May 31, 2012

Part I: Sheep

Since there's so much I'd like to share with you all about my second Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Fair, I'll be posting four parts over the next several days, saving my stash enhancement for last (I know, what a tease!). The first part has to be about the sheep, but let me set the scene first.We combined the trip with a visit to Williamstown and stayed in a charming cottage on Main Street...

The Cottage @ The Willows Motel

and  spent our first afternoon visiting one of my favorite contemporary art museums. On Saturday morning, before heading to the Sheep & Wool Fair, I got a bunch of texts from my dear friend Erin, with tips on which indie dyer and spinner booths to visit. She was spot on, but I'll save those notes for part IV (more teasing, I know). Driving out of town, we stopped at the Water Street Book Store where we were all like children in a candy store. I try to use my public library as often as possible, but I did indulge and bought a terrific stitch pattern encyclopedia which I'll review another time.

Okay, now to the sheep! The Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Fair is held on the Cummington Fairgrounds in western Massachusetts.  Held annually on these fairgrounds (except for one) for the past 38 years, this fair was founded first as a potluck dinner at the home of Henry and Virginia Easterbrooks. It began as a spinoff of a youth sheep judging contest, and what I think makes this fair extra special is the generous number of demonstrations of sheep showing, sheep shearing, and sheepdog trials. From what I've been told, this fair is on the small side but you wouldn't know it in terms of the large numbers of 4H teen participants. Watching them show and shear their sheep is quite a sight. I love how confident they are, and it's clear that they love and respect their animals.

I love the variety of colors in this photo

I've never sheared a sheep although that's now going on my bucket list so watching the many demos of shearing that day was impressive.  Everyone has a slightly different technique and touch but each treated her or his sheep with complete gentleness and authority.

Seeing all the fleece and fiber that was sheared made me wish I was a spinner. You got it, another thing for my bucket list!


  1. Those black baby sheep are just adorable! I've never been to a sheep fest (crazy!) but I'm hoping to make it to one in the next year or two.

  2. You would make such an awesome spinner, no doubt about it. Although think about what that might do to your stash! I've always wanted to shear a sheep too, but I cannot even begin to think of where I would have to go to do that. Great photos!

  3. I am so very envious Evelyn, what an awesome experience! I have spinning on my bucket list already, maybe we should have big bloggers spinning class! :)

  4. Spinning is so much fun, it's really easy to get hooked on though. I think that that fair looks so amazing, i can't wait to hear more!

  5. Sounds like a fun trip. Can't wait to see the rest of it!

  6. I was there on Saturday too! I took the Hubs to his first sheep festival.....I have now been to most in New England and it is on the small side, but doesn't make it any post id here..lots of pictures...

  7. Definitely is so much fun :-)

  8. now you know how much work shearing is! :) can't wait for the next parts!

  9. Learning more about the fibers we use [or wish we could knit] makes it much more interesting when we pick up our needles and ball of yarn.
    Envy here, Evelyn