Than football and fiber!
Well, OK, I admit I wouldn't have come up with that one, either. But football tickets beckoned, and a deal was struck. What could be better on a bright Indian summer's day than to drive to a beautiful corner of the state to cheer on the team? Even stopping for gas, it was so beautiful, my mood couldn't help but soar. It really was almost this blue. I didn't do anything tricky with the camera. At least, not on purpose.
And then we could just swing by Orange, Virginia, for the Fall Fiber Festival on the grounds of James Madison's Montpelier Estate? And maybe in the car, I could get a bit of knitting done on that little white item that I can't say much about just yet. Okay? Really, what a cheerful plan for a weekend. Okay, then!
The football was lots of fun, exciting, noisy and festive, as usual. And then after a rest, off to Montpelier. In due time, the small but charming festival hove into view. Just as exciting, for some of us. And really quite tolerable for the world's-most-patient of us, especially with the easily accessible and sociable animals on display and the sheepdog trials going on hard by the vendor tents.
Last year was the year of the dust bowl, when the car and my feet ended up covered in a thick layer of blowing dirt. It was still plenty enjoyable, but this time the weather was perfect.
This festival is small and in some ways folksy, but perfectly serious in supporting fiber arts, retailers, and local farms.
There's a little skein and garment competition. There's a small fleece sale, where last year I lost my heart to a little Jacob fleece. There's a guild doing demonstrations.
The shearing and skirting demonstration was very popular with lots of children.
There's wonderful, if small-scale, shopping for yarns and fiber and equipment and hand-dyes and patterns and knitted things. The Woolery is there! Strauch Fiber Equipment is there! Lots of local farms and retailers are there! I bought a couple of things. Even if I already have an oversized stockpile at home, I'm only human, after all.
Tucked in among the tents, here and there, there are clutches of spinners -- a surprising number of them -- busily doing what spinners like to do best.
And there are animals. Yarnstruck loves animals.
I learned a little more about alpacas on this visit. I've often heard it said that they "hum." I think I know now what that means. When I was around them, there always seemed to be a sort of gentle fussing going on, like the sound of a child whimpering, but not too unhappily. I finally realized it was them, and they were quite talkative. Once I figured that out, it was very cute.
I'd been hoping that at the festival this year, I might spot one or two of the lovely people I've met on-line through knitting blogs, and have a chance to say hello in person. So, as you might be able to see in the picture, I went to the festival this time well labeled. I drummed up my courage and made myself a "Hi, I'm Yarnstruck!" badge with one of my profile pictures, the little sheepie. A kind-hearted hand-dyer (Creatively Dyed, with lovely yarns in her booth) provided me with a Ravelry button as well, which served to underscore the point. In the end, I didn't manage to spot any knit-blogging correspondents. I don't know if my on-line acquaintances were gone by Sunday afternoon, or if I didn't recognize them from their pictures, or if I just might have been too distracted by the shopping and ogling the ruminants.
But my tank top was recognized. :) To be more precise, one of the booth owners recognized the pattern from the magazine it appeared in, not mine specifically. Still, it was fun to say, Oh, yes, this is that one, and it's made of that stuff, and yes, what a nice pattern, you should make one too!
Every festival has its little joys!