If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that each September I head to Unity Maine for the Common Ground Fair. Along with several tens of thousands of my closest friends and relatives. 🙂
In years past, I have tried to do it all – check out the amazing crafts, the fabulous farmers markets (there are two, one at each gate) the animals, and OF COURSE, the fiber-related things. There are also concerts, contradancing, demonstrations, all kinds of energy-related exhibits, and beautiful furniture made by fabulous craftsmen and women. It is amazing! And the food. Heavens, it is good, organic, locally grown stuff.
And I usually am half dead by the time I need to leave and find the car, which is miles (it seems) farther away than it was in the morning.
This year, I went with Mom, niece B and cousin P, and had a specific list of yarn I wanted to find, and a small allowance for yarn I did not know I wanted to find. 🙂
Mom is nothing if she is not brilliant, and she realized somewhere on the long drive that we four had different things we wanted to focus on. B wanted to see animals up close and personal. P wanted to shop the crafts booths and farmers markets until she could carry no more. I was all about the yarn. Mom had no agenda except to avoid the usually mobbed craft tents. So she suggested we split up then meet for lunch.
Brilliant. We made sure we had phone numbers in case of missed connections, and off we went! She and B settled into a slow and careful animal experience, including a horse drawn wagon ride. P waded into the crafters tents. I wasted no time finding the “Maine Fiber Farm” tent. I did remember to take photos of the tent and displays for you. I have no idea who the random shoppers are, but there were many of them, doing what I was – just touching and absorbing the feel of the stuff and the colors.
Can you believe this felt? the detail is just beautiful. And that goat – it looks real to me. 🙂
This yarn is cashmere, they also had quiviet – but I took the photo for the screen – lovely carved wood.
Everyone is so creative!
colors and fiber
and colors and fiber
and colors and fiber (and this is where I made my planned purchase – my favorite wool/angora vendor! So soft inside a hat)
and colors and fiber
and colors and fiber
and colors and fiber
and look what you can do with it!
amazing hats on an amazing hat tree!
There were many merchant tents all around the fiber farm tent, I did not get photos of them all, but I did check them all out. And made only ONE unplanned purchase, the bookkeeper is thrilled. But it was tough, there are so many beautiful yarns made in Maine, and the colors – I need them all!
There also was a fleece tent. I went in, wandered through and left, feeling fortunate that I have not yet really learned to spin, because there were some amazing purchases to be made in that tent. Some day.
I wandered back toward the animals, and stopped for a little border collie demo – fun to watch, but not as exciting as the real trials are. And since we had border collies when I was a teen, I am well aware of how well they catch a Frisbee. (My brother can also attest to how effectively they can round up a teenager on a bike and keep him in the yard, whether he wants to stay there or not. :-))
Then it was meet up time in the food area. We all found each other easily, and wandered through the fast-growing crowds in search of the perfect lunch. By now I was getting tired, and so I chose my lunch by the most important factor – shortest line. 🙂 I had a fabulous baked potato smothered in cheese and broccoli, P also got a potato. Mom went for a little bit longer line but more special lunch and got a crab meat roll. it turns out B and Mom had already eaten a huge pile of freshly made potato chips, so B was not hungry.
Some of the crowds in search of lunch. (No, lemons don’t grow in Maine, but funnily enough, water is their main ingredient, so they are in! They also sold cider)
We grabbed our favorite spot to settle – on the little farmhouse steps, and settled in for a long rest. Mom was done with the fair, even though she never looked at a skein of yarn. P had scoped everything out but not bought a lot, she wanted another foray into the crowds. B was enviously eyeing the young women wearing herbal/dried flower wreaths in their hair and thought she wanted one. I was almost out of money, but wanted to be sure to get some maple candy on the way out. So, Mom and I sent P and B off to find their treasures, and Mom and I sat in the shade waiting for them. I had my knitting, so was very content.
When they returned, bedecked with flowers and packages, we worked out way to the farmers market for candy, carrots, and a few other things that looked too good to resist. If I thought we had room in the car, I would have bought a fabulous new drying rack. Instead, I grabbed a card so I can get one sometime when we have fewer people in the back seat.
We decided to ride the tractor wagon back to the parking lot, but still had quite a hike to the car – I don’t get how the fields grow so big in a mere 6 hours!
So it was a different fair experience, but a good one, and I did get yarn, which is a major reason I go. 🙂
One thing we either missed or wasn’t there this year was ice cream. Very sad! We got back to Belfast, where we had all met, and P took us to a great place downtown for a small sugary treat before we parted. Our timing was great, as the place was closing for the season on Sunday.
B and I headed for home – tired, but not as tired as I would have been if I had tried to see everything. Another year, I think I will go on Friday again – much less crowded, and I feel like I am able to cover more ground. And maybe before then I will win the lottery so I can buy more yarn. lol. And a wagon to haul it all around in all day.
B had a really good time, and loved her animal fix. She came up with a “brilliant” plan, too. Mom should get chickens which are B’s favorite animal, so she could visit them. That way, Mom would have lots of eggs, and B would have pets. And I should get about 20 angora rabbits and a spinning wheel and make my own yarn to save money (little does she know!) She will come help clean the hutches and play with them.
As expected, Mom and A nixed these brilliant ideas, and so B will have to get her own house and have all the rabbits and chickens she can handle. Probably more!
For the record, the twenty-year-old who laughs at the old ladies (us) for going to bed so early every night went to bed BEFORE us and slept 12 hours. I think she liked the fair.
So, here’s the yarn I got –
The planned purchase of the blue wool/angora from Hidden Brook fibers in Stow ME. I made a hat with this color last year, and have someone interested in the same hat in a smaller size, so I was glad to find the color. 🙂 Of course this is a phone photo and the color is way off. It is a pale summer sky blue.
The unplanned purchase of wool/alpaca – just could not resist this skein. It will likely be a hat – maybe lined or trimmed with the angora blend? I felt silly buying this yarn at the fair, because the farm is right in Belfast, and I can go there any time and buy more. But it was there and I was there and I had the money for it burning a hole in my pocket. I have two sweaters in their yarns, and love them. Alpaca is really warm, but not heavy. It does pill, though, so I probably won’t make more sweaters with only this yarn, but I WILL make more hats with it! (And again, color is bad, it is much less purple than this and more blue. Also not as strong colors.)
Both are so warm and soft…
So that is my Saturday fair adventure – I wish you could have come with me – maybe next year?