On Saturday morning, I boarded a bus bright and early for a day trip to Convergence 2006! It is a HUGE bi-annual event, much like Stitches-on-Steroids, with the focus on handweaving and spinning, although there is also knitting and crochet. The Fort Wayne-area Spinning Guild, Flax and Fleecers sponsored the bus to Grand Rapids, and we had a full bus!
We made good time to Grand Rapids, and arrived just as the vendor area was opening for the day. The picture is just a general idea of the space - it was, I think, even larger than the Marketplace at Stitches....so you may well imagine how overwhelming it was! I did an "opening round" walk just to get an idea of where I wanted to spend more time, then sat down for a knitting break.
I was glad I made the first scouting foray - once I had given it the once-over, it was much more managable, since there was so much that dealt with weaving and spinning. My strategy for the day was to not purchase anything that is available locally and to focus on items that I've been searching for. However, since the focus of the exhibition was weaving, I could browse with much less temptation than usual. There was also more 'finished work" available than I am used to. Very beautifully woven garment and dyed textiles - there was even a booth of 18k gold jewelry that had been woven on a loom. (I'm assuming it was a smaller loom that the big ones we automatically picture in our minds!)
On my second trip around, I stopped at a booth which featured hand-dyed yarn and roving. Lisa Souza Dyeworks is right up my color alley! I fell in love with this sock yarn (because we all know that I desparately need more sock yarn!!) and so it rode home with me..... It was by no means the only colorway that I loved, but at that point, I still had some reasonable amount of sanity to work with.
I also stopped at a table that offered free samples of angora fiber from German Angora Rabbits. (I'll add a link when I find the paper....) I've heard that it's wicked-hard to spin angora because it is so light, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Someday.
After another knitting break, I headed off to the exhibits. That ended up being my favorite part of the day. It's like going to a great art museum, but all of the pieces are fiber art. The items ranged from traditional weaving to weaving with a "twist" and then took off from there. On piece that I really enjoyed was a sweater, knickers and socks that were crocheted from wire. It was a large mesh-fabric, but the wire allowed it to be shaped as if it was around a person. Then they hung upside down, sweater on the bottom, socks on the top, so that you had the impression that an invisible person was diving. My description in no-way does it justice - but I really enjoyed it.
Several pieces left me scratching my head, but then I always think that was the effect the artist was going for! There was also a section of garments. Most of them were not really something that you would wear. I don't just mean that someone with my life wouldn't wear them, rather that they really are meant for display and would be worn in a fashion show or on exhibit like this. My favorites were ones that I could see someone actually wearing. There was a "Button Dress" that had a classic shape - a simple dress covered in a tulle fabric. It had buttons spaced on the tulle, some on top of, some below so that some were shiny and some were matte. Really random, but very beautiful.
I took another knitting break (note to self: Wear sneakers, not sandals to any "walk-all-day" event!)and then I wandered the vendors again. (This is where I lost all semblance of sanity. We'll save this for tomorrow...)
But the bus trip and knitting breaks were productive! On the ride up and during all of the knitting breaks, I worked on the sleeves of this baby bolero from One Skein. However, since I'm using a cotton yarn, by time I had finished the sleeves, my hands were crying for mercy, so I switched to my current sock project. I managed a few inches of cuff, turned the heel, and finished the gusset decreases. It was a productive trip!
So. I've been to Convergence....
Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)