22 October 2009

Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival 2009

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!!!


sweetea said...

your attention to the foliage was a perfect way to enjoy the long ride out to the fair!

Sarah Smiles said...

Just read your blog for the first time, I am a knitter, UCC clergy and served in Vermont. Just visited to see my kids and grandkids, and the foliage....miss it a lot living in the midwest. One of the things i miss the most i sthe availablity in Iowa of great wool sources. Haven't knitted anything other than prayer shawls for about a year...time to get with it.

HolyKnitter said...

Sarah -- Thanks for your comment! Where are you in Iowa? I'm originally from Des Moines, and my folks are VERY involved in their church and in the Conference! I still have a ton of friends and connections there...

Also, I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble finding good local yarn sources. I didn't really start getting into knitting stuff until after I'd left Iowa, so I don't really know what's there. The dearth of LYSes in Des Moines always saddens me when I go home for visits. I would count Brown Sheep as "local" though. :)

Sarah Smiles said...

HolyKnitter --I'm in Grinnell. Were you from the Plymouth or Urbandale church? I do get to Coralville occasionally where Crazy Girl Yarns has some LYS and I understand there is a store in Ames that has LYS. I don't know "Brown Sheep".

Hope all is going well in VT. Have a wonderful Advent season.

HolyKnitter said...

Sarah -- I grew up at Plymouth. And went to Grinnell College. :)

So that Grinnell Fiberworks place never got off the ground? I checked their website recently and it was a big zero.

HolyKnitter said...

Oh, and Brown Sheep is a brand of good mass-produced yarn. They're from Nebraska.

Sarah Smiles said...

Thanks I will look up the Brown Wool. I haven't checked out Fiberworks recently, but the several times I was in before they are as you said "a big zero" unfortunately. A lot of fabrics and beads but not yarn.

LiturgyGeek said...

I totally can hear your mom saying that. And, glad you had a great time!

Sarah Smiles, I'm also a UCC pastor, but I'm about 3 hours west of Grinnell. Hope we'll find a chance to connect at some point!