Monday, August 25, 2008
Yesterday, I visited the Open Air Market and Festival at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. This annual event attracts vendors of all types selling garden fruits and vegetables, honey, artisan breads and cheeses, handicrafts, jewelry, artwork, milk and so much more. I was particularly drawn to the heirloom vegetables — fat and ugly tomatoes, eggplant, beans, radishes, all of vibrant hue — and fiber arts, alpaca, goat and sheep yarn hand spun and dyed colors of the natural world.
Vivienne McGarry of Cold Goats Farm of Haddam Neck was there with two bleating sheep, showing off her felted pumpkins, apples, purses and knit shawls, scarves and sweaters. Laurie Sanford of Twin Gate Farm in Killingworth had some of the softest yarn I’ve ever felt — baby alpaca, she said, from Misti Alpaca (www.mistialpaca.com) and her own handspun alpaca and angora goat yarn. She, too had needle-felted items (pet rocks with silly eyes), short scarves in a rainbow of colors, children’s vests and sweaters, felted and recycled sweater purses and bags and necklaces from felt. Patricia Fortinsky of Old Lyme’s Tidal Yarns (www.tidalyarns.com) sat barefoot, spinning some purple roving into yarn, surrounded by skeins of her naturally dyed and handspun yarns in lemon yellow, mustard, crimson, salmon, chocolate colors.
As I fingered each item and skein, I kept thinking, “my stash, my stash,” keeping the image of that mass of yarn at home which only seems to grow fatter, then peeled myself away from each booth, buying only a knit wool pocket pouch in evergreen, punch and rustic browns, marked down in the sale bin.
Too bad this only happens once a year.
But good thing it’s now the start of Connecticut’s fair season, beginning with last weekend’s Chester Fair and continuing this weekend with the Haddam Neck Fair Aug. 29, 30, 31 and Sept. 1; the Durham Fair Sept. 26, 27 and 28; and Portland Fair Oct. 10, 11 and 12.