Sunday, April 29, 2012

All we, like sheep....

Gentle knitters, let the music commence.

Multipurpose: 4-H exhibit at yesterday's  Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival,  friend, fleece, fiber, sheepskin, meat.

The annual Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival was a splendid affair, enhanced by perfect spring weather, just chilly enough to allow knitters to parade about in hand-made outerwear. I saw designs by Kristin Nicholas, Kaffe Fassett, EZ and other luminaries worn by real people (mostly middle-aged, "de-conditioned") in real time, which was most instructive. The takeaway: do not wear a voluminous Fassett coat if you're excessively large in any dimension, else you'll resemble a yurt with feet. The knitting, however, was spectacular. I photographed this elegant shawl, edged by tiny pearl-beads, as its proud creator displayed it to nearby admiring fiberholics:

Although the event was sponsored by the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association, other animals were much in evidence, either live or in fiber form:

Mowing a rabbit.

Angoras for sale.

The alpacas brought their own fans (partly visible at left)
Cashmere goats were represented by this practical bikini top (left)... were canines.  This Samoyed-merino blend was soft and fuzzy, like angora.  Damn, I wish I'd bought some! But do you suppose it smells like wet dog when it's damp?
On the balance, this was one of the better fiber expos I've attended. The setting was more rural than suburban, the selection of fibers and yarns was wide and varied, affiliated craftspeople (soap-makers, artists, etc.) sold quality rather than kitsch, demonstrations (border collies, sheep and bunny shearing, carding, spinning, knitting, knitting with beads, and so forth) were what you'd expect but done effectively (demos were easy to see, speakers could be heard because there were no overwhelming crowds), and one gained an excellent sense of the liveliness of fiber arts in New England generally (I met vendors from all over the region, though the majority was from Connecticut). Alas, the festival is only a one-day event.

So here's my advice--if you weren't able to make it to Tolland this year, try to go in 2013. Meanwhile I'll leave you with a few more postcards.

Purist spinning.

Holding pen for the shearing demonstrations.

There was always music in the air.

Neuroknitter went roving.
Gorgeous yarn by Dirty Water Dyeworks of Arlington, MA.  I bought some.
Gorgeous natural colors.  Sorry, I forgot the name of the farm!
Sheep, when not badgered by eager and active border collies, may safely graze (at a distance).


  1. It was a perfect day to visit the wool and associated beasts! Even though there were more people there than in the past few years (good weather this time!) it was not overly crowded.
    Thanks for chronicling the day SMW!

  2. Sorry I missed you, and missed this year's festival, it is one of my favorites. I had too full a plate to make it up to Tolland.

    1. Alas, but life has a way of interfering with best laid plans! I did look for you. The refreshment canteen had really good food, too--lamb burgers and lamb stew.