Saturday, November 3, 2007

Harvest Days and Fiber Festival

On the last Saturday in October, there is a little celebration in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, called Harvest Days at Old Cannonsburgh Village. Finding this event was purely accidental. I was doing a search on the internet for fiber shows and festivals in Tennessee hoping to find the alpaca show I went to in Shelbyville several years ago. I didn't find the alpaca show, but I did find Harvest Days.

Randy (somewhat reluctantly) drove to Murfreesboro with me. Ok, Randy has lived in Nashville all his life and has never been to Murfreesboro other than Stones River Battlefield (where my great great great great grandfather fought with the 21st Wisconsin Infantry out of Oshkosh...but I digress.) Since Randy had never been to Murfreesboro, I drove him around the square. Now Randy has seen Murfreesboro. This trip had huge potential to be a total bust, but when we finally found it, we were pleasantly surprised.

Cannonsburgh Village was created in 1974 for the Bicentennial in 1976. Buildings were moved to the site from various locations around the state. The buildings and exhibits range from the colonial era to the industrial revolution. There's a grist mill, school house, telephone building, church and blacksmith shop to name a few. (More photos are on my Flickr site.)

Once we checked out all the buildings, we rounded a corner and I was FIBER HEAVEN! Right in front of me were 4 small sheep for sale, handmade soap, tubs of alpaca roving, hanks of shimmering silk, handmade knitting needles, and spinning wheels. It was almost too much for me to absorb. Now those of you who have gone to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, for some reason, there aren't many fiber related festivals in this area. For me, this was huge.

Randy kept urging me to talk to the spinners about their wheels and why they chose that particular one. I think he was a bit surprised at the many different styles. There were only two that were the same (Ashford Travelers--I think this is the wheel I'll get if/when I win the lottery), but that was it. The variety was overwhelming! I was in complete overload and needed to walk away and regroup (and get a pulled pork sandwich).

After lunch, I was much better equipped to talk to the exhibitors about their wares. I didn't get a brochure or business card from every vendor, so I apologize for leaving out some names. I've tried to locate a list of exhibitors for the day but haven't had any luck. Here are some of the people I talked to:

  • Three Creeks Farm from Charlotte, TN. The Kromski wheels they had on display were gorgeous!
  • The Taming of the Ewe had LOVELY sock yarn and great fiber. Pat Miller, the shop owner, was very patient with me when I was trying spin on her Louet wheel. I'm all thumbs!
  • Countryside Crafts had some beautiful Ashford wheels.
  • Meredith from the Kaughty Knitter also let me try her spinning wheel. Her shop is in Murfreesboro and I really need to go there!

One of the coolest things was the guy from South Bend, Indiana, who was doing shearing demonstrations. As we were walking past tables laden with garbage bags full of raw fleece, Randy asked me if I wanted to buy a bag. I was going to explain to him why I didn't want to process a raw fleece but decided to show him. We walked over to the shearing demonstration just as the shearer was getting a cotswold lamb prepped for the blade. The lamb was not particularly thrilled, and I can understand's pretty invasive! As the sheared was approaching the "nether regions" of the lamb, Randy understood completely why I was not interested in processing a raw fleece.

I feel so sorry for the nekkid ones! One little boy actually cried for the poor sheep. He was completely traumatized and will probably never go near a razor again. All in all it was a really fun day. Randy had a good time and I loved his company. I wish the boys could have been with us. They would have enjoyed the blacksmiths, but they wouldn't enjoy it too much because they are so 13.

In my upcoming blogs, I'll give a rundown on my works in progress. I scored some awesome 100% wool sweaters today at Goodwill's 1/2 price sale. I'm going to felt them and recycle them into other items that can't be discussed until after Christmas (wink wink)! I'll also give an update on Zack's afghan, the purple socks and the Mohawk hat. Add painting the den (it's going to rock!!) to the list of things to get done before Christmas. The countdown has begun!

This is a pretty long post, thanks for toughing it out!

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