Some People Love Easter

I love fairs. I don’t care for amusement parks, and you can keep your roller coasters and the midway, but a proper fair? I love them. All of them.  Book fairs, National Fairs, agricultural fairs – sign me up.  Joe and I went to the CNE and we spent a good chunk of time making sure we saw the butter sculptures and the tables full of the best eggplants. (The first prize one was beautiful. I’m only sorry we missed the biggest pumpkin.)  It should come as no surprise then, that Fibre Fairs are just about the best thing I can imagine – and they are.  All the elements of a fair while it’s all about the wool? Crisp fall air, leaves blowing around, and all of it seen as an awesome excuse to just show off your best sweaters? Building and tent upon building and tent, all full of wool and looms and wheels and sheep… These are our people, and if there’s a holiday season for us, this feels like it. 

Thanks to the Genesee Vallley Handspinners Guild. They run the Fingerlakes Fiber Festival, and they do a seriously awesome job. They made me want to drive straight from here to the next one.  (Oh. Wait. I sort of am.)

91 thoughts on “Some People Love Easter

  1. Love your furry friend! Unfortunately there probably won’t be a lot of them at the next one…. I’ll be there, though, and can’t wait to take your class!

  2. Yesterday was a fabulous day for a fabulous festival! I had such a great time at your talk yesterday as well. It was funny, informative, witty and a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Thanks so much for schleping out here to hang out with us! I hope you found the area as beautiful and the people as friendly as we all do. Oh, and thanks for letting me take your pic with my sock! My knitting friends are properly jealous, as only knitters can be!

  3. That’s the sort of craft fair that I used to love. Don’t make it to them any more sadly. Enjoyed the pictures what is it about Alpacas that just look so adorable. Glad you had a good time…….Surprised you were not tempted by the lambs don’t you have a handbag big enough to slip one in lol D x

  4. It was great to have you at the fiber fest! Your lecture had me in stitches, no pun intended 😉 okay i lied. Pun totally intended.

  5. You know how you don’t talk “baby talk” to a baby until you see those widdle booties? I think I’m that way with alpacas. As I was looking at your pictures, mentally I was thinking normal adult things like “beautiful yarn” “nice spinning”. Then my mind said “awww, wook at the cute widdle alpaca faces”.
    Thanks for sharing your pictures – looks like great fun!

  6. Fall is DEFINITELY in the air! I would love to go to one of these some day. But, at the moment, duty at home calls.
    Sure wish I could delete the NIKE FREE comment just above this one! IDIOTS!

  7. Fully agree – I’m headed to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest this weekend. With Md S&W in my backyard I don’t have a great excuse to travel to many others, but this one is close enough for an easy day trip and I love it. Also, thanks for documenting a truly great way to display handspun skeins. I may try that at home even.

  8. I love going to these types of shows. I love the alpaca show at the Fort Worth Will Rogers coliseum every February. It is awesome. Can visit the animals and stroll through the barns and see all of them. Absolutely amazing. There are some shows around here on the smaller scale and there is the Kid-n-Ewe in Boerne. I love them all. Love Love Love them.

  9. Yay for fiber fairs! I went to Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio, yesterday. And I just now realized that you’re absolutely right about it being our holiday season; I look forward to Wool Gathering the way my kids look forward to Christmas. 🙂
    (Okay, I look forward to Christmas too. Santa always brings me yarn.)

  10. I love the pictures-reminds me of the kind of festivals and agricultural fairs I went to as a kid. Hope I get to meet you at KnitEast- its my first time going to any sort of fibre festival and I’m pretty excited. My family and I did a kind-of similar drive over Labor Day weekend moving me home from university from Ottawa to New Brunswick, and your pictures bring back good memories of that trip!

  11. Did you see the woman spinning right off the back of an angora rabbit? I loved it! It was my first fiber festival. Teaching myself to spin, should be interesting!

