Where else have I been spending my time? Kentucky! The Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival in Lexington. Yes indeed. What a great place to visit in the springtime, and what a wonderful, manegable and personal event. I struggled over that last adjetive… but personal seems right, or close to it. It is an intimate affair, very local, with everyone seeming to know one another. Friendly and welcoming too – inclusive, like we were all in on some special secret!

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The event attracts amazing teachers, I again wished I could be taking classes as well as teaching them! Natural dying guru Dagmar Klos, author of The Dyer’s Companion, taught one class using marigolds and another with indigo. Someday I’ll be in one of her classes.

Anne Hanson! Hello! Elegant! She’s got her own line of yarn now – Bare Naked Yarns, all natural sheep colors – I was so lucky lucky lucky to get some – I’ll tell you more about that in another post . Anne taught her amazing Sweater Fitness class as well as beginning lace.

There were spinning and fiber prep classes from Constance Hall, Stephanie Stratton and Jessica Faulhaber. Martha Richards covered Ridgid Heddle weaving and Knitting with Handpainted Yarns. I’m so happy that weaving classes are making a comeback. Nicola Brown had some really creative Felting Classes while Sara Dunham covered Blogging with a side of Photograhy. That’s not all – Soapmaking! Yes Sara Hood taught Learn to Make Goat’s Milk Soap.

Katie Starzman and her sister Laura Poulette were there with Katie’s new book The Knitted Slipper Book fresh off the press and with all the samples. I got the book, why didn’t I take a picture? A darling an delightful duo – follow their adventures on their blog. Creative fun and festive!

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I succumbed to buying yarn…how could I not? It had my name on it! The marketplace is stuffed with interesting local products you just don’t see anywhere else!

As usual for teaching I brought along all of the swatches from my books. A student brought a Burra Bear all the way from Shetland, who was quickly camouflaged amongst them. He was so at home, I hoped he’d hop in my bags. It is time I got one of my own. Burra Bears are one of the great souvenirs from the islands, don’t return home without one!

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My students were stellar! So nice! So friendly, they told me all about the area and about themselves. I was invited to the Farm to Table dinner, put on by the local culinary school and an important addition to the festival, held shortly after my classes…but my students let me know that I had time to catch The Preakness, to see if California Chrome would win again… and he did! Now the Belmont for the triple crown! Horse Racing. Who knew I would care. But I do. It is infectious! I’ll be watching – and drinking Kentucky Bourbon – Saturday June 7th.

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As if the Fiber Festival wasn’t enough to lure you to Kentucky, the same weekend the quaint village of Midway has Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival I drove out to see it but got there too late after teaching but the drive and darling town were worth it all on their own.
Kentucky also boasts a Bourbon Trail, so you might just end up spending a week! Or more.

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And as I mentioned … HORSES. Serious Horse country. THE Horse country. Spectacular scenery, all smooth rolling green hills, with white fences and black barns. And it is interesting terrain, for me anyway. You know I like to hike up hills, to get to the top. Well here, you hike down, to cool moody riverbeds… I didn’t have a chance this time but you bet I’m going to come back.

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My last evening I was in for a treat, as I got to stay at the farm of my thoughtful and caring host Dianne MacDonald. You might know her from her blog Sheep Dreams. What a dreamy location she and her husband have for their Tanglewood Farm, in the wee burg of Nonesuch. Beauty in every direction, and oh so many darling sheep!

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