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Your time: The Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, Cummington

  • Anne Devine, with Tess <br/><br/>
  • Declan Zoledziewski , Genevieve Higgins
  • Merino wool yarn from A Hundred Ravens<br/>
  • Spinning yarn: Christine Mueller, Jamie Burgess<br/><br/>
  • Catherine Morin, making bobbin lace <br/><br/>
  • Tatting on display
  • Nathan Farrington, age 7, Olivia Mason, 6<br/><br/>
  • Casey Cuohane, carding a sheep's wool <br/><br/>
  • Lynda Hutchings, shearing a Hampshire Cheviot crossbred sheep<br/><br/>
  • A sheep bleats

The 39th annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, held last weekend at the Cummington Fairgrounds, showcased sheep and the many uses of their products. Massachusetts farms and sheep producers attended, along with woolcraft enthusiasts who demonstrated their skills.

For Nathan and Kaya Farrington, 7-year-old twins from Cummington, the fair was the first time they had displayed sheep at a public event.

Cindy Baehr, a visitor from Vermont who was mostly interested in the crafts, said she learned how to make bobbin lace. “I love playing with fