Recap: The 2019 Florida Fiber-In

Whew. Another one in the books, y’all!

Friday we got there with more than enough time to set up and scoot out over to Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. Setting up was…. well, when is setting up ever truly easy? There was a … misunderstanding … with the hotel, and half the large room that was supposed to be for Fiber-In was blocked off and housing furniture because of some renovations that were being done. So all of the vendors who usually take up about a 15×15 space were … very crowded. It’s a good thing we’re all friends!

But like I said, we got setup done pretty quickly, ran off to dinner (mmmmm, bread service), and came back for the opening Friday/preview night. That’s usually vendors buying from other vendors, but also a few regulars who get there to spend time with friends they only see a couple of times a year.

Oh – and when we got back from dinner, there was an “F bomb” on my display. My friend Michele knitted me an F-bomb! Insert deeply hilarious story about how her kids, when they questioned what an F-bomb was and got the correct answer because their parents are awesome, ran around the house throwing the F-bomb. Hahahaha! Oh, the innocence of children. Anyway, the F-bomb made recurring guest appearances in all my photos from then on.

This was my booth setup this year. I was one of the first vendors to show, so I got my pick of the room… I felt a little bad for the people who got there later, just because we were so packed in there. Not so bad that I gave up any space and took stuff back out to my car, but… still. A little bad.

Here are a few shots from the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately the spinning circle wouldn’t fit into the room this year, because of the room being half the size we were told it would be. So they had to sit just outside the room. We missed them! My favorite people who come every year are a couple of the ones who sit and spin the whole weekend. They’re usually right near my booth and I really missed seeing them all weekend. I mean, they poked their heads in and everything, but it wasn’t the same.

In fact, we wound up leaving for dinner a little early, staying late in Disney Springs, and not getting back to the group room until after everything had pretty much shut down. They had the business meeting while we were still out, so I know that the country next year is going to be South Africa (this year was Peru) but I don’t know what else was really discussed.

And then we wound up folding up earlier on Sunday than I think I ever have (which turned out to be fine because it took us foreeeeeever to load the car! But at least we didn’t have a dead car battery this time, hahahah, I’ll have PTSD about that forever).

So, how did I do? I have to be honest…. I don’t know that I’m going to go back next year. I genuinely love some of the people, but also… that’s the only craft show where I’ve been told that my prices are too high or that my handmade items are not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who support me there, people who are genuinely glad to see me and that I am happy to see. But … I could go to Fiber-In as a person, not as a vendor, and be able to see them and spend more time with them.

I made more items but also made less money this year than I made last year, which was less than the year before, and that was less than the year before that… this is what I do for a living. If I’m going to go and vend somewhere – especially somewhere out of town, where I need to haul everything (stressful and hard work for setup/breakdown), need a hotel room for two nights (expensive), need to bring snacks or to eat out (snacks fight for room in the car with things I can sell, and eating out is expensive)… I need to make sure it is worth it financially and emotionally. If it’s not worth it financially, I’m not happy, and if I’m not happy, I’m not giving people my best self. If I’m tense because of hotel problems (at least this room didn’t leak constantly) or event organization issues (did I tell y’all that I only found out for sure that I was vending three days before the event?) or am upset because of how people talk to me (who actually says to someone “this handmade mug I bid on in the auction and won for less than half the retail price just isn’t good enough, can you make me another?”), well… that’s not an emotional win for anyone. The angrier I get, the more I emotionally withdraw from something, and nobody wants an angry or emotionally withdrawn vendor making small-talk.

Which is all my way of saying that I’m exhausted, y’all. Physically and mentally I am just. so. tired. of. this. I’m not going to “never say never” or whatever, but… there is about a 97% chance that this time next year I’ll be going down not to vend but instead to spend the weekend with my friends Beth and Jeromy, sleeping under a handmade quilt and with a cat named Shitbird, and going to Fiber-In for a few hours as a person and not a vendor. I just really need a mental reset. Also, as the man said, you got to know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.

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