Sunday, September 18, 2011

A touch of autumn

Yesterday was another local Wool Fair and our Shaker Village. I've been really unwell but had promised a friend some time ago that I would drive her there and I only see her a couple of times a year. So we set out at about mid-day, to drive into a beautiful forest-y historic part of the state. It was a gorgeous early autumn day, very warm and with just a kiss of cool breeze - perfect weather for an outdoor wool fair!

Our first view was the gardens, with the bright, irrepressible nasturtiums still in prolific bloom along with asters, chrysanthemums, and blossoming sages.

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There was so much going on! Several tours of the buildings, fiber-bearing animals on parade and herding demonstrations, food, vendors, an herbal remedy demo, and flax dressing and natural dying demonstrations, weaving demos, and a garden tour... lots of things I don't even remember!

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We walked up the hill to where some lovely lively llamas were on display:

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This big fellow was so friendly and also hilarious. He had a big ruff that went all the way down his legs, like a pair of clown pants! He is about 5 - 6 years old.

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I also loved this pretty little girl. She is a one year old llama:

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She was also really funny because she was very drawn to the camera! Every time I pointed my phone camera at something, she would trot over and get in my face. She really loved to have her picture taken!

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The herding demonstration that was on view when we were there was with a young dog and pygmy goats. I didn't get to see the actual herding, because I needed to rest for a bit before going on, but my friend told me that the shepherd said that they don't usually train young dogs with goats because they are more aggressive and will face off the with dog, threatening to butt it, whereas sheep will just run and scatter. Apparently this demo went well; the young dog was well trained and the goats behaved well!

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We took a short spin through the vendor tents...

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and saw more animals... this time, angora rabbits with their soft eyes and intelligent faces:

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I would have loved to pick up some angora blend yarn, but it was fairly expensive - $33 for 130 yards. I'm sure that's a fair price for the work of combing, cleaning, carding, spinning, and dying to produce it... it was just out of my price range this weekend.

Over to the side was a pen of alpacas, happily amusing passers by with their talkative gurgling and soft heads:

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This one was very determined to get at a tasty patch of clover just outside the fence:

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Next we wandered over to one of the most fascinating demonstrations: Gina Gerhard, Flax Dresser:

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She described how the flax had to soak for a long, long time before it could be thrashed and prepared for spinning. Some of it was years old. I've always loved to see period dying with nature dyes. I'm convinced that at sometime in the long life of my soul, I must have participated in natural dying with plants, flowers, and herbs. I'm drawn to it so strongly! Although I have no desire to do it again I want to possess almost all the naturally dyed fiber I see!

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Here you can see the varieties of naturally dyed flax. On the very very far right (to the right of the blue skein) is a partial skein of ocher yellow-green. I wanted this with a Big Want. I asked if I could buy it, but was told it was only for display. It was dyed with goldenrod.

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On the way back down the hill, we happened upon a weaving display in one of the small out-buildings. A woman from the local weaving guild had set up her portable loom (a really lovely thing!) and had it set for inkle weaving:

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That was really all I could manage, energy-wise, so I sat outside the visitor building and enjoyed the beautiful scene while my friend wandered around for a while longer. She got to see the sheep-herding and a llama parade with costumes and some hand-dyed silk scarves. It was all wonderful!

I was happy with the little things I picked up at the fair: some stitchmarkers made from the horns of a Jacob sheep and a finishing needle made from an antler found shed in the woods:

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a child-bed sized felted wool batt, which I'm going to use as the natural padding for a blanket for the little guy:

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and - a perfect souvenir of this perfect autumn day, a felted lapel pin made from wool wound around real acorns:

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3 comments:

Deb said...

Looks like a positively perfect September day!

Mette said...

What a nice time for you. I am drawn to dying, too. It is so exciting.

Anonymous said...

Hi
my name is Peter and i am trying to find a knitting pattern for the jumper Elvis wore in Jailhouse rock. when i googled this your site mentioned something about the jumper on Google. but when i went to your site i could not find any details of which book it was in. Was wondering if you could email me which book this pattern is in Please.
arp1939@hotmail.com