My most recent experiences working with fibers began in 2003. I was working at a customer service call center and during our training classes one of the ladies pulled out a crocheted blanket she was working on. After we got out of training she would work on different crocheted projects during the low volume times. Eventually I worked up the nerve to ask if she would show me how to crochet. I met at her house one weekend and she showed me a simple chain stitch. We worked on chain stitching for 30-40 minutes because she stressed the most important thing you can do when crochet was have a consistent chain. That starts my current experiences but recently I have looked back and realize that I have had many smaller fiber excursions to build on. Everything from neighborhood kids showing me the chain stitch (never learned any other crochet technique) to my mom showing my how to knit and sew. I never figured out how to bind off the knitting so it always came unraveled and my mom didn't really know either. As for sewing, I got tired of the thread knotting up and I was convinced I was going to break her sewing machine so I put an end to that as well. Just proof things really do come full circle.
I don't remember the first thing I made with fibers. I vaguely remember trying to make doll clothes from my mom's scrap fabrics. Most of the time it was hand stitching two pieces of fabric that looked like a shirt and two pieces that looked like a square to make a skirt. I would change out my doll outfits so that the didn't always wear the same clothes each day. I know I didn't why should my doll's have to. I do remember the first yarn I ever tried to spin. I was doing everything self taught and I grabbed my spindle and the roving and tried my best to hand spin. At that point, I hadn't read enough to know about park and draft or predrafting fibers to loosen them up. It turned out like a squiggly blob. Now I always tell people who want to learn that it takes patience and persistence. Then I give them a half page of reliable links and the two free Interweave spinning brochures. I really wish someone had done the same for me when I first started so I try to help others in the same way.
I don't really have a favorite technique. Probably my favorite fiber activity is spinning and dying. I love to play with the colors and experiment with different results. Sometimes you can dye something that looks awful but when you spin it up its absolutely beautiful. It's just not always predictable and I really like that.
I have only been to one fiber festival and only as a visitor so that automatically wins. I have been to SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival) in Asheville, NC. My husband convinced me at the last minute to go and we took a 5 hour drive from middle Georgia to North Carolina. Since I wasn't signed up for classes I only had one purpose in going... to SHOP! My husband “suggested” a spending limit but when we got there I just kinda played it by ear. We went around that building like three times before I ever bought anything to make sure we saw everything. We were on a limited budget but my husband was such a good sport because when we got to this little corner of the convention hall there was a dealer who had knock out prices. I couldn't believe that I hadn't seen the spot in the first three trips round the center!
I don't really buy supplies on Etsy. If I see something that I really love I will buy it for myself. If its roving and I spin it I normally end up listing it though and I give credit to the store I purchased from. Mostly, I get my undyed fiber from Paradise Fibers. It's not like their a secret supplier of fibers though. I once bought some mill end rovings from Sheep Shed and everyone speaks highly of them. I took most of those fibers, dyed them and mix them up for batts.
6.Anything else you want to say, this is your soapbox.
I don't really have a whole lot to say. I feel like I already rambled enough anyway. I will say that I love Etsy as a venue. Yes, it has flaws but I can see where the company is trying to improve on their weakness. Five years ago I would have had to trudge through eBay to do what I do now. Also, I expect some competition from other companies, there are many many many out there now from 1000 Markets to Artfire to Zibbet and they are all trying very hard to build on what Etsy started: A venue to sell handmade goods for the small time seller.
Sure, some people will say that having been with Etsy since 2005 I have a blind loyalty to it. Others may say that I should know better because I've been around that long. To me: I just don't have the time and energy to argue about what this venue or that venue should be doing or even how they are ten times better than the last one. I take each one at its own merit and for what it can provide for me and what I do. Each venue is different and that is the way it should be. I guess I just hate the wedge the whole “growing handmade website” market seems to put between people. You love it, you do it, you make it happen no matter what the venue. If the site affects you that much on a business level, find something better but be professional and don't go bad mouthing. It didn't work for you that doesn't mean it won't work for others. Sure, talk about your experiences but leave the snark at home. If a site affects you on a personal level... well, suck it up, this is business and not kindergarten.
So, that's my personal soap box. As a general rule I try not to show a biased opinion of any issue but obviously I'm just like the next person, full of opinions. So a small glimpse into the mind of this ever roaming frog. It's just one of those “take it or leave it” moments. Either way, buy some fiber or yarn on the way out. Smiles