Sunday, September 26, 2010

More festivals than you could shake a stick at...

There was a lot going on around these parts this weekend and it was hard to choose which festivals or seasonal activities to go to.

Some friends invited us to go with them to SPAC on Saturday afternoon to hear a free concert by the Air Force Band. The band was sponsored by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors but there was waaay-y-y-y too much blah blah blahing by them before the concert could begin - 37 minutes worth, to be exact. The band was very good but if I go again, I will go 37 minutes late.

After the concert, the Handsome Husband and I headed to the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa for their Oktoberfest fundraiser. My HH*, who has a political blog, PlanetAlbany, chatted with NYS Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, below right, at the Brookside event. Good German food was served by the folks from Rolf's Pork Store in Albany. The HH is a big fan of Rolf's.

On Sunday afternoon, I headed out on my own to the Washington County Fairgrounds for the 2nd annual Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.

There were, as one may have expected, sheep there...

... along with Ewok-like rabbits.

Wool, in any possible form and color, was everywhere. Yarn, fleece, roving, felt, wool still on sheep, raw wool in bags and bushel baskets, wool in the process of becoming something else, along with finished projects, it was all there.

There were llamas ...

... just down the row from the good Episcopal sisters of the Community of St. Mary in Greenwich. The sisters raise Cashmere goats and Merino-crossbred sheep. I bought some of their lovely Blue-faced Leicester yarn (that's another kind of sheep) hand spun at the convent. The sister who sold it to me told me the name of the sheep it came from, but I'm afraid I have forgotten it.
Do you know why some wool is softer than others? It's the crimp. Fine, soft wool has crimp or waves that are close together, such as with wool from Merino sheep. Larger waves in the wool fibers make a course crimp and an itchier wool.
Some farms brought alpacas. Surely Dr. Seuss had a hand in their design.

There were weavers...

...and spinners...

and hookers (rug hookers, that is.)

Some vendors offered undyed wool, which is what I purchased from the sisters. Others offered richly colored roving, like this below, which is the wool before it has been spun into yarn.

Below, Glens Falls fiber artist Robin Blakney-Carlson showed some eager children how to make felted bracelets.

There was a sheep shearing demonstration. Did you know that there are special shoes for sheep shearing?

This Dorset ewe was calm in the hands of the experienced shearer.

Duck herding anyone? This Australian shepherd was as happy to show her stuff with water fowl as she would have been with sheep, we were told. The ducks require less space for demonstrations and training purposes.

My husband sometimes looks askance at me when I bring out my knitting on social occasions. But at today's event, nearly everyone was knitting or spinning something. Good earth mothers, all.
On the way home, I stopped by Saratoga Apple for some wonderful sweet corn, apples, a few pears, some cider, and a dozen warm cinnamon-sugared cider donuts. Yum.
I think I did my part to support local farmers today.

* HH=Handsome Husband