Syfestivalen started today and I was able to visit this time. I'd wanted to go for years, but something always came up. Not this year, though!
I had ordered the festival catalogue, made my list of things to look for, and pre-purchased a ticket. As I went through the ticket gates, I thought that I'd lucked out and there were not that many people about.
As if! Friday being a working day was no hinderance whatsoever. Still. I was there and I had a shopping list, so I braved the masses and bought stuff.
I found everything on my list, and then some more. First, I looked at every booth, paying attention to those that had what I wanted. Then I went back to those that had caught my eye and/or I'd specifically had wanted to visit.
First stop: Limmo-design. This shop is the whole reason I wanted to go to Syfestivalen this year to begin with. They sell Schacht spinning wheels and wool for spinning, and they had brought all of the wheels (except Reeves) to try. Including the new Flatiron! It was awesome to see the wheels and be able to sit down and spin to also get the feel of the wheel.
I tried Sidekick first and made friends with it immediately. It was set up as Scotch tension which is the same as my Hansen miniSpinner. I quite liked it, but the wheel I had wanted to try most was the Matchless, so i moved on. It was set up as double drive and it pulled so hard! I had really difficult time to get it to the level of takeup that I was used to. I couldn't get it to work, so instead of getting more and more frustrated, I moved on to Ladybug.
Ladybug was also set up as Scotch tension, but the treadling feel was entirely different from Sidekick. Eventually we agreed to disagree and I moved on to the final wheel, the Flatiron. It was set up with the flyer opposite to the traditional wheels, and with Scotch tension. It was pretty much a no-go from the start. I did not like the treadles, and the orifice was in an awkward position. I went and sat with the Sidekick for a little while before going to their shop for some wool.
There I bought one braid of red hand painted corriedale, a small bundle of red Swedish leicester locks, a small black project bag with knitting sheep, and two black braids of BFL. I am so happy about the black BFL! Black wool is hard to find to begin with and when I can find some, it is merino. I love BFL, it is so silky, soft, and smooth. Wool I had intended to buy, but I could not resist a black bag with sheep on it.
Second stop: Johanssons Lamm & Ull. They sell wool and other sheep products. Their wool is meant for felting, but they had boxes of dyed locks of gotland, so I had a rummage. I found two handfuls of red locks that are perfect for blending into sock yarn to add strength.
Third stop: Gudruns ullbod. They sell wool for spinning and Ashford spinning wheels among other stuff. They didn't have any wool that tempted me, but Ashford hand cards caught my eye. The pair I have is not really great for fine wools, which is what I like to spin. They had mini cards with 108 TPI cloth. I asked if I could try them and was handed a pair plus some wool. The wool was luscious merino/silk blend, and these cards did a good job blending the two different colours in just two passes!
They also had an Ashford Joy out for trying so I took my rolag and tried to spin it to see how it drafted. Me and Joy did not make friends. It was massive tug-of-war and the rolag was finished before I could adjust the wheel to spin the way I wanted. I gave up on that entirely and went and bought the cards because they had made such a beautiful and smooth rolag. I have small hands and the handles fit quite well too. Completely unplanned, but not previously unwanted. I had considered buying hand cards with finer teeth for a while, but I didn't know if I should go for 90/100/120 TPI or what. 108 apparently hit my sweet spot.
After that I took a food break and then visited with the Schacht Matchless again. We did make friends eventually, but the double drive took me some getting used to. The reason for wanting another spinning wheel (specifically a treadle wheel) is textured yarn. Many of the techniques require stopping the wheel immediately to manipulate the yarn, and I can't do that with the miniSpinner. It has a soft stop and I have to keep drafting while it stops, which takes a while. If I choose a Schacht, I have to decide if I get a Matchless after all or the Sidekick. I also want to try Spinolution, but their Swedish reseller didn't come to Syfestivalen this time.
Fourth stop: Engströms Artstudio. They had paper and other scrapbooking things. I was looking for some paper that was printed on both sides to make some ornaments with. I found some lovely wintery prints and washi tape. I also got out of there as soon as was possible to prevent buying more papery things just because they are pretty. That took some willpower, but I managed somehow.
Fifth stop: Quiltameva. They had these really cute mini square packs (and other quilt stuff) that had caught my eye. I was paying special attention to quilting booths because I have a specific gift project in mind and these are perfect for it. I also found a hexagonal quilt block ruler which I wasn't originally looking for, but they didn't have hexagonal paper piecing templates that were big enough. This ruler will do just fine.
Sixth stop: Söders Tyger. I wanted to see what kind of sewing machines are available, and what the price range is for the ones with the features I want. I found a PFAFF model that does everything I want and has a minimalist design, and is not too expensive. I didn't buy it because I want to do more research and then make a decision.
Seventh stop: Novita. I wanted some Pikkusisko sock yarn, but it was discontinued. I got to practise my Finnish! It's still there. Not fluent any more, but perfectly adequate still. The factory booth was more a display of their newest lines, so they directed me to their reseller Tiina's garn.
On the the way there I made my eight stop: Garn & Väv Mix i Byn. They had a tower of Kauni which I didn't get to investigate earlier because there were so many people there. Here I found a black and red gradient that will become some kick-ass socks. The ball is a whopping 170 g, so I'll get at least two pairs out of it. Unplanned, because I didn't have specific yarn in mind to buy at Syfestivalen (other than black and/or red), but I had intended to buy some yarn IF I could come up with a project for it immediately.
Ninth stop: Tiina's garn. Here I got to dust off some more Finnish, and found the Pikkusisko I'd been after. Novita's new sock yarn is called Venla and they had one perfect red ball left. Two more pairs of socks, one is going to be Villiviini with red lace on black. I may use the remaining red as-is, or make some red/black colourwork socks, or red gloves.
Tenth and final stop: Elena Teplykh. She had these utterly gorgeous black boxes painted in Russian one-stroke style. Utterly unplanned, but I simply had to get a tiny one for my sock stitch markers. Tiny box for tiny stitch markers, it was too beautiful to pass by. Somewhere along the way I also acquired two nålbinding needles, but I can't remember between which stops it was. Unplanned, but again, something I had wanted for years and had intended to buy some day anyway.
I was on my way home when I made the final stop. It was close to the closing time and I had found all that I had been looking for, and then some, but not too much. I had a lovely time chatting with folk about spinning and yarn, and fondling all the fabric, paper, yarn, and wool I could get my hands on. I shall definitely visit next year again.