Those of you who followed the knitting podcast know that in 2016 I was unable to attend almost all of the fiber events I usually go to due to my bariatric surgery and my move to a new house. I actually found that I really didn’t miss the events as much as I missed connecting with friends at the events. I certainly don’t NEED any more fibery goods!
I have more time in 2017, so I’ve been looking forward to the spring festival season. I really enjoy the CT Sheep and Wool. It is very small (three or four buildings, a tented area, and some booths, but in some ways that is refreshing. I know I won’t be there all day long and there are no huge lines to wait in. My usual routine with this festival is to arrive shortly after it opens at 9 and leave by noon or 1.
The big draw for me at this event is getting to catch up with my friend Jess and her husband Roger of Stitched by Jessalu bags. Their booth is always my first stop when I arrive, and then I usually swing back again when I’m done shopping. This year, I had even more motivation — I was toying with getting one of her medium-sized zippered wedge bags. I already have one of Jess’s zipper bags for my cross stitch projects, so I was thinking I would get a second for my embroidery. Why do I need two, you ask? Well, I already have a cross stitch project in the first bag (that REALLY needs to be finished). So it totally makes sense to have a second bag just for embroidery (and that, folks, is an example of how I can justify any purchase! It is totally my super power).
I was also thinking about buying a sweater’s worth of yarn for the Branches and Buds pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I am frankly a little obsessed with this sweater. It started with my co-blogger Diane buying some gorgeous yarn at the Spa marketplace in Freeport this February from Ball and Skein. She picked a gorgeous charcoal grey and what can only be described as a luminous silver (darn, I was hoping she had blogged the project she made with them). You won’t see them on the Ball and Skein website because they don’t have yarn available online during festival season. You can definitely find them at NH Sheep and Wool or MA Sheep and Wool if you want to check them out.
Anyway, I digress. Diane bought this beautiful silk-blend yarn in the charcoal and pale silver and started a project that I saw when we met up for a little Starbucks and knitting. Something about those two colors together is magical, and I immediately thought of the Branches and Buds sweater that I had recently seen on Susan B. Anderson’s Instagram (she offered a kit in her yarn store, Barrett Wool Co.) Ever since, I have not been able to stop thinking about making that sweater in those colors. I knew Ball and Skein would be at CT Sheep and Wool, so my idea was that I would see about buying the yarn for this project from them, and if they didn’t have the yarn available or the price point was too high for my budget, I would get the bag. I definitely couldn’t afford both on my budget.
Sadly, the Ball and Skein yarn was above my budget price point but Hooray! I got an awesome Dr. Who themed wedge bag and was able to support my pal’s business. So it really was a win win situation.
The Jessalu bag was well within my budget so I picked up some cute knit-themed earrings and stitchable mitten Christmas ornaments from Katrinkles. I also grabbed some maple sugar candy for the kids (because they adore it) and some farmhouse cheese for my husband (because he adores it). I ran into my friend Lisa, and some of her pals, too. And I was home and done by 2pm. All in all a very successful and enjoyable day.
A little photo montage of my day. From the upper left clockwise: two girls showing me their baby goats (they were SO soft), some cute sheep, a couple of views of the vending tents, me and Jess and this amazing banjo player who had a little wooden puppet attached to his banjo so that it danced up and down in time to his music! I totally should have taken a video.
Another great thing about this festival is the demonstration tent. This year, they had demonstrations of needle lace, tatting, medieval embroidery (demonstrated by the Society for Creative Anachronism), bobbin lace, several different types of weaving and probably a bunch of other stuff I forgot. I love it that there are people out there keeping the old crafts alive. I also am strongly tempted to buy a set of bobbins and learn how to do bobbin lace every time I see it. Some of the bobbins are so pretty. (And that, folks, is how I get sucked into new crafts solely because the accessories are cute). So far, I have resisted that temptation!
Anyhow, if you live in New England, this little festival is definitely worth the trip. It is right off the highway in Vernon-Rockville, CT. If you live in the greater Boston area (as I do), it’s about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Not too far for a day trip!