Posts Tagged ‘CTSW’

One behind, another ahead

May 2, 2013

The 2013 festival season is officially open with the 104th Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend kicking things off.

And what adorable faces KnittingKittens, Patshere and I found as we

Nellie was a little lamb ...

Nellie was a little lamb …

wandered through!  This was, it seemed, the year of the nursery.  Kids (the kind with hooves), bunnies, and of course, lambs like little Nellie, here.  She is a Romney; by unscientific observation Romney was one of the most visible breeds of this show.

We were pleased to see one of the

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

Olympia Farm Romney yarns

newer farms in Connecticut bringing lovely Romney fiber and yarn to market.  Anne McIntyre-Lahner and Mark Lahner’s Olympia Farm of Guilford first appeared on my radar a couple of years ago.  This year, their booth was well-stocked with natural-colored Romney in cream and grays at various weights and extremely reasonable prices.   The lighter shade you see here comes from Maggie, Bonnie, Coco and Cookie.

Sadly, in spite of victories like that, overall there appeared to be fewer vendors than in previous years.  Some of our favorites were not to be found in the barns and tents, perhaps reflecting just how hard it is to keep a small

Slinky Mink ... an understatement

Slinky Mink … an understatement

independent business afloat.  However, others, like Still River Mill, continue to work at distinguishing themselves with their own unique yarns.  Take, for example, Slinky Mink, pointed out by Clara at Rhinebeck last fall.  It was heavenly to touch.  Find it.  Knit it.  Love it.  Repeat.

As a non-lamb-eater, I did appreciate that the lamb stew and other lamb entrees were not on the menu ~ or infusing an entire indoor area.  I always found it a little jarring (if not downright creepy) to have lamb served up a mere twenty yards from barns with live sheep.

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Making knots with a purpose: tatting

Every year festival organizers bring great demonstrations to this show.  It is easy to be mesmerized by the bobbin lace makers. I found the tatting equally hypnotic.  It’s kind of like macrame using cobwebs that ultimately produces its own special lace. All those teensy knots and they were just flying by.  It was something to behold.

Since I have been

Fripperies so beautifully displayed ...

Fripperies so beautifully displayed …

somewhat preoccupied planning my new knitting space, I confess to being completely taken by everything about this display from Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods.  It had more trims than I would ever begin to know what to do with … and everything in the booth was just pretty.  (I am ignoring the fact that everything here requires use of a sewing needle and thread, where I

How many owls can YOU spot?

How many owls can YOU spot?

possess no talent whatsoever and generally provoke sympathy from those who see my infantile attempts … )  Then again, maybe if I amassed enough antique spools with enough different ribbons like these, I might be motivated to change that.

Nahhhh.  They’re better just to look at and enjoy.

Now that “the season” is underway, if you are heading out to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, I hope to see you there.  I will be reprising my role as a Booth Babe at Spirit Trail Fiberworks ~ that’s at A30 of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Do come by to see what Jennifer has been cooking up in her dyepots and give me a hoot!

Charmed: Year 3!

April 29, 2012

How about that?  Three years online and growing.

Most days, I feel like I’m writing for myself, a couple of out-of-state friends, and some former students who don’t have a LYS to take classes with me anymore.  Then I’ll get some revelation that knocks me smack onto my tailfeathers.  Like the new WordPress stat maps that show me readers in Japan and Russia and any number of other places it never occurred to me to think might be swooping by.  (I get really tickled to see Internet searches in Greek.)  I mean, it’s not like there are boundaries on the Internets.  Or the random days where for no particular reason, several hundred people will drop by.  I didn’t put a pie on the windowsill to cool or anything.  But you come anyhow.

It’s all pretty nifty.

Especially the part where I tell you that I’m pretty sure that my family still doesn’t know I’m doing this.  Or if they do, they’re not telling.  And that’s okay, too.

I get the biggest kick out of seeing what you come here to find.  Most often it’s the reviews of how different new yarns perform.  If my experiences can help you decide whether one is right for you, so much the better.

