Sunday, May 13, 2012

There and Back Again, 2012

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Yesterday, my boyfriend went with me to the NH Sheep & Wool Fair in Deerfield. This was his first time going and it was fun for me to have a friend with me. I usually go by myself the first day and with friends the second day. But they moved it to the Deerfield Fairgrounds this year, and I knew I'd never find it without help. Sure enough, even my boyfriend, who has the best directional sense on the planet, had a hard time with this one.

Let me just say, I was not a fan of this venue.

This is the entry (may I say the beautiful, cool, green, New Hampshire countryside, forest entryway) to the Hopkinton Fairgrounds where the Sheep & Wool Fair has been held for the past several years:

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This is the entryway to the Deerfield venue:

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At the end of this road, you are then faced with this:

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It's only when you get to the top of that very steep hill that you are at the barns where the fair is held. I saw many elderly people struggling on that last hill.  The grounds seemed stark in comparison, too - dusty and paved. I couldn't find the the sheep-herding which I've always loved to see and then at the end of the day someone told me that you actually had to drive to it - you couldn't see it from the area where the vendors were.

Okay - enough with the complaints - on to the good parts!

There were little tents with small companies on the road to the vendor barns and these are always fun to peruse. I saw some new people, but some of the old standbys that I love were missing.

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Inside the vendor barns  it was a world of colour and texture! My boyfriend mentioned that he saw many empty vendor spots, but by that time I was just up to my elbows in the joy of fiber and didn't notice!

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Aren't these colours gorgeous? This is Tidal Yarns in Maine. The very nice artist who makes these yarns told me that the reason they all look so lovely together is because she uses the natural dyes from nature. It really does show in the evidence of these colourways!

I found another of my favorites, Dillner Hillside Farm:

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One of the things I absolutely LOVE is using yarns that are labeled with the animal who donated their locks for the skein! This is what Jessica Dillner does with all her yarn.  Last year I had yarn from Max:

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This year I got yarn from Wallace - you can see his little face on the label:

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Many of her handspun skeins use natural dyes such as goldenrod and that adds to to very soft subtle colour:

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I found two yarn companies new to me, Tucker Woods Yarns - the makers of that lovely tweedy skein you see below, and  Dirty Water Dyeworks who I've run into online before, but not seen at the Wool Fair. Their skein is the beautifully-dyed MCN water-shaded one in the picture.

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My other purchases included some little things for gifts and swaps, and a large haul of antique horn buttons:

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This is just a small portion of this great find - I bought 3 bags full of these! But I left one bag behind for you!

Its true, my boyfriend didn't hold out for the entire stroll through the barns... once he spied this shady nook he was glad he'd brought his iPad.

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We really enjoyed all the animals - they were hilarious this year - and LOTS of babies!

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Big yawn:

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and sweet fluffy bunny pals:

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That was it for us - we both were wondering what that bright shiny thing in the blue sky was and we both ended up with sunburns and I had additional freckles, so we trekked back home to cuddle with the sweet Tedders.

I had a most wonderful gift waiting for me - soft, felted slipper liners and a huge skein of soft deep blue Borderleicester from SuDan Farm in Canby, Oregon. The label says: "This yarn is a gift to you from a sheep named Fyfe. This wool has been grown, sheared, and processed with respect for the animals, land, and humans involved."

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Wow - can't get better than that for a day in May!


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