A few weeks ago, StrungUp, Meowkat, Mango, and I piled into Sweetea's environmentally-friendly hybrid car and drove down to Tunbridge, VT, for the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.
The day was gray, chilly, and sometimes rainy (boy am I glad I wore my raincoat!), but I enjoyed the trip regardless of the weather. For one thing, it was the first weekend in October, and the trees were amazing. I felt like my mother: "Children! Look out the window! The trees are orange, children! Look at the trees, they look like they're on fire! LOOK AT THE ORANGE TREES, CHILDREN!!!" Mom, I totally get it now, and although I still reserve the right to make fun of you, it comes from a place of love and truth and self-mocking, and not just from a place of rolling-my-eyes-at-my-mother.
Also, when you fill a car with knitters, we're all very quiet -- until the sun goes down and we can't see to knit anymore. Then we get talkative!
The festival itself was very different from last year. It felt a bit lackluster, although I think I do like the Tunbridge fairgrounds (facility/layout/setup) better than the Essex fairgrounds. There were quite a few shops that were missing, and the selection of wares just wasn't as good as I remember last year's being. There was a LOT of sock yarn. Most of it was more than $25 a skein. And since I (a) don't knit many socks, and (b) don't have much money these days, I really didn't find a lot of options that excited me.
I still made out like a bandit compared with my road companions, though. I found a kit for the Tulip Cardigan, which I'd been wanting for about two years. It was reasonably-priced and everything. (I wouldn't have bought it if it had cost way too much, but the price was exactly what I would have expected to pay, which meant I didn't have to spend five minutes agonizing over whether or not to spend $5 more than I thought it was really worth.) I also found some beautiful handspun-and-died llama yarn -- a bunch of mini-skeins, 30-40 yards apiece, in about a DK weight. Perfect for the Fiddlehead Mittens, which I've also been wanting to make for a while but have agonized about buying all that yarn just to use a tiny bit of each color (and the designer's kits, while gorgeous, are expensive; plus, I'm just not that much of an internet buyer).
Also, there was one lonely farmer there, selling delicious sheepsmilk cheese! Soooooo yummy.
I didn't buy anything that didn't have a designated purpose, which is unusual for me. I tend to be a buy-now-because-it's-pretty-and-figure-out-a-project-later kind of gal. Last year, I came home with all kinds of random items. This year, I was much more focused.
All in all, I did enjoy the Festival. I was bummed for my friends, a couple of whom didn't find anything they really loved enough to purchase, but we had a great time together. I also enjoyed running into the blogless VTHuskies and reconnecting with her. I even enjoyed standing in the rain, waiting for the very slow catering people to make me a lambburger. Mmmm...delicious lambburger. And I got to look at the beautiful Vermont countryside, all aflame with the reds, yellows, and oranges of Autumn in New England. LOOK AT THE TREES, CHILDREN! THEY ARE BRIGHT RED! CHILDREN, LOOK AT THEM! LOOK!!!