As promised, here is the tale of the fiber adventure that I took last weekend! My (very patient) husband and I went to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, North Carolina. The weekend getaway was a birthday gift to myself; I have had work drama lately (as I seemingly always do) and the idea of getting out of Durham as a birthday treat was really appealing. I’ve wanted to attend SAFF for the past two years, we love Asheville anyway, and it seemed like the perfect time to go. Why not?
We rented an adorable little cabin at The Pines, which was a little ways out of town. The cottages were built in 1932, and of course have electricity and all that, plus have been updated with wireless and TVs. Ours also had lovely details original to the cottage, like the bathroom fixtures, the porcelain sink in the kitchen, and the hardwood floors. For people who prefer the super-sanitized and predictable atmosphere of a Holiday Inn, this would not be the place. For my husband and me, who are both mildly obsessed with early-to-mid-century Americana, it was basically heaven. I never wanted to leave!
The front porch was the best part. We were able to read, drink some beers, chat with our neighbors as they walked by. I want a front porch!
Anyway, back to SAFF. I took the first personal day I’ve taken in 3 years of work (I know, right?!?) so we could get to SAFF on Friday, when I hoped it would be less crowded. We arrived at the fairgrounds around 2pm, paid our $3 per person entry fee, and checked out the indoor Sales Arena. It was a little overwhelming on first glance!
There are vendors in a ring around the lower level, as well as the mid-level and top-level. The middle of the lower-level are where the workshops are held, in those stalls labeled with numbers. We took a stroll around the top level first, bought some really tasty goats milk fudge (and their booth had baby pygmy goats! Eep. Not for sale though!) and then checked out the lower level. I was really excited for Miss Bab’s booth, which was swarmed with people. It was really a luxury to be able to see all her colors in person! I may or may not have spent all of my birthday money here….
Nothing else really called out to me in the main arena, although it was fun to browse and pet the yarn. There was a LOT of roving and spinning supplies. That’s a hobby I won’t allow myself to get into, just because I really don’t have the time to take on anything new! I would love to try it one day, though.If you’re a spinning person, this would definitely be worth a trip.
Next we checked out the outdoor sales area, which is in a covered barn-type structure with open sides. It was pretty dark in there, so I didn’t get any good photos. The things that caught my eye there were lots more pretty roving, Tot Toppers which had some really sweet hat patterns, and Kitchen Sink Dyeworks – she has some gorgeous semi-solid hand-dyed yarn. I restrained myself and bought just one skein. : )
Then came the part my husband had been looking forward to – the livestock! I promised him that if he made it through the yarn shopping part, there would also be cute alpacas and llamas. And there were!
OMG, this little guy and his giant adorable eyeballs:
My husband had fun doing llama impressions.
There were also sheep and goats in a covered arena, but again it was so dark that the photos I took didn’t turn out. The sheep were really fun, though. When I got to pet a sheep, my first thought was, “It feels like warm yarn!” Hehe.
SAFF was a lot of fun, and if you can get there without too much trouble, I would recommend it. The mountain setting and the time of year are both lovely in and of themselves, so a fiber festival is just a bonus. Unfortunately, a lot of the bigger yarn vendors and hand-dyers don’t come to SAFF, so it doesn’t compete with Rhinebeck or Stitches or some of those huge fests (which I really hope to get to one of these days!) SAFF makes for a super fun afternoon, though, even for a non-knitter. Just bribe them with fudge and alpacas.
Saturday, we walked around downtown Asheville, eating at various places and sticking our heads into the shops. There’s a Woolworth’s that’s been turned into an art gallery, and it has a restored original soda fountain, with food, ice cream and fountain drinks. The hazelnut mocha shake comes highly recommended. If you’re ever there, try it. Awesome.
Sunday was actually my favorite day of the whole trip, I think. We spent most of the day driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a 75-year-old scenic road that’s also a national park. It stretches from the Shenandoah Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s gorgeous at any time of year, but it’s almost painfully beautiful when the leaves are at their peak. Basically, you can drive for hours just looking at this all around you, except way more vivid than my camera can even capture:
We were able to do some hiking, and take in the views.
I think we could have stayed up there for days, just looking at the mountains! So gorgeous.
Yarn, cute livestock, milkshakes, mountain views, vintage cottages – basically everything you need to make a perfect weekend. : )