  12. Oh, thank you, thank you, for coming to the wilds of the Finger Lakes, and brightening up our day(s)! Your talk was amazing; I wish I could talk to your mother and convince her what a fantastic public speaker you are! Your talk on knitting effects on the brain was fascinating–but I’m beginning to think you could read us your list of errands for the week and have us in stitches (OK, pun intended here too).
    Bless you for your blog, and your books, and the inspiration you’ve given to all of us lucky enough to have read your work, to have benefited from one of your classes, to have watched you get up on that bike–for two years in a row now–to help a cause you believe in. You help us push ourselves to be better, and then to accept what we can do as enough.

  13. It was my first and I’m really glad it was at FLFF (fluff?? :)). Spotted you shopping and eating lunch, but didn’t want to interrupt. Couldn’t stay for your presentation, but did wave to you on my way out when you were being escorted on the golf cart to grandstand.
    Thanks to all who worked the event and vendors who stayed on Sunday. Will definitely be there next year.

  14. I love festivals too! I have a request for you – since you’re headed to these various events, could you update your harlot on tour page? Then maybe we could see you there.

  15. all that and a kilted, fiber-friendly man, too?! ah, the glory that is fiber fairs.
    i once told a sleepy barista i was heading to a fiber fair and she looked utterly befuddled: “what do you do at one of THOSE?”
    “buy yarn, take classes, pet baby alpacas . . . ”
    “oh! i thought you meant fiber like in BRAN MUFFINS!”
    may your next fiber fair feature all the delights — and bran muffins only if you want them.

  16. Oh I am waxing nostalgic! I grew up in the Finger Lakes and really know the area well. I only wish I had been online Friday — I would have suggested you stop in Skaneateles, my hometown, on your way west from Utica to Hemlock. Skaneateles is the Eastern Gateway to the Finger Lakes, and in my humble opinion, the most beautiful village and lake in the world! The Finger Lakes Fiber Festival is wonderful — have spent many happy hours there — glad to see they are still putting it on. It’s like Rhinebeck, but smaller and more intimate and more…I don’t know, “cozy”? Thanks again for sharing — you brightened my Monday! Hope it was a grand experience for you!

  17. Thanks for sharing. Have to say that the picture with all those pins has me a bit scared, but wow!

  18. OMG who is that gorgeous man in the grey kilt?! Is he single? Seriously swooning over here.
    Someday I will get to a fiber fair…someday…

  19. Love the photos, even more so when I finally realized how close you were to where I went to college. I graduated from State University College at Geneseo way back in 1975 and still look back fondly to my days there. Lovely area, lovely people. Suddenly all the way from Portland, OR I’m feeling homesick.

  20. Aloha,
    Luv the pix. I just attended my first Fiber Farm Tour here in Port Townsend, WA and am now scheduling the next one in Sequim, WA.
    BTW, is there a queue for the gorgeous man in the kilt???

  21. Fairs bring out the best in people – kids’ art projects, amateur photography, canning, sewing, knitting, quilting, cooking. 4-H pig, lamb, cattle and horse projects plus bunnies, chickens, guinea pigs. Oh – and the flower displays. I wish more fairs were in the fall instead of the heat of summer but then, I’d be living at the fairs and eating fair food – oops.

  22. I really enjoyed your presentation yesterday! It was the perfect addition to an already wonderful festival, thank you for sharing your time and talent with us!

  23. Hehehe. I didn’t have my glasses on so when I first saw the photos, I thought the top one on the right was carrot cake. I thought that would be awesome a fibre AND cake fair.

  24. Ok, I’ve never been to a fiber fair before. I’ve been to plenty of county fairs, sure. I’d love to go to one (or several, actually, but we should probably start small so I don’t turn into a fiber-zombie). My question to the blog– is there a list of when the fiber fairs are held each year? Are there any fiber fairs coming up in the Midwest this fall?
    Thanks for the pictures. The guy in the kilt was the icing on the cake. Though, sadly, too old for me. Sigh.

  25. To Marta
    CNE= Canadian National Exibition: a fall fair that takes place in Toronto on the week leading up to Labour Day at the beginning of September. I don’t know where you live , so I might be giving too much information.
    I love Fall fairs, but it’s my sneezin’ season and they don’t like me too much.