Sadly, I won’t have spent the almost-blogiversary Saturday at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival ~ celebrating its year 103 in 2012.  My evil employers captors have seen fit to incarcerate me at a mega-management program for the weekend.  So have a slice of cake and some ice cream for me, won’t you?

My revenge reward ~ will be to run away next week to an event I’ve never attended:  the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, MDSW for short.  Bless Mr. Owl for telling me to buy the ticket and go.  Bless Jen and Co. for welcoming me to the Booth Babes sisterhood.  I promise to tell you all about it. You never know what will make it home in the suitcase that Southwest lets me check for free.  (Kiss kiss to Southwest.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a blogiversary if I didn’t celebrate with a contest and prizes.  Put on your imaginary party hat and think back to what first brought you here.  Tell me about it in the comments below.  Or hold up your glass of bubbly and tell me something else.  Lurkers: This is your cue to come on out!  Contest closes Sunday, May 6 at 11:59 p.m.  Winners to be drawn the old-fashioned way.  Cheers!

102 and counting

May 17, 2011

There is an undeniable feeling of celebration every time the Connecticut Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festival rolls around.  Think about it: in its 102nd year, we are talking about a truly enduring industry.  Yarn shops may come and go, but the shepherds, mills and fiber they produce exist far beyond trends.  As the first event of the year in New England, there is an almost-giddiness in the air: winter is over; festival season has started.

I Made It With Wool!

April chose its last day to demonstrate why it is “the cruelest month,” with grey skies and blustery wind.  That said, the whole event seemed a bit subdued.  Several regular vendors were notably absent, and the crowds ~ well, there wasn’t a crowd.  The weather may have encouraged early attendees to scurry home rather than linger listening to music and watching sheep-dog trials.  Or see the adorable contestants in the “I Made It With Wool competition” ~ like the grand prize winner from Still River Mill.  A felted juice box?  Genius.  Don’t look for this Owl to execute anything half as clever come Halloween.

The Painted Sheep painted yarn

Our good friend Kris of The Painted Sheep had a standing-room-only crowd craning necks to hear her demo on dyeing yarn.  Armed with soda bottles of color, she makes it all look so easy … but ask anyone who’s ever tried at home: coming up with harmonious colorways is not for the faint of heart.

Still River Mill Summer Breeze

My “find” of the festival this year came again from Still River Mill.  This local operation spins for scores of small fiber-producers across New England and beyond.  Because of that, they don’t go to a lot of shows, feeling that to do so, they would be “competing” for

What you need on a summer's night

business against their own customers.  But Still River Mill has its own unique fiber blends ~ and this year, they brought an extraordinary new entrant to the market:  Summer Breeze.  This fingering-weight boasts 40% linen, 40% cashmere and 20% seacell.  It fine yet soft and strong and just begs to becoming that all-summer sweater or shawl to ward off the evening chill.

Dirty Water DyeWorks

If I told you that I was somehow seduced yet again by BFL, you regular readers would hardly be surprised.  I can’t keep my hands off the stuff.  It just knits like butter for me.  So when our friends at Dirty Water DyeWorks, who provided us with lovely skeins of their Julia yarn at the KR Retreat, had a bushel of BFL sock yarn in discontinued colors, I was rather ~ ahem ~ powerless to resist.   Frankly, I thought I showed admirable restraint in sticking to two projects’ worth.  And it was discounted.  So there.

Digression: I am noting the absence of a LYS more acutely as the days go by.  There is no browsing, squeezing and sniffing of yarn to be done.  While positive on the pocket book, it is nonetheless missed.

Nubian goat

There were plenty of animal cuties on the grounds, to be sure.  This little Nubian goat was the most charming little flirt … and it seems that every year there is more alpaca of both the live and spun varieties.

Most importantly, I picked up my new copy of the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association directory, an invaluable resource for locally sourcing breeds of wool for our KBOW wool-along.

The skies opened up to bright sunshine later in the day.  By then, we had decamped for the massive lunch spread at Rein’s Deli.  A wonderful start to a new festival season any way you look at it.


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