Prepping for two craft fairs – dyeing

A few weeks ago, I applied for two Spring Markets here in London, and got accepted for both. After the good news came the panic: I needed to build stock! I sort of went on a preparation frenzy.

I needed to order yarn and fibre, but for a while I had analysis paralysis – what weight of yarn should I order? And type of wool? How about top, what do I want? Regular, superwash, and how much of each? The pain, the pain (well, I thought this was the painful bit until I received the bill).

After settling for a few different bases and weights, it was time to make some dyestock and start the fun. Here you can see one colourway being prepared, where blue was one of the colours. The knots you see are to prevent the yarn from taking in all the colour in those parts, and the stick prevents the rest of it from being submerged.

Here’s another colourway in preparation. The reds are richer in person, but my iPad wasn’t collaborating.

These oranges with red undertones came out very vivid, but again my iPad decided to be a jerk.

I’ve also been dyeing fibre. This top is for my personal stash, as I was experimenting with some colours to see how they behaved (the answer: not too well considering what I was looking for in some parts, but that’s how we learn).

Finally, here’s the top I’ve dyed so far in the middle, plus the yarn I’ve spun on the back, and some naturally grey boucle yarn that I overdyed. The odd braid you partially see on the bottom right is a commercially dyed fibre that was quite disappointing, so I’m going to try to improve it by adding some of my colours on the drum carder. More on that on another post.

 This is just the dyeing part of the preparation, I still have soaps to wet felt and sculptures to needle felt. Hello, anxiety!

Do you, or have you sold at craft fairs? Or are you a regular attendant of such events? What do you look for? Share your experiences in the comments section, I’d love to read about it.

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12 responses to “Prepping for two craft fairs – dyeing

  1. I’ve sold at a craft fair before and it was great fun. Just make sure your table is well presented and you are really enthusiastic. I let children and adults use my spinning wheels and drum carder and they had a blast. I like people to have a chat with me and discuss what they have made, etc, but I know not everyone likes that. Good luck with your fair!

    • Thanks! I only had one experience and it was great, but these new ones I feel will be more daunting. Eek!
      I’m taking a wheel on one of the fa

  2. Argh, it replied before I was ready. I was saying I’m taking the wheel to one of the markets, so I’m sure that will be fun. I’d have a nervous breakdown with the drum carder though, the sharp edges would keep me worried all the time 😳

  3. When I go to a craft a fair, I am looking for something that could never come from a store – be it an object or a piece of clothing. I also get really influenced by the seller: if I find someone interesting or intriguing, I am more inclined to buy.

  4. I’ve never done a fair before so I’m not much help there but as a buyer, I love people who are willing to share their knowledge when I ask but I hate being hovered over if I’m browsing. if it was me I think I would be doing something to demonstrate so people don’t feel intimidated and to encourage people to engage. I hope you have an amazing time x

    • I hate it when sellers hover as well. I also dislike when they look grumpy, so I’m making sure I have my Nice face on when I’m vending 🙂

      I’ll be taking my wheel with me, so it should be fun! A lot of people have no idea how yarn is made, so this might be a great conversation starter 😀 Thanks for the input! x

  5. Your colors are gorgeous; I’m sure you’ll do well! I’ve done several fairs and have no advice, since each one has been different. Like someone else mentioned, I’m available and friendly without hovering or being pushy. I always knit while people shop because it often makes them stop and watch, or gives them a reason to chat with me, and then they browse my table. Best of luck!!

  6. I’m just starting to feel that panic, Leonor, I’m doing one in June. Of course I’ll probably be too overwhelmed to do anything until 2 weeks before! I did think of doing felt demos this time, but too much to consider, so I’ll take a few attention seeking pieces like a hat or woolly vessel. It looks like you have some nice stock. I don’t think it’s your iPad, my digital camera has trouble with certain shades and colours too 🙂

    • Good luck for yours in June! I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully. I’ve been prepping for more than two weeks, but somehow it never seems enough – I feel more nervous about this one than I did my first! 😳
      I prefer a proper camera to an iPad, but the first is so much handier… Ah, well 😊

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