Earlier this year, my husband was visiting a childhood (or maybe tweenhood is the better word?) friend of his in Northampton, MA. When he came back, he told me that this friend said we should come back to the area for the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool show in May, and would I like to go? I don't mean to brag, but having a husband who finds sheep and wool shows for me to go to is pretty rad.
So this past weekend, we went! We went on Saturday with my husband's friend and her family. Then we went again on Sunday with fellow blogger Emily and her family. Sunday evening after the festival we went for dinner and drinks at the Dirty Truth, along with a dear friend of mine, from my days as a NYC public high school teacher, and her siblings. I really felt extremely fortunate to spend my weekend with so many fantastic people and such vibrant families. Isn't that what it's all about? The fact that the timing worked out to see everyone I wanted to see was remarkable. And all this for a a wool festival!
Massachusetts Sheep and Wool is not nearly at the scale of Rhinebeck or Maryland, but that's actually not a bad thing at all. There was no traffic, there was no shoving through barns and booths, you could find a seat in the shade easily, the events were really great, and there was no shortage of shopping to be done. This was the first festival I'd been to with competitive sheep dog trials, which my husband especially enjoyed. There was also the Lead Line Pageant, which is basically the same as the Shepherd's Lead at Maryland, the simultaneous fashion show/sheep show that's always a highlight for me. They had contests like Fleece to Shawl, and some speed/knitting contests that I'd like to be a part of at some future festival. This festival also had more angora rabbits than I feel like I've seen before. I fell deeply in love with a gray bunny with blue eyes, whom you can meet in the photo montage below.
I also loved this especially compact bunny that can fit in any narrow space in your home. Very convenient.
It seems I fall in love a lot at wool festivals. That's part of the point of going, I suppose. I'm always interested in checking out new tools, so I tried a couple of spinning wheels. I haven't really had this experience before with a spinning wheel-- I actually bought mine without having tried it out-- but when I tried the Spinolution Mach III, I had this experience:
I really can't help that Wayne's World is a big cultural touchstone for me, but it is. Anyway, I have heretofore decided that no more money will be spent on spindles, and I'm going to start saving my pennies for that. You know, after this weekend. Because when there's a sheep and wool festival, there's some shopping.
The yarn and combed top are from Play At Life Fiber Arts. The gradient sock yarn is pre-wound into two matching cakes, which will make fantastic socks for my mom. The fiber--it's Polwarth-- really surprised me. It's tough to win me over on pastels, but I think this will be really fun to spin into a gradient yarn. The colors are a little bit acidic even though they are so light, which is what made this special to me. The batts are from KnittinK, and the very lovely spindle that coordinates well with them is a Forrester Dervish in sapele and yellowheart with a cherry shaft.
A great weekend indeed, and so fantastic to have seen both my fellow bloggers at festivals this month before I ship out. Two festivals in one month is truly an embarrassment of riches, and now I just wonder when or where my next festival will be?