for this event in the weeks leading up to it. And I must say that it did not disappoint! Vendors There were so many new vendors this year – and a lot of the great ones we love to see every year. Miss Babs was back after an absence that spanned a few years. TeenyButton Studio made the trek from New Orleans. Brooklyn Tweed had a huge booth, brimming with all kinds of yummy products. The Fiber Seed came from Ohio with lots of soft, squishy yarn. Moon Tower Dyeworks and Paisley Ducky – both of whom I met at last year’s East Texas Fiber Festival – were in attendance for the first time. Some vendors, who I look forward to seeing every year, did not fail me this year. October House Yarns had a wonderful booth. I finally got the nerve to ask for a picture with the Suburban Stitcher – and buy the colorways I’ve been drooling over for months. I bought my first La Bien Aimee skien from Hill Country Weavers. Texas dyers were well represented by Yarn Carnival, Brazen Stitchery, Must Stash, Savvy Skeins, Round Table Yarns, Lazy Cat Yarn, Chicken Coop Dyeworks, and Amanda Hope Yarn – to name a few. Honestly, there were so many vendors that it was overwhelming – or perhaps it was all the people that overwhelmed my senses! Culture Unlike some years past, people seemed more friendly this year. I was there on Saturday and it was packed. Our timing coincided with a meet and greet with The Grocery Girls, which may have added to the mayhem. I was tempted to try to get a picture with them, but the line never seemed to shrink! All in all, it was a great year and the fiber festival represented Texas and DFW well. Next year I’m almost tempted to break it up into two separate shopping sessions, as there was just too much to see this year. We were exhausted – in a good way – by the time we left. Location The Irving Convention Center has proved to be a very good home for the DFW Fiber Fest. The location is great because you don’t have to go into Dallas proper to get to it – and there’s free parking. Multiple highways will get you to the Convention Center and it’s not far from the airport. I sincerely hope the location doesn’t change – now that I know how to get there!
I have a long history with the DFW Fiber Festival. The first time I attended was in 2008, when the festival was held in its inaugural location, Addison, Texas. I must admit that I’ve never taken classes at the festival but have enjoyed the vendor hall almost every year since then. And the vendor hall is what I wish to tell you about today. In the past ten years, I’ve watched this fiber fest grow by epic proportions: it now fills the Irving Convention Center and attracts names like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and podcasters like The Grocery Girls. Vendors The number of vendors at DFW grows every year but, thankfully, some of my favorite dyers continue to come year after year. It’s always exciting when the vendor list comes out so you can start to plan your shopping. 2018 vendors included The Suburban Stitcher, Must Stash Yarn, Brazen Stitchery, Fiberlady, Hill Country Weavers, McKinney Knittery, West 7th Wool, Lost City Knits, October House Fiber Arts, Purrfectly Catchy Designs, Savvy Skeins, and Yarn Carnival – just to name a few. I love how well Texas dyers are represented. But it’s also fun to see vendors from around the country! (And there are some vendors coming in 2019 that I’ve been dying to shop!) Culture Strangely enough, some of my most awkward yarn-related interactions have occurred at DFW Fiber Fest. It’s an odd thing. There are booths. You enter a booth. You say “hello” to the person that you assume is running the booth. And you get no response or a weird response that makes you think you’ve trespassed on sacred territory. I remember a vendor – from far away – who had a pattern on display that I adored. The lady in the booth was outright rude when I seemed interested in the pattern but not her yarn. I bought the pattern from her – when I could have gotten it on Ravelry – and still, she was not happy with me. But then in 2018, we (with my yarnie friend, Cheryl) went to the festival on Sunday, for the first time (we usually go on Saturday). By 1:30, the vendor hall was nearly deserted. And the booth dwellers were actually a bit nicer. I’ll never forget the Must Stash booth. Stacie came up to me like she knew me – she didn’t – with the biggest smile on her face. I gushed about her yarn….and then bought more of it. Location The Irving Convention Center is actually easy for me to get to. I like that the fiber fest has chosen a location that is not in the messy downtown areas of Dallas or Fort Worth. Parking has always been free – and I sincerely hope that tradition continues. The convention center is easy to get around and the area in the middle of the main floor is always filled with tables for knitting, chatting, and resting. The 2019 dates for the festival are April 4 – 7. If you’re in the area, come check it out!
After attending the DFW Fiber Fest for years, I decided to branch out….to my childhood home neck-of-the-woods, otherwise known as East Texas. I didn’t know the East Texas Fiber Fest existed until 2017 so I was super excited to get to go the following year. I went with my good friend, a wonderful knitter, and we attended only the vendor hall. We wanted yarn – lots of pretty yarn – and this fiber festival did not disappoint. It was held in Lindale, Texas and my only complaint about it was the facility: there was no overhead lightning and no climate control. It might as well have been outside. It was a pretty, sunny day – but it was chilly. On the plus side, all the vendors were showing off their favorite handknits in order to stay warm. My friend and I got the lay of the land and then started walking down the aisles. As our eyes adjusted, it was nice to see that many vendors had light boxes set up to let potential buyers see the yarn colors more accurately. That was a nice touch – though I wish it had been unnecessary. As we walked around, we realized something. Everyone was insanely nice! And chatty. And friendly. I was blown away by how many conversations were got involved in with dyers and other customers. And we’re not generally very chatty people (ahem – introverts!). It made me proud to be from East Texas, where people are known for being friendly. But the dyers were not all from Texas. Some came from pretty far. Here were some of of our favorites: Chicken Coop Dyeworks, Paisley Ducky, Potion Yarns, DyeLab Yarns, Savvy Skeins, Brazen Stitchery, Yarn Carnival, Kimarie’s Knit Knacks, Moon Tower Dye Works, and Round Table Yarns. In 2019, the fiber fest will move to Canton, which means an easier drive for. So I plan on being there!