If you're local to Southern California, you'll want to put the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta on your calendar for next year! This delightful event takes place the first full weekend of October each year at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum.
2018 was Izzy Knits' first time as an exhibitor at the festival. In fact, it was our first time exhibiting anywhere…and we had a blast. From our booth on the lawn, we could hear the endless humming of the two baby alpacas from A Simpler Time (alpacas & mill) nearby, as hundreds of folks wandered up and down the rows, browsing the booths for handspun yarns, woven garments, wrapped metal jewelry, African baskets, and more.
Saturday's crowd was made up of serious shoppers, some of whom were eagerly waiting when the gates opened up at 10:00 am. These people knew their fiber crafts, be it spinning, weaving, knitting or crochet, and were on the hunt for unique items and special deals. Sunday's crowd was a bit more relaxed, taking their time to browse the booths and take in the sites.
Under their blue awnings, the San Diego County Spinners demonstrated the skill it took them to take 2nd place in the 2018 International Back to Back Wool Challenge. In this incredible competition, teams knit a sweater from a sheep's back to their own in the fastest time. Each team consists of a sheep, a blade shearer, and seven handspinners and knitters. With a stunning time of 4 hours 45 minutes & 53 seconds, a Dutch team set the world record in 2017. This year, it was the Spinning Knitwits from Paterson NSW, Australia who won, finishing their sweater in 6h 08m 37s. The San Diego team came in second, completing their sweater in 8h 15m 31s.
The 50+ looms on exhibit in the Weaver's Barn was another incredible site. This 4,000 square foot facility also houses spinning wheels & carders, warping boards & swifts, and bobbin winders & shuttles, some dating back to the 1800s. More than 95% of the exhibits are operational and are used regularly by members of the Palomar Handweavers Guild to produce beautiful clothing, accessories, rugs and household items, many of which have won numerous awards.
For Izzy Knits, it was a great weekend. We enjoyed spending time not only with our customers but with our fellow exhibitors as well. There were 30 of us in all, most of us from Southern California. Those in our immediate booth vicinity included Penwerkz (featuring handcrafted wooden yarn bowls & spinners), Wire Moon Jewelry (featuring handmade wire-wrapped jewelry using natural stones), Jean's Handwovens (specializing in one-of-a-kind handwoven garments and accessories), and Moon Spinner's Ranch (featuring handspun yarn from Donna's own flock).
We'll definitely be participating again in next year's Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta and hope to see you there! Mark your calendars now. The festival will take place October 5-6, 2019.