This was a special request but I’m going to turn into a series. I talked a little bit about getting my planning done calendar wise and I mentioned that it takes me at least 6 weeks to prep Spunky Eclectic for a show. I never thought it would be of interest but maybe how I prep for everything can be of use to some one.
It really starts more then 6 weeks out. Years maybe. There’s a file on my computer with a gazillion photos and a list of color ideas. I might be over exaggerating and I might not be. Most of them are nature photos and yes a bunch are copyrighted. I’m not using the photo, it’s only for color inspiration. I might use all the colors or just some. Some have a notation with them that it’s just a single color in there I’d like to match some day.
I have to build a color wall.
I have a wall for fiber and a wall for sock yarn. I usually start dyeing the sock yarns since they all dye differently. Depending on the show, will depend on how much room I have for yarn and how I need to design my color palette. This is a 2 panel display for SPA and Revival. Every other show I can fit in a 3 panel display. I tend to only do 2 full color sets a year, spring and fall with a few new colors showing up here and there. So yes, you are seeing the spring set and this is all listed online. Since I have another panel being added for Maryland, there are 5 more colorways coming that won’t be released until May.
Anyway. Back to how this is built. I try to think of the range of colors I want and then using my lists and my photos. I will pull out colorway ideas for 14-20 yarns. This particular set started with 16 yarns. There are 13 up there and another 3 that I didn’t release yet as I haven’t decided if they’re just one offs or going to be fall.
I come up with this detailed list and It’s not just colors noted, it’s pan or pot placement. I dye in several different ways and I’ll make notes in diagrams on my page so I’ll know what I need to do.
And by the end of dyeing the notes usually look like they’ve been through the ringer because I keep them at the dye table and sometimes have to make notes as I change something. If I’m smart I take a pic of my notes before I get started in case anything gets ruined (it has and I haven’t had a photo, always trying to learn)
I get my colors dyed out on one yarn base. I skein them up and look at them. Really look at them. I arrange, rearrange and start deciding. Sometimes I sub in an old colorway or two (anyone know what 1 old colorway made it into the line up here?). Then I decide based on the space that I have for a set up, which ones are going to be reproduced on all the yarn bases I’ve decided to dye. And I get to dyeing.
In between all that I’m also working on the fiber line to go up with it. The dyeing that works on yarn mostly works on fiber but not always. Splotches or speckly things (like the yarn left) don’t translate to fiber so I either do something else similar or drop that one from the fiber line. I decide which fibers are going up where in the booth and how much I have space for each… I make my notes and I add that into what I need to dye.
Somewhere in there I manage to put together the weaving and the knitting kits. I always kind of think of those things a little separate from the main dye wall. I mean, I like to bring kits and I need to have them but they’re a completely separate dye listing based on the colors that work with the knitted or woven item. They may or (most usually) may not be yarns that are in the line up for the show.
And also somewhere in there I pull together the pottery needed to bring to the show. Pottery is always being done but I will do a few extra sheepy things for the fiber shows. Pottery takes longer so it’s one of those slower always working away at it sorts of things that happens.
At the 1-2 weeks before event mark, I start to braid, hank and label. I use laundry baskets and I have them filled all over the shop just before a show. It’s nice to see them transform from unruly fibers and yarns to pretty hanks and braids.
A few days to just one day before the show, I pack up everything I need into the bins, boxes and bags. One day before the show, I play real life Tetris and I get all the booth set up and product for sale, packed into the truck. Everything (even for the 30×10 booths) fit into my one 1500 Silverado back seat and 6 foot bed with a standard cap. I think of a trailer sometimes but I have always liked Tetris.
oh yeah, somewhere in this time, based on the company, I order resell products that need to go in here. Spindles, combs, cards, looms, wheels, etc. I know I’m forgetting something else. There’s always something I even forget and don’t realize until I’m at the venue. It’s a little nutty but I’ve been doing shows of my own since 1997 and fiber since 2001. And I say on my own because my parents did craft shows when I was growing up and I loved going with them.
And I made a video to go with all of this: