Hi friends! As we wind down another season of trunk shows and fiber expos, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all the wonderful experiences we’ve had over the course of the year. We’ve met many of you at our booth in dusty county fair barns or tucked into the corner of a beautiful local yarn shop. Ever wonder what it’s like for us behind the scenes as we pack up our traveling yarn store and make the trek to these events?
A typical show weekend for us starts the afternoon before the show, outside the dye studio (aka Claire's house) in Traverse City, where packmaster Kat loads our trailer with everything we need. Depending on our destination, we bring everything from tent poles and peg boards to mannequins, display hooks and - of course - bin after bin of yarn. Kat is a genius and always manages to fit everything we need in a way that is efficient and safe in the trailer. Then, we hop into the truck and off we go!
The ride down to the event is always fun for us. We are lucky to not only be co-workers but also friends, so we usually spend this time in the car catching up on all the various goings-ons, business-related and otherwise. We also play a fun game called “trying to remember what we forgot to pack,” with different levels of success on every trip. Copious amounts of snacks and coffee are also required (Claire keeps us fed and is our amazing navigator). We typically drive anywhere from two and a half to five-plus hours for show, and whoever’s not driving gets some quality knitting time in the car - although Kat and Claire have both been known to sneak in a few stitches behind the wheel (always stopped at a light though! Shhh!)
Once we arrive, the real joy starts - it’s set-up time! Everything gets hauled out of the trailer and into whatever space we’re occupying, and we start building our display and getting yarn up and organized on the pegboards. We take pride in creating a booth set-up that is both beautiful and easy to navigate, and this process takes time. It’s a lot of work, and as the evening progresses we get tired and hungry, but there is nothing like seeing all of our yarn out in all its glory. Once we finish, we reward ourselves with dinner and relaxation wherever we are staying for the night. By relaxation, we mean doing some last minute label-printing (thank goodness Claire also has a background in graphic design!) and kit-organizing, but usually there’s wine involved so it’s all good!
The day of the show, we usually get there early to make any final adjustments to our display, and then customers start showing up! Truly our favorite part of participating in these events is getting to meet and hang out with the people who enjoy our yarn. It’s always a blast when people bring items they’ve knit with our yarn to show us, and we love looking at patterns and helping folks find the perfect fiber blend or color for their next project. For us the day usually passes quickly because we’re having so much fun. We also take turns leaving the booth so we can walk around and check out different yarns and catch up with other vendors - they are our friends too and it often feels like a reunion to be together again at the various shows throughout the year.
At the end of the day, we start taking inventory and psyching ourselves up to pack and load the trailer as quickly - but neatly! - as possible. We all have families to get back to so we usually drive back to Traverse City the night of the show. Once all the yarn is cataloged, we pack it back into the bins, take down our display gear, and haul it all back to the trailer. Kat works her packmaster magic yet again, and with any luck we are on our way home before too long. This time of year, our drives back north are dark and cold, so we listen to lots of Prince and Beyonce - and drink plenty of coffee - to make it back to the studio safe and sound.
Fiber expos and LYS trunk shows are the heart and soul of our business, and it’s because of all the wonderful interactions and friendships we build with knitters all over the state. Although we spend the day or two after a show catching up on sleep, they truly energize and inspire us to keep creating the yarn we love.
Haven’t made it to a show yet this year? Or maybe you’ve been to them all and want to keep the streak alive? We will be at Spun, the local yarn store in Kerrytown in Ann Arbor on December 9 and 10 for their two year anniversary celebration! We will be bringing some special treats just for the show, as well as many of our usual yarns and holiday kits. Come say hi; we are looking forward to seeing you there!