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Common Ground Fair 2007

It took us just about 3 hours to get to the fairgrounds in Unity, Maine, which is about midway between Augusta and Bangor. It was sunny and hot and we were glad that Friday was not the only day we'd have. There was a very nice breeze, but it just wasn't enough with that hot sun beating down on you. That's the funny thing about the weather up there in late September - one year there will be frost on the grass until midmorning, the next year it will be 85 degrees F. Saturday was fortunately much cooler and quite breezy - perfect autumnal fair weather.

We did our serious shopping on Friday so that we wouldn't have to fight the Saturday crowd too much. Also, if you know what you want, you should get in there and get it first thing - people do run out of things, and quickly.

So day one we did the lion's share of our roving and yarn shopping. I bought about 24 oz of this roving (two balls are for me, one to be spun up for a friend):


Of course I immediately put it on my new Ashford spindle (which I love, btw). Here is a close up of it as a single, and as a 2ply





It's in a colorway called "Apple Butter" and it's 60% Romney and 40% Mohair. Now I'm not a big fan of mohair, but I thought the color was so unusual and pretty that I'd go for it. It spins up pretty fuzzy, although that could just be me. But at less than $2/oz, I'm no expecting miracles here. A rustic yarn will be just fine. I'll save the really good stuff for next year when my spinning has improved! ;-)

I got one other little batch of odd roving for which I have no explanation except it was just so unusual I couldn't resist it:



Isn't that interesting? It's from CrowsRise Farm (sorry, no website) in Anson, Maine and the content is wool, llama and angora. I got 4 oz for $10, so again, not expensive. It's brown and grey with white bunny and a streak of bright turquoise running through it. I just thought it was so different that I had to try it. It's not your usual angora blend - it's tough and rugged (do you suppose that's from the llama or the generic wool?) but I bet this will be incredibly warm as a hat. We shall see...

My last fibre-related purchase is a really beautiful shawl pin I bought to go with the yellow cardigan I just finished. It's from Harvey Brook Farm of Pownal, Maine and it's made of Cherry and Walnut:



Awesome!

Even the Mister made a fibre-related purchase!



it's a little sample baggie of angora bunny fur. He carried it in his pocket all day doing a wonderful imitation of Lenny from Of Mice and Men...

I am constantly amazed by the variety of fiber available, and all raised in Maine. There were bunnies, alpacas and llamas, mohair and cashmere goats, loads of varieties of sheep (I saw Romney, Corriedale, Shetland, Finn, and Jacob, just to name a few), and a little critter I had never met before. They are called Pygora Goats and they are a cross between Pygmy and Angora goats. They're tiny, they're adorable and their fleece is just to die for. You can get all the details at Tyler Farm's website.

Besides all the fiber related goodness, they also have an enormous craft/artisans area with everything from blown glass to wrought iron, Maine made goodies like honey and maple syrup, Avena and other herbal remedies, and a gigantic farmer's market where we bought three different varietals of garlic. Who knew there was more than "regular" and "elephant"? There is also a fabulous area where you can find out all about solar energy, composting toilets, grease cars, low impact building techniques and the like. The amount of information available, nevermind the classes that are free and going on constantly throughout the day, is mind boggling. There is just no way to take it all in, not even if you attend all three days.

Now, for those who are interested in such things, random shots from the Fair:

These two shots are of the inside of the Fleece Tent where everything you see is not only being judged, but is also for sale.

It's overwhelming. All those different types of fleece, in all those colors. Just wandering around here reading the tags is an education. This giant sale is where my fleece came from. I dropped it off at Friend's Folly Farm for processing this year, so in a few weeks I should have roving from my very own fleece. I'm so excited to see how it comes out! Pogo, one of the owners, took a look at it for me and deemed it a cross, very likely Corriedale and Romney. I think that's good... ;-)

Mules.
I love mules. They are incredible animals. Here are some mule shots. The first photo is of a 47 year old girl. (I kid you not. And her teammate is 26.) She looks like a million bucks - her hindquarters are full, her legs are strong, her back is straight and she was eating hay. Incredible.








Also teams of oxen, the Mister's favorite:



And to show you that the Fair is not just some small-time hicksville activity, here is a shot of the main common at lunchtime. Please note that this is only the folks who are NOT still standing in line at all the food vendors. Noontime in the food area is a complete mob scene and not for the claustrophobic.



And finally, an assortment of fiber vendor stalls. This first shot is single ply silk in a dizzying array of colorways. I still don't know how I got out of there without parting with all of my available cash...





Finally it was time to head home. We were all exhausted, and broke! Just the way it should be. :-)

A parting shot of fall color from the parking fields:



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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
knotingale
Sep. 24th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
OOOHHhhhh!
Now I see. Everytime you wrote about the Common Ground Fair, and your excitement, I assumed it was a Renaissance festival thing. hehe I thought you were excited about going in costume and speaking in medevial terms, watching jousting matches, and spinning. That's mildly interesting to me, but not really my thing.
I was totally wrong. I guess the 'common ground' term threw me. This is a huge, wonderful fair. Is it county or state? All the fiber is wonderful, but not surprising, considering how many sheep farms and wool mills there are in Maine.
Your pictures are great. If we ever plan a trip to Maine (which is something we want to do), maybe we can go.
The fleece is nice. I don't like mohair either, but I've bought a couple of things where it is mixed with wool, and it is nice then. Not so prickly and it adds a halo.
textilewhore
Sep. 24th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: OOOHHhhhh!
It's put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners organization. I've been a member for about a million years. ;-) It's one of the last truly agricultural fairs left. No midway, nothing but vegetables and animals and handcrafts. It's pretty awesome. Even the food served at the fair is required to have a certain percentage of organic AND Maine-made ingredients. Makes it a very interesting dining experience! But yummy! It's the same weekend every year, which will make your trip planning easier. ;-)
Yeah, ren faires...not so much. My life is anachronistic enough, thank you. ;-) lol!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )