Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fiber Fest, as told by the accurate & truthful orator of our generation, Crystal Sutliff

Four score and 7 years ago we discovered & planned a trip to Alleghan County fiber fest. We being Amy & myself, Crystal. Through snow or sleet or rain...we cared not, we were going. Then we sobered up and realized we had stolen the postal workers motto and we were not going to be able to make it that first year.

Well one year turned into about a hundred, but finally..yes, finally our time had come. We were on our way. Suzy, Joe, Amy & myself…Oh & our handy dandy pic-a-nic basket booboo.

Laura White & Laura White...yes you read that right...there are two of em with the same name...sister in laws. Such a simple thing but it amuses me anyhow. So Laura and Laura were going in a separate car and not that one...the other one, was coming home with us.

As usual our early morning start turned into more like mid-morning start and we were running behind. It didn’t help that I forgot the damn bread and our main dish for our pic-a-nic was tuna sammies…argh I rock!

People driving in front of me were a pain and were banished forever from attending fiber festivals by my forthright decree of "No Fiber for you"! I meant it then and I mean it now...harsh I know but what is a girl wanting to sniff fiber to do I ask you?

So there we were stopping every five minutes for breaks. We are sooo big on taking breaks. We have even been known to take breaks from taking breaks. We were planning on taking a break mid fest and set up our chairs and have a loooooovvvveeeelllllyyyy pic-a-nic and maybe knit a bit and have a high ole time. What a bunch of rubes. First off, totally my fault, we weren't staying over cuz I made the mistake of accepting an obligation for Sunday and so we could not stay over on Saturday. However, I never take responsibility when I can pass it off on someone else and so blame the rest of this band of merry fiber feelers for being heavy drinkers and not having the money to pay for their share of the hotel due to excessive drinking.

So back to where I was, I could complain all damn day about those women and their liquor.

Oh, I forgot we stopped at a yard sale when we were almost there and I scored THE cutest purple knit carrier bag…adorable (I am singing this part, your loss that you cannot hear me, I sound just like a nightingale, sort of).

Anyhow, three women and one man enter the hallowed grounds of FiberFest. The angel of the Lord appeared unto them and said Blessed are you…wait…wrong story…No angels just an old man with a fanny pouch asking us to pay either our first born or 5 dollars each to get in. I said my first born was 31 and they could have him, to which he snottily replied that the cut off for taking ones children was 30, just give me the 5 bucks lady and quit being a cheapskate. I promptly smacked him with some inferior yarn and yelled I thought old men in fanny packs were supposed to be nice so you don’t laugh at them and we roared off to get lost in the festival. We got out of the van and Suzy smacked me in the back of the head for being a smart mouth and Amy tripped me for almost getting us kicked out. Joe didn’t do anything, he was still grumbling I never wanted to come, I knew this was a mistake.

As I was picking myself up off the ground I heard the most horrendous of noises and looking around discovered Amy on all fours howling and sniffing the air muttering, I smells me some fiber, I smells me some fiber. I smacked her a good one and told her to straiten up as we were on shaky ground already.

We all had a two hour conference on which way to go first and where does one start amidst such plenty. Deciding we needed a leader to make the call on our first booth visit & figuring voting was the most democratic way to go about it we came to the conclusion that none of us would feel comfortable with any of us in leadership and we just started following the first sane person we saw. Fiber people are notoriously unbalanced so it took a while to find a sane one. Finally we saw a semi-sane lady with orange hair and set off. Our first Alleghan County Fiber Fest booth. Orange-hair lady led us to a booth full of Yak yarn and I swear Suzy was quivering as we stood amidst the fiber that in days of yore had clothed and warmed one of God’s creatures. I told Suzy to cut it out, as she was making orange hair lady nervous. Suzy told me to shut it and move over as I was standing on orange-hair ladies foot.

It took me two booths to make a purchase. I admired my restraint and my new toys at the same time. I am a woman of many talents and I can multi-task like a mo-fo! Booth two report---RAIN! Booth three report---MORE RAIN! Booth 4-257…same thing..RAIN! Just when we thought it might stop, Lord have mercy…It was the half way point and with the very real fear of starvation upon us, the heavens opened up and the skies unleashed a bitter fury. It was a down pour of epic proportions. It made us wish for the simple rain we started with. We had a few options. Option one- carry all our chairs, coolers and other junk through the torrential rain to the pavilion…no freaking way! Option two-starve to death while standing in the rain…nyet! Option three-pack it in and drive home only half way through and disappointed…uh-uh! Option four and the one we went with was run like hell for the car and picnic inside the van. Now I find my long legs and long arms a fine thing normally and worked great for the run like hell part, but in a muggy van in the middle of fiber fest and trying to lay out a picnic..not so much.

We bumbled and fumbled our way through some satisfying feasting and with the rain managed to carry in about a beach load of sand into my van. Finally the rain lightened up and was just a mist as when we started and off we went again.

