A day before this show, I read on Facebook there was a Knitters’ Fair as a friend had tagged me to see if I was going. I hadn’t heard of this event, so I Goggled it to learn more. I realized that the show was pretty substantial with over 60 exhibitors. In looking at the exhibitor list, I realized most of the exhibitors were yarn vendors. I love yarn. Over the years I have had the chance to know many of the exhibitors based on attending shows in the past. Without any hesitation, I thought it would be a fun day to attend. It’s yarn… that’s enough of a reason for me to go.
This show focused on the medium to higher end of the yarn market, Something to enjoy, feel and of course to discover the endless arrays of colours that could inspire you. The samples speak for themselves. However, like many of you, I am the ‘everyday crocheter’ and I love yarn that I can fill my basket. To do a quick project or afghan and not feel guilty in having to explain to Diva Dan where did some savings go. Beautiful yarn is amazing for those very special projects. My enjoyment at these shows is also to see the passion of these wonderful yarn artisans that truly love what they do to inspire us to love our craft even more. It is an art.
Back to the Review
We arrived at the show around 11:15 am. It was busy. The parking lot was packed and I was on a high. If the parking lot if packed, it means it must be a great show. Daniel and I ran into fans in the parking lot and walked in with them.
All the ticket booths were open and getting through the cash line was easy. We walked passed several volunteers, surrendered our ticket and began our visit which lasted 3 hours.
As expected, the show floor was busy. It was noisy with knitters talking about yarn and coming up with schemes to think about what to do with the yarns. I was in heaven. A great show and people appreciating the product. Let’s not kid ourselves, Daniel and I are one of the very few male guests, so we tend to stick out like a eye candy for some. We are easy identifiable with exhibitors we know and wave from a distance as to not distract the sales opportunities for the exhibitors.
We met several fans along our route. It was really nice to meet people who appreciate our videos and content that we provide.
There were definitely a lot of yarn users who were anxious to get there hands on the yarn. We saw a lot of yarn we were considering but being a Knitters’ Fair, there were very few examples of anything that was crocheted. A knitted project verses a crochet project can be two very different looks. We know from experience that crocheting will use more yarn than a knitted project, so it’s really hard to determine how much yarn we need to make an equivalent project that we are admiring. The question is, do we take a chance and purchase but what if you don’t have enough or the crochet version doesn’t look as good. It’s a mind toss in the show.
If I were to attend again, as a crocheter, I would need to come up with a wish list of patterns and yarn requirements before going to the show. Ensuring I know my yarn weights and yardage needed for specific projects. Due to very few examples for crocheters and some exhibitors having no experience with crochet, you have to do some of the legwork of inspiration on your own. Let’s face it, it’s a Knitters’ Fair, it is targeting knitters and I need to be fair about that fact. I am sure it would be the same issue if it was a crochet show targeting crocheters and not having much for knitters. Knowing my demographics and research, targeting one without the other seems to be a whole market opportunity that is missing. Who knows. Maybe there’s just not as many crocheters here in Southern Ontario Canada?
I was really impressed with the number of volunteers staged up around the show. They were very inviting to ensure guests were not lost or confused. They would say hello as you passed and I felt very welcomed. Kudos to the show organizers for this value added service.
There was one food stand and the tables in the cafe area were packed. The line up at the food stand was enormous. We had eaten prior to going to the show. The advantage to busy seating area and lines at the food stands means there’s more room in the aisles and you can look at yarn without bumping elbows. I didn’t mind. Eat away my knitties, daddy is looking for yarn!
My most memorable moments were meeting a few exhibitors:
- Rhichard Devrieze and his yarn is exceptionally popular. We love his angle of marketing being unusual and his colour palette is fabulous. He is really personable so you feel like you are buying into his vision as well as his quality made product. Rhichard has a great reputation amoungst the knitters and people light up when they talk to him. Trust me, he loves it too! Yarn is his passion and he could talk yarn all day long and not get bored. He’s living his passion.
- Patrick Madden and his Signature Yarns and presentation were exquisite. His booth was buried under a mountain of woman and justifiably so too. His examples had sex appeal with class, mixed fibers and examples that are achievable. He was really nice as well and I appreciated that he had time to socialize in the chaos of people so excited for his yarns. He is definitely approachable. If you like classy yarn, he for sure has it!
- Cindy Cole Bennet of Studioloo was really quiet but her yarn was on fire. She has pleasant giggle and being shy, her yarn is selling itself. It’s not for everyone but you cannot please everyone either. It completely grabbed me, lured me in like a moth to a flame. Her ideas of creativity hit my personal creativity so hard it nearly knocked me off my feet. It was very difficult not to be excited at her booth and she is so quiet, it’s almost like a disruption in the library. But she is gracious and her husband and friend were so encouraging of her creativity. Her dad raises the sheep to create the wool. Cindy then dyes and spins it. It’s completely family made with flare added. This was my favourite booth for hitting my creativity the hardest and being the most outrageous and unexpected yarns of the day.
- Stitch Please, always so welcoming and friendly. They are definitely having a great time and positivity and cheerfulness attracts interested guests. They are a young company, even in the ownership sense. They bring youthfulness back to knitting with a vibrant colour palette and interesting names for their yarn. Like Studioloo, the owners have great support of crew and loving husbands that are cheering them on for success.
- Black Sheep & Ewe, we have done some shows together in being close by with each others booth. We cheer for their success and they are so nice. They were crazy busy and I’m not surprised. Lots of samples, gift friendly packages and they know what they are talking about with yarn.
- Yarn-it, we have met in a previous show. We wish them much success with their yarn tool. We certainly appreciate their product is USA made as it’s keeping jobs in North America. We appreciate they are keeping jobs in North America.
- Ancient Arts Yarns, were the talk of the show floor about one exhibitor having yarn that matches cat colours. It was a must see. We scoured to find them. Most of their stock had sold out. It was called the Meow and Woof Collections. It’s not made from cat or dog but they have many colours that you can make an item that matches your pet. People LOVED it!!!!!!
- Georgetown Yarn has a new thing going. They are working hard to include crocheters with the knitters at their store. They realized there is a yarn demographic of crocheters missing from their store. So they put their thoughts into action and have altered their focus to include crocheters. They mentioned that crocheters seems to have a younger demographic. Hitting crocheters as early as nine years old up to 90 years old. They are working on ensuring they have yarns on hand that crocheters can appreciate.
I find knitters tend to be more serious than crocheters. There’s definitely a personality difference. I’m really unsure why that is. We did have one exhibitor ask us what we like to knit and we said we are crocheters. She was pretty dismissive and excused herself prematurely. She’s definitely there to sell and target the knitters to buy, snobbery at it’s best.
Over all, I was impressed with the turn out. I was even more impressed that, within a small geographic area, we have such a great diverse group of yarn artisans. The Kitchener/Waterloo Knitter’s Fair’s organizers should be proud with themselves with the many years of putting this show on. But with all this being said, it is disheartening that crocheters really don’t have a voice here in Ontario. There is a very clear separation between knitting and crochet and even with other crafts. We must not forget weavers and so on. The bottom line for vendors is to sell as much as they can. The more money they can make, the easier it is to have them cover their show costs. It only makes sense to be more inclusive in this day and age, your name says it all.
I would definitely go again. Daniel and I had a great day.