Today I want to talk to you about overwhelm.  I’ve been hearing that time and time again at fiber shows.  I’m not sure if people are saying this as an excuse to walk on by my booth or if they are truly feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of all those mini pop-up stores at a fiber festival.  I don’t hear people say this at a mall or at the outlets.  But I do hear this A LOT at fiber festivals.  

Merriam Webster defines “overwhelm” as to affect someone very strongly or to cause someone to have too many things to deal with. Overwhelm can also mean to: submerge or to overcome by superior force or numbers or to overpower in thought or feeling. Overwhelm comes from the “chatter” in your head as you look at all the options available to you at the show. 

Let’s be real here. There is a lot to be overwhelmed with at a fiber festival. There are so many skeins of yarn. There are so many bags of fiber and fleeces and needles and buttons and project bags.  There are beautiful samples made up, more that one person could make in a lifetime.  And there is FOMO, the fear of missing out, especially when you see other people buying.  You are trying to hold all this in your mind and it is simply not possible to focus on all of this at the same time.  

I hear people making unrealistic goals for themselves such as not buying anything, just looking. Or going on a fiber or yarn diet, but then like a starving dieter, you go to the place where you will be surely tested.  It’s not fair to yourself to have those expectations.  It puts undue pressure on you and can also lead to guilt feelings.  And to paraphrase Dr. Phil, “How is that working for you?”

But a fiber festival is supposed to be about fun, not guilt, not overwhelm.  So how can you defeat this overwhelm and bring back the fun?  I have an idea for you based on the way that I deal with overwhelm in my business.  I want to help you come up with a plan. Planning takes overwhelm and chucks it out.  And with a plan, you can always tweak it once you are at the festival.  

So here is the plan. 
1. go through the patterns in your Ravelry library or queue. You aren’t on Ravelry? Go through your saved or purchased patterns or a couple of current magazines.  

2. Next pick your top three choices. Yes! Only 3!  

3. Complete the planning worksheet.with the name of the pattern, the yarn needed (not the actual name but the weight and skein numbers or yardage), the needles needed and if you have them ready to go and any other materials will be needed, such as beads, stitch markers, etc.  (If you would like me to send you a copy of the planning worksheet, leave a comment and your email)

4. Pack this worksheet in your purse, backpack or bag.  

There you have a plan.  When you are feeling overwhelmed with the choices, pull out your worksheet and search for the materials you need for those three projects.  Of course, I’d love you to come to our booth with your worksheet. I’ll help you pull choices that can work for your future projects.  

The next fiber festival for us is the Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier Station, VA. It is on October 7 and 8.  This is one of the sweetest festivals. It takes place in a large field that was once part of James Madison’s estate.  We are in Tent III.