Madrona was the first fiber festival I went to, a couple of years after I started knitting again (and now 10 years ago). When I heard that this was to be its last year, and that a bunch of knitting friends from all over the country would be gathering for the send-off, I figured it was a thing that I just had to do.

(Also, can I say how nice it is to work a normal job now, and to be able to schedule things like trips to knitting festivals whenever I want, and not worry about whether or not I have to teach on Monday? Whenever I hear someone say that academic schedules are more flexible, I just laugh. I have never been freer to use my time as I see fit than since I left academia.)

And so, a few weeks ago I boarded a plane for Tacoma WA, and hied me to Madrona. As always, I am a terrible documenter of festivals, and I am even worse about people…as someone who doesn’t like having my photo thrown up everywhere, I don’t tend to do it to others, even if they don’t mind. But I did bring home some yarn, and so I took pictures of that.

This is apparently also the last year for Toots LeBlanc, a company that makes angora yarn. I’ve never knit with it or heard of it, but everyone in my group had wonderful things to say and their booth samples were lovely, so I sprung for a few skeins. No idea what they’ll become, but I’m sure it will be beautiful. Someday.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing up a few patterns again, and was looking for some yarn of known origin to use for a redux of a garter stitch lace scarf that I knit years ago from some alpaca purchased at the Weaving Works in Seattle. It’s one of my favorite scarves, and I get compliments on it all the time. I bought enough yarn to widen it up a bit, since I’ve been preferring wide shawl-scarves lately. The ladies in the Montana Fiber Works booth were really nice, and I was really happy to support them by purchasing some of their incredibly soft alpaca yarn (color: Peacock).

And finally, I purchased a set of mini skeins for another scarf from the sketch book of endless garter stitch explorations. I wanted to play with having criss-crossing strips of color blocks across a solid body color. The mini skeins are from Schmutzarella Yarns, and are apparently named after the game Clue (I’ve never played…guess that makes me clueless?). I bought Mystery of the Green Peacock and Colonel Mustard’s Demise. I picked up a skein of purple yarn to go with it, just to bring out a bit of the pop. Interestingly, there is no brand name whatsoever on the tag, so I have no idea who I bought this from. It says simply “BFL 4-ply sock” in color “plum.” Guess I’ll have to make sure I don’t run out of that, since there is apparently no way to get more.

I thought I wanted a black yarn for the main color, but after two circuits around the show room I realized that wasn’t what I was going for, after all. A really deep charcoal would have worked well, but there was none to be had. None of the navy blues were quite right, either. And so finally, I settled on an almost-black eggplant color from Hazel Knits. I’ve never knit with her yarn before, but the colors are right up my alley, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time that I end up with a few skeins of her yarn. The dark purple is called Blacklight on her Entice yarn base, and I also bought a skein of semisolid artisan sock in Quill. I wasn’t really planning to buy the semisolid, but it somehow had highlights from all the other colors in the set, and so I decided that it was meant to be.

And that’s that. A fun weekend with old friends, met a few new people, did lots of gawking at knitwear, and some fiber shopping. Definitely a good way to spend a long weekend!