What CFF is not—
It is not a massive number of fiber people meeting around a marketplace center designed to introduce new products and sell you lots of yarn and fiber. Such events have their place, but this isn’t it.
Mostly CFF is not massive.
CFF is not in New York, Chicago, LA or even Charlotte. “Awayness” is an important part of CFF. Even more important, it is here in the southeast.
What CFF is—
CFF is a gathering of fiber people—spinners, knitters, weavers, dyers, crocheters of all ability levels. For me the word gathering has an intimate quality, and that describes CFF. Last year I arrived knowing only 3 or 4 people. I left having met almost everyone there and having email addresses leading me to help and advice in my fiber activities.
I taught too many classes so I was unable to take any. Even so, people taught me new skills. While hanging out after class, Anne Potter and Jane taught me to spin novelty yarn, loaning me a wheel and supplies.
In the small, select vendor area, I met Linda, one of the owners of a shop 20 minutes away from me. Listening to her spinning students showed me she was just the person I needed to take me from beginner to advanced beginner spinner. I arranged a private lesson at Rainy Day Creations, her shop in Pineville, and she taught me to make the most of my little wheel. I still don’t spin very often, but I really like knowing how.
This year Fleegle from Fleeglesblog is coming and will teach a class on spinning with a supported spindle. (You rest the spindle in a bowl. This avoids that word DROP, which is the one that describes my spinning with a drop spindle. The ethnic spindles used for this are neat.) I want to learn this. This is the way those Russian women spin the yarn for their Orenburg lace shawls; you know, the ones you can pull through your wedding ring. (Also check out her method for short rows which I have had bookmarked for years.)
Unlike the big events, CFF is like grown-up camp—at least during the day. Classes provide equipment if you don’t own it, so you can try new things without a long term commitment. Knowing how to weave changes how you look at fabric, even when shopping for a new outfit. Knowing a bit about spinning helps you make fewer mistakes in your yarn choices. But these aren’t the only reasons you need to know about CFF.
CFF was created by local (NC/SC line near Charlotte) fiber artist Jan Smiley. Jan felt we needed a fun, friendly, educational option HERE in the southeast. The first two years were held at the Middleton Plantation near Charleston. This year, CFF moves to the Sapphire Valley in NC—yea, mountains. Scheduling in the off-season allows participants a great price break on lodging. You won’t believe how great.
I have booked a 2 bedroom condo at a resort—Foxtrot Sapphire Resort—for $115 a night. This condo is fully equipped, sleeps 6, includes pools, hot tubs, Jacuzzi tubs, tennis courts, workout facilities and several restaurants if I wanted to use them. Yes, $115 a night. Divide that by the number of friends you bring. I am planning to take DH and maybe some other family. The Hampton Inn is a bit closer to our meeting facilities and has wonderful reviews on hotel.com. Jan has negotiated a special group price there of $89. They do include breakfast.
The registration fee includes most of your meals, and your non attending guests can purchase a meal plan and join the group for meals. We eat very well. Highlands, NC, is not far away and has some interesting and excellent restaurants as well.
Now—all of that being said, the community of people who will gather is still the most important thing. Classes are very important—both the skills and the people involved—but the hanging out is more so—at least to me. I came back with new friends, new skills, new ideas and so much enthusiasm for my craft. I cannot wait to get there this year.
Please join me. You won’t regret it. Email me if you have questions. I’d love to tell you more.