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Saturday, April 20, 2019

It is Fiber Festival Season!

Here in New England, all six states have Fiber Festivals.  I go to quite a few.  I bring sheepie pottery, my mini pots and my weaving supplies to sell. I also demonstrate weaving on my band and tape looms.  Some times, Oscar the satin angora rabbit comes with me.  Sometimes, Roger plays his banjo with the dancing man. Sometimes the grand children come and help. Sometimes I set up my canvas tent, sometimes I am in a building.

But it is all fun. Fiber Festivals are a nice place to spend a day. There are sheep, llamas, alpaca, rabbits and goats. Sometimes they are sheared and clipped right before your eyes. There is raw fleece to hand dyed skeins for you to buy.  There are yarn related tools you can buy. There is spinning, weaving, knitting, felting and crochet going on all over.  CSA people are at some of these events to teach and entertain you in their Medieval costumes. There is really good foods.

You all missed my first Fiber Festival last weekend. This is a new one for me. In Oxford CT, there is an old home that has become the Oxford Historical Society. This was small event, but one with great people, vendors and some of the best sheep and goat shearing I have witnessed. And this festival has a flax demonstration... yes, there is flax being grown and processed into linen right here in Connecticut!  Be sure to search this one out next year.

Meta at the Barn Loom

Walking Wheel
Shearing George

George after his shearing
Spinning Flax
Needle Felting

There is a Festival coming up next weekend. The Connecticut Fiber Festival is held in Vernon, April 27th. This one is a great place to see critters and buy fiber stuff. I will be set up outside with my looms, rugs, bookmarks, my "Tape Loom Weaving, simplified"  for sale and lots of bands.  I will be demonstrating weaving on my band looms. Roger will be busking with his banjo and the dancing man, AK.

This year, a lovely Fiber Festival I have attended for a few years, has moved from April to May 4th.  Although not technically in New England, I am close to the Clermont Fiber Festival is in Germantown NY. Located due west of the northwest Connecticut border, the festival is just north of Redhook directly on the east side of the Hudson river.   I love the drive through the winding back roads at the foot of the Berkshire mountains. My dad's family came from this area, and as I drive through the small towns, I try to imagine what house they lived in or what fields they worked in. I can see them driving down dirt roads like the movie "Grapes of  Wrath." From the time they had a large farm in Pawling NY in the early 1800s till they moved to my mill town of Torrington CT for better jobs during the great depression, my grandfather and great grandfather worked as migrant farmers with their brothers and cousins, moving from town to town to pick fruits and vegetables along the Hudson river farming corridor.  It is a sentimental trip for me every year. But back to the Festivals....

The festival takes place at a historic site, the Clermont Mansion, learn of our early history and tour the mansion while you are at the festival... or just walk the lovely grounds!

There will be sheep shearing, herding (usually ducks), great food, live music and of course, lots of fiber experts and lots of demonstrations going on. Roger will be entertaining crowds of children and adults with his banjo and dancing man, I will be weaving. Buy some wool, picnic on the lawn and have a peaceful day on this lovely property.

Adelaide with sheep and friends


Roger carving a loom
Shearing the Sheep
Mini Pots!
The Great and Beautiful Hudson River, 100 miles north of NYC

I have to miss the Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont festivals this year due to conflict with other events, but I will be up in Commington for the Massachusetts Fiber Festival May 25 & 26 this year.

Out in the middle of know where, another nice country drive, Commington is between Pittsfield and North Hampton. Only 62 miles north of my town, the winding roads take you through forests, past lakes and over streams. About 2 hours later, after stopping here and there and getting lost yet again, I arrive at the fair grounds.

This is a two day event and there is plenty of room to sleep over. People bring tents and campers. I usually slept in my truck (!), but this year I can only attend on Sunday the 26th. The exhibitors are great. There is judging of critters, shearing, herding and demonstrations going on. There are exhibits of work done by attendees. There is great food including home made ice cream and a feast put on by everyone bringing a dish on Saturday night if you plan to stay over.

I will be demonstrating tape loom weaving and putting on a sort of class. Come try your hand at weaving, visit all of the weavers, spinners and exhibits. And meet some great fiber people.


Sheep Dog Trials

Emma with Oscar
And that will be the end of my Fiber Festivals for me this year... until the great New England Fiber Festival in November at the Eastern States Fairgrounds. That will be a whole different event. Big, inside and usually a little cold.

So come to any of the Fiber Festivals. People who raise the critters and grow the flax, people who spin, weave, knit, crochet, felt, sew are selling or demonstrating. There is plenty to see and do for adults and children. Live and learn! What a great way to spend a day!

New to Band or Tape Loom Weaving? Have an Inkle loom and want to try box or gate looms?  Come talk to me at one of my events. Check out more information, charts and ideas on this blog search. Buy my book, "Tape Loom Weaving... simplified" at one of my events, on my web site... or on Amazon.

And have fun with your Fibers!

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