  26. It was a great festival, and it was a real pleasure taking a class with you and hearing you speak! I haven’t attended this festival in 5 years (had a baby, now almost 4 year-old in between), and am really thrilled that this was the year I was able to return. I have already been making my sock swatches, and can’t stop sharing all that I saw and did this weekend. Enjoy your next festival, and any others that follow. Hope that you like the jam, coffee, chocolate, and fiber! And thanks for once more confirming that my addiction to knitting and fiber are completely normal.

  27. Gorgeous!! Sooo jealous because i want to go some day!! Looks like you had a great time! (marta – CNE is the Canadian National Exhibition every August in Toronto – THE place to go!!)

  28. Planning on going to my first fiber festival this weekend – the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival…now that I live in the valley, this will be an easy trip…really looking forward to it.

  29. Really enjoyed your talk at the festival! Dear Husband and I extended our vacation in the area a day for it, and DH, who is exceedingly difficult to impress, said he was impressed, too, and I know he was laughing out loud with me at times. Knitting and science and yarn and a crisp early autumn day – nothing better! Thank you. Sorry for the awkward staring.

  30. I, too, love fairs. And like you, I avoid the midway with a passion – it is only in going from the show barns to the track that I run down the midway.
    It is wonderful to see all the first place items and talk to the people who work in the departments to find out what made items a first place, second, etc. At our county fair, it’s all about who I know that won! I love to see the ribbons my friends acquire. Next year, I will enter more.

  31. Went to A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs Ohio this past weekend. I know EXACTLY how you feel. And, their deep fried cheese curds are something to write home about.

  32. The gentleman in the kilt and fabulous stockings…I’m seriously jealous. I wouldn’t be surprised if he spun the wool for the kilt and socks, wove the fabric, and knit the socks.
    May you have wonderful times in N.B.

  33. Bobbin lace – you found my people!! 🙂
    Our club will be demonstrating next weekend at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, too.
    Even when it’s raining – it’s the animals and the fiber and the tools and the fabulous people all having a wonderful time!

  34. Wasn’t it a lovely day at the Fiber Fest yesterday? Great seeing you too – the talk was great fun

  35. Thank you so much for wonderful talk. Fascinating and fun!!! Going to see you has been on my all things knit related bucket list for a long time. A near perfect Sunday afternoon.

  36. My first thought…What the heck is that pin stuff?!?!?! That looks insane! By the comments I am assuming it is Bobbin Lace. Still looks insane! Also, totally love the first pic of skeins. Beautiful! I love fairs too! 🙂

  37. How can we get you to some fiber festivals further south? Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is this weekend, the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival next weekend, and then SAFF at the end of October in Aheville, NC. Seems like there is a whole world of fiber festivals and fairs that you are missing. And the fair season runs later the further south you go. Just saying…

  38. It sounds like a wonderful fair. I really should find out more about the fiber fairs that are local to me, because it has been years since I made it to Rhinebeck.

  39. This was my first fiber fair, and I enjoyed seeing your talk while you were there. I love the stories you tell on your blog, and it’s nice to have a voice to go with the words.

  40. What a wonderful Festival this was! Thank you to all who worked so many hours to make it happen. I raise my needles to Stephanie Pearl McPhee who was just as engaging in person as she is in print. Yes, the voice I hear as I read her blog was, indeed, the voice at her talk on Sunday! Thank you for sharing with us and making us laugh! And the gentleman in the kilt is none other than owner of The Merlin Tree.

  41. Fantastic seeing you and speaking with you at Hemlock. Sorry I got so excited to actually see you again. Hopefully you had some anonymous time at the Fair. Folks loved your talk and your workshops. We think this is the BEST fair around. It was our 9th year vending and it just gets better.
    Guy with the John Deere hat works in a gravel pit plus crochets, spins, knits & weaves. Very shy sweet person.

  42. I enjoyed hearing you speak again, Stephanie, and am very glad you enjoyed our (damp, chilly) celebration of fiber. Thanks so much for listening to my little shingles saga. I appreciated your kindness.