Booth after booth of fantastic fibers & yarns & stuffs as well as the teeniest baby alpaca…it was flat out adorable. I was having a good time but every time I turned my back Amy was negotiating to buy two alpacas to live in my back yard. I had to keep pinching her in the arm…hard… and I made sure to put my visa card in my underwear. I wasn’t completely sure Amy wouldn’t go in after it and I was nervous and twitchy the rest of the day.

Suzy claimed a bum knee and sat out with Joe half way through the second big barn, but I heard her whisper to Joe that she was embarrassed to be seen with me and Amy and should have just stuck with getting a root canal that weekend rather than hang with us. I would have been offended but a lady walked by me with the prettiest handpainted yarn and I forgot Suzy was even there and wandered off in a fiber stupor.

So many booths and many purchases later we waddled out of the second main barn room type thingy and found some wet benches to hover around. Amy, Suzy and I concentrated on buying stuff for needle felting. We loaded up with no real idea of what we needed, like the geniuses we are. We now know some more and are looking forward to Ann Arbor fiberfest, so we can totally get it wrong again.

We lasted a few hours and ended the day on chairs in the pavilion eating from Joes large bag of kettle corn. Joe didn’t really want to share so we just kept poking him in the eye and stealing hand fulls.

Laura & Laura who, by the way, stalked us through the ENTIRE fiber fest…pretending they were just shopping and JUST HAPPENED to be where we were…hmmm…I suspect not…I suspect a kidnapping plot…I suspect nefarious activities…I suspect KGB…ummm, Moving on…

We decided it was time for dinner in a restaurant and packed ourselves along with one of the Lauras up and off we headed, into the unknown. We had only the vague idea of eating somewhere in Kalamazoo. We drove around the town for about an hour with Amy pointing out one restaurant after another to which was replied, no looks shady…no looks too expensive…no looks rundown…no looks too restaurant looking…no looks like they serve aliens…no looks like they wouldn’t have clean bathrooms. Amy was ready to pull over and shave us all bald. I wouldn’t have blamed her either…those other three were being picky.

Finally someone picked a restaurant which said organic and I for one wanted fat, grease and unhealthy I accosted a cool looking mohawked chick coming out and asked for a good Italian eatery and she pointed us towards the best in town. To put it succinctly, she was right. It was excellent. I cannot remember the name because I lost my mind somewhere around the middle of the fiber fest and have yet to recover it. I was a little nervous when Laura told us we had to go down wet snatch street. Amy did a double take and a spit take. I just peed myself a little. Suzy & Joe were in the back making out and I told them to stop I wasn’t running no chicken ranch and that kind of behavior was best saved for public bathrooms…Geez some people just weren’t raised right.

Anyhow, we went to best Italian in Kalamazoo and I introduced Laura to a dish called Putenesca. Now I won’t tell you what the name means or what the legend says of this story but a little hint is Ladys of the evening. I personally call it P---- Pasta. I will say no more. That and some soup and a martini and Laura was a super, happy camper. Suzy, Joe and Amy dug into a lovely flatbread pizza. Laura and I clubbed them and stole a piece and it was delicious. YUMMY to our TUMMIES! We rolled our glutinous selves out of there and headed back on the road. Burdick road led us safely out. We could NOT get away from sexual innuendos…Kalamazoo is full of em. I think the town just might be full of founding fathers with a sick sense of humor.

Halfway home now and our bladders are bursting. Okay truth is I was jonesing for some freaking coffee. A girl can only take so much of the lunatics I was riding with and then she needs some sustenance. So Panera bread, here we come. Coffee, cookie and the outdoor patio at sunset. A lovely end to the day…but wait..not over yet. Long ride back…seems too long? Hmmmm. Ames…isn’t that our exit…Ames…wasn’t that our exit…Ames why are we in timbuktoo? Ames why don’t you love us? Ames are you taking us to our death? Ames???

So Amy was yakking so much that she missed our exit by miles and miles and miles. By this time my bladder was full and stretched three times the size of my head…and I have a pretty big head. So Amy turns around and heads back towards home muttering, rats, I almost got rid of these simple fools and had all the fiber to myself…mumble mumble mumble.

With respect to my bladder Amy got off in bum fudge Egypt and told me she was taking me to McNasties to potty..I took this to mean McDonalds..yuh know?..nasty…no…it was a bar…with patrons…dressed nicely…Me? I was a sandy, dirty, sweaty, smelly car riding mess! Walk of shame? Yup..all the way to the bathroom and back. You would think those people would have had something better to do than watch a train wreck walk to the bathroom..,harrumph!

Finally we all make it safely home…all of us mumbling softly about cold day in hell…see if I ever ride with them again…I can’t stand another minute with them…If I never see them again it will be too soon…yah know…crap like that. The truth is a good time was had by all and we can’t wait for next year.

Most of the tale above is a lie with little doses of the truth interjected…just enough so none of the goofs I went with can say it isn’t true. Heeheeheehee!!!

(Posted via proxy for Crystal (with a lot of cackling, I might add). Edited only for formatting. Yeah, that's right, blame HER!)


  1. It is even funnier on paper! I'll drive to the Ann Arbor fiber expo! Now who can I borrow a car from?

  2. Liam has a teeny tiny orange a black cycle you can use anytime