Cummington Rundown

Yesterday I visited my first every sheep and wool fair, Cummington.  Matt, my parents, and I piled into a Subaru station wagon for the drive to the Cummington Fairgrounds.  It is safe to say that I, Subway Knitter, had a posse.

It is also safe to say that Cummington is in the middle of nowhere.  Nowhere.  I am amazed at just how rural some parts of Massachusetts can be.  Yet at the same time, these areas are not remote; you're never very far from civilization.  This comes from someone who can find Boston to be a bit on the small side some days, so perhaps this city girl's perspective is a bit skewed.

Anyway, you aren't reading this blog to know more about the settlement patterns of my home state.  "Tell us about the wool, Colleen," you plead.  "Show us pictures of the sheep."  Never being one to disappoint my readership, here ya go:

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We're little Angora lambs, and we know we're cute.

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I just got sheared, and I'm lookin' mighty fine!

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Got any snacks?

I had a fabulous time looking at the sheep, walking around and talking to a few vendors.  I didn't see any of my knitblogging buddies, although I saw evidence (a vendor's mailing list) that Amber had been by the booth earlier. 

I highly, highly recommend this festival if you are nearby and looking for a day trip.  Along with the sheep, there were two barns filled with vendor booths, and a few tents outside, but the size of the festival was not overwhelming.  I even saw some sheep dogs in action:

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I fondled some amazing yarns from small regional spinneries that you'd never find in even the best LYS.  Delightfully, I discovered a yarn producer in Dorchester!  Who would have thought?  Of course, knowing that Dorchester Farms (the website listed on the business card is www.dorchesterfarms.com, but I don't think that's correct) is a local business, I couldn't avoid buying a few skeins of crazy sock yarn:

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There were loads of other vendors of both yarn and spinning supplies.  WEBS even sponsored a drop-in spinning center for anyone to give it a try.  This was definitely a spinner's paradise, although we knitters had a great deal to choose from also.  Here are my highlights:

Kay ten Kraft at Moonacres, 3077 Route 82, Pleasant Valley, NY 12569, 1-845-677-8394.  No website.  Email: kayten[at]earthlink[dot]net.  Oh-so-soft hand-dyed merino and silk blends.

Snow Star Farm, Loveren Mill Road, Antrim, NH 03440, 1-603-522-2552.  No website.  Email: snowstar[at]tds[dot]net.

Foxhill Farm, P.O. Box 6, 380 Maple Street, Lee, MA 01238.  1-413-243-2558.  No website.   No email.  Lovely, soft wools in natural and hand-dyed colors.  Some very lovely variegated yarns, ala Noro.

Dorchester Farms, 8 Florida Street, Dorchester, MA 02124. No phone.  Website (not funtioning): www.dorchesterfarms.com.  Email: dorfarms[at]aol[dot]com.

Greenwood Hill Farm, 59 Brigham Street, P.O. Box 534, Hubbardston, MA 01452.  1-978-928-5175.  Email: ghfmerinos[at]aol[dot]com.  Super soft merino yarn.

Crippen Works, P.O. Box Y, Millerton, NY 12546. 1-518-789-6703.  Email: kcrippenshapiro[at]taconic[dot]net.  Fantastic fabric needle cases (for straights, DPNs, and circulars), and knitting bags, at surprisingly low prices.  Kathy, I know that I could sew one myself, but I figure that by the time I figure out how much fabric to buy, measure, cut, and sew, I will have spent the same amount of money.  Think of the knitting time that I've bought for myself :-).

I was surprised to note that many vendors had no web presence.  Maybe it's easier to sell at these regional gatherings than to set up an e-commerce (isn't that term so 1999?) system.  I don't know.  Seems to me as if they are missing an opportunity. 

After a couple of hours browsing, sheep-petting, and chatting, it was time to go.  Will I go again next year?  You bet!

 

sounds like fun -- and not too insane! gorgeous sock yarn...

looks like you guys had a great time.

i think dorchester farms will also be at rhinebeck. i'll have to keep my eye out for them now that you've mentioned them.

Thanks for the tour; I'll try to make it out there next year.

So glad you enjoyed it! I love the size and the atmosphere of the Cummington festival. And it was my first ever fiber festival also.
I don't know why some vendors don't have websites. I sometimes wonder if it's because it's too hard to keep one updated (with what's in stock, pics, etc.) when you are running such a small specialty business, and maybe if selling via the web would take stock away from the actual festival visits. I would love to know more about this.
And oh--if you think that Cummington is the middle of nowhere, then you should see where I grew up. ;)

Thanks for the link for dpn cases. I saw those, and didn't have time/memory to go back. This was also my first fiber festival. It was an excellent scale, accessible, and so much fun. Your sheep pictures are great.

Sounds like a great festival. I wish Maryland had been so intimate and small - a great first festival.

Does this mean you'll be at Rhinebeck?

PS - It's so funny seeing all those naked sheep!

Baaaahhh! Sheep pictures! Were there any bunnies? I'm such a sucker for angora bunnies. I'm glad it looks like the weather didn't poop out on you.

I bought mohair from Dorcester Farms last year and was really happy with the yarn and the price.

Oh honey, if you liked that, you gotta come up to NH next year: the drive is 1/2 hour less, and the fest is twice as big!

It is always a beautiful drive out to Cummington. Next year come on Saturday for the socializing!

I've never been to a fiber festival, and Cummington is only an hour away, so is Rhinebeck for that matter. After seeing all the pics from Maryland, and now Cummington, I'll definitely have to go to the next one. Western MA is rural, but beautiful! The Berkshires are amazing.

great pics..Love the colors of the yarn..
the sheep are so cute..:-)

I spend some time in the Greenwood Hill Farms spot at the New Hampshire S&W -- super nice people and beautiful yarn. Sound like a great day!

DORCHESTER?! Are you kidding me?!

I wish the vendors would have even a bare bones website which gave their phone number, e-mail address, types of yarn, etc.

Also, is it OK if I make a livejournal icon out of one of yoru sheep pictures? They're so expressive.

 

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