  43. For those of you interested in bobbin lace:
    1) yes, we’re as nuts as any other fiber person is. 😉
    2) It’s not as hard as it looks. You can learn the basic stitches in an afternoon. You’ll then spend a lifetime exploring all of the different styles of lace.
    3) There is a national organization, IOLI, that many local clubs belong to. Check out their website here:
    click the Charter Chapters link to find clubs in your area. Welcome!

  44. Beautiful! Ahh, to stroll and admire and dream and perchance to purchase, whilst sipping a hot, fragrant apple tea, with a good buddy to share it with. Pin lace just amazes me that someone has that kind of patience.
    Can’t wait, the Dixon California Lambtown festival is right around the corner (Oct 4th and 5th). My kids will be with their dad so I get to take all the time I want! Two days worth! All the classes are free! About stuff I want to learn! I may not have time to eat!
    It’s so wonderful when things fall together.

  45. Wonderful pictures, Steph. Thanks so much.
    I especially liked the gentleman in the gray kilt, wearing a polar fleece vest with it. I loved the combination of traditional and modern. And I loved how unselfconcious he seemed about wearing it.
    Sorry, friends. My husband played for years in a bagpipe band. I get kind of worked up over men in skirts.

  46. OMG!!! A man in a kilt, even one kneeling, makes my heart beat fast…..and fondling wool, to boot!!! *sigh*

  47. Yep, a fair warms my heart. Our county fair has a big old building (40’s style) and the Home Arts are in there. My friends win prizes for their knitting!! I love everyone’s work though, it always makes me cry – whether jelly, spinning, bean pictures, knitting…any of it 🙂

  48. I know some of these!
    The guy in the kilt makes Hitchhiker spinning wheels (those cute little ones with the feet as treadles and cut out fist with the hitchhiker thumb, that people decorate, check his gallery), sells and repairs Ashford wheels, and repairs/builds parts for antique wheels. He and his wife own He doesn’t spin! People bug him about it.
    The lace is bobbin lace, and that particular pattern is pretty easy, only makes sense when you are demo-ing! (a few months of lace class and one could do it, at least the way my teacher does it). But the complicated stuff? Yeah, a lot of work. Just remember, through, even for the hardest lace, it is sort of like DPNs, where you only use two at a time? With bobbin lace, you only use 4 bobbins at a time, like two couples in a contra dance or a Virginia reel! The pins are holding finished work (to keep its tension….bobbin lace is block-as-you-go), you don’t have to do anything to that part.

  49. There is an annual alpaca fiber festival that happens yearly near where I live and I always look forward to it. It’s small, but I love it! Also, my state’s farm show has some awesome fiber-related activities and competitions, too.

  50. I thought I spotted the two of you at the CNE as I was waiting for my girls to finishing climbing over the tanks, too embarrassed to ask if you we’re you though.

  51. I live in Boston now, but I’m originally from near the Finger Lakes area – and you just made me sooo homesick! I have always said that FLFF is one of THEE. BEST. Fiber festivals evah. I’m so glad you got a chance to experience it. AND drive through all my favorite states, at a leisurely pace to boot! Now you’ve got me thinkin’ about playing hooky and leaving home for a fiber adventure … 😉

  52. Dear Susan and Ruth….As Colleen mentioned that “guy” is Dave, creator of the Merlin Tree and the fabulous travel wheels he handcrafts. He is a fabulous man and I love him almost as much as I love my husband who bought me the hitchhiker. He is a creative wonder and the sweetest person EVER. Make sure to say hello to him and his wife at Rhinebeck!!!

  53. I just want to Thank You very much for signing my birthday card from my brother and sister-in-law. It was the best Birthday present ever! I’m so glad that Sue got to meet you and listen to you speak. That was awesome! I had leaky eyes!
    Thank you, again. -Stacy

  54. Mr. Elliott,
    Letters via USPS sounds so novel in the internet age even when it is 1 letter produced for many, but it surely doesn’t sound like a pen-pal relationship. Can 1 write again for the author in the letter?

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