Sunday, April 25, 2010

Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival 2010!

Here is the sheep.
And there is the wool.
These are "hand crafted yarns" by Jan Marek Raczkowski. He doesn't have a website, but can be reached via email at janraczkowski(at)
I see Jan at many fiber festivals.
His business card reads: hand crafted yarns, hand knitted and hand woven wearables, handmade pottery.
And also says "studio and gardens".
He is always wearing a gorgeous hand-knit sweater. Above is the sweater he was wearing at the festival.
I love to watch the sheep dog trials. We own a copy of Babe. My favorite scene is of the farmer singing to Babe.
It was hard to convince Karen, my booth buddy (Karen's husband and my husband have been friends since they were twelve, and Karen always kindly consents to come help me at these festivals - last September she bought a goat, now she has two) not to buy a lamb. I'm not sure we could have smuggled it past the front desk of our hotel.
My camera must be on some weird exposure, because outdoor shots are now over-exposed. But isn't this an adorable rabbit?
The glorious wool above is from Brown Farm in Scotland, CT. In addition to their lovely yarn, they have goat meat, fresh eggs, broilers, angora yarn, cord wood and organic fruits, vegetables and preserves. You can phone them at 860 423 0533.
The yarn above is Nepalese silk, spun from recycled saris. The colors are brilliant oranges, blues, scarlets, fuschias, which this photo doesn't really capture. It is available from Susan Bates,, who found it in Nepal. Her website has lovely photos.
The man with the kilt was back!
I loved this amazing poncho...

We adore maple syrup.
Above are the gorgeous hand-painted yarns of Purple Fleece.
Here's Debbie, owner of Purple Fleece, spinning. In addition to yarn, Debbie sells spinning and weaving supplies. She also gives spinning and weaving lessons.
Debbie just returned from a visit to Sweden. She was worried that the Icelandic volcano eruption would delay their return, but their flight left on time. My daughter was stuck (well...) in Dublin for a few days. She flew home yesterday, while I was here. Dad picked her up at Logan.
The adorable animals above are from Alpaca Hill Farm.
And this remarkable spinning wheel is from Twist of Fate Spinnery.
And the luscious yarn above, and cutie below, are from Bittersweet Ridge, 860 355 2644.

I loved this wonderful and unusual vest.
A few hours after I took the photos of the vest, another lady came running up to me with this same vest. "She gave it to me!" she said. She had admired it, and the woman gave it to her, saying she wanted to make another one anyway. Knitters!
And look at these charming socks. The owner of these socks sheared, prepared, dyed and spun the yarn for them. Stunning!

Other highlights:
The door curse: There is often something odd about the hotels Karen and I stay in on these jaunts. Last year at the NH S&W, the motel had a pigeon nesting in the window box of our room, about which the motel owner had a long and involved story. At the NETA Spa and Knit in February here in Maine, the electricity went out in the motel and the only light we had was my cell phone. So as we were driving to the hotel, Karen was wondering what would be funny about this hotel. "The door," she said. "There will be something funny about the door." We arrived at this hotel with our luggage as well as bags of food and knitting, looking a little like immigrants. We received the door key and proceeded to the third floor. We put our massive amounts of luggage down and put the key in the door. It wouldn't work! Karen and I both tried it. I had to get the concierge who showed us the trick to it. The next day after the festival, I couldn't find the key! And had to get the concierge again. Oh the shame. I found the key in my purse when we got into the room. Next time and I am not going to let Karen tell me what she thinks might be funny about the hotel.

Moo Dog Knits: I met Chris Brunson, editor of this new fiber magazine.

It's a Purl Man
podcaster Guido Stein came by and interviewed me. Fun!

Karen knit bombed down and back. She writes about it, complete with photos, on her blog My Life with Knitters.

Best question of the Festival: A lady asked my delightful friend and booth buddy Karen if Linda Cortright, on our new audiobook Wild Fibers, mentions where to get yak butter tea.

Paula Moliver of wrote about the festival and made a Youtube video of sheep shearing, bunnies, yarn, fleece and other highlights from the day.

Rhode Island Sheep and Wool Festival planner Linda Rhynard stopped by. Yay, another sheep and wool festival! This one is May 15th.

We had a great time! See you in New Hampshire May 8th and 9th!!!


knithound brooklyn said...

Ah! I met Jan Marek R. last year at MASW and he had the most wonderful vintage buttons!

Knitting Out Loud said...

I'll look for the buttons when I see him at the NH Sheep and Wool May 8 & 9.

Village Books said...

I had a wonderful time! Bought my first fleece too! (Romney) Now fingering & trying to figure out what to make with my gorgeous, enormous ball of Still River Mill's merino/baby alpaca yarn! ( These fairs & traveling with KOL truly enrich my life.

Lauren Ashley said...

Wonderful pictures! I went as well and had such a good time!
I blogged about my experience. But you did a much better job documenting!

Tam said...

So nice to meet you at the festival. You took a wonderful pic of my sis and her vest. Thanks for sharing all the other "eye candy" too.
Such a wonderful weekend with beautiful weather.
Looking forward to listening to my new audio book "No Idle Hands" while spinning my new fiber.

Knitting Out Loud said...

Lauren, you have very nice photos on your blog!

Tam, glad you like the photo of your sister! It was a great day for the festival. Let me know how you like No Idle Hands, it seems a perfect spinning book.

Diana Troldahl said...

I recently began reading your blog, and I LOVE it. Thanks for being a dedicated poster :-}

Knitting Out Loud said...

Thank you, Diana. I love doing this blog.

raining sheep said...

WOWWEEEEEE! What an awesome yarn love post. That must of been so awesome. I absolutely love that poncho as I am hugely into granny squares right now. And the beautiful handspun yarns....on the other hand, just as well we have no such fairs here because I would become a pauper.

Knitting Out Loud said...

The trick is to buy a small amount at each festival.

lauren carney said...

your blog is just delightful,
and i love the pretty imagery in each post.
tis quite uplifting!
thank-you so much for sharing your loveliness with the world!
have fun being wonderful!
x x

Mimi Mandile said...

I too met Jan for the first time this year at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. I purchased two skeins of his Black Faced Liechester (sp?) sheep's wool and knit an amazing shawl that is SOooo soft! My knitting ladies are very impressed with the wool's soft and luxurious texture. One of them wanted to get some of his yarn to make herself a shawl. Today I was researching him and his yarn so that I could share with them and found your post and pics! Thank you SO much for your Blog. I love all the gorgeous photos and comments. Feel as if I was there myself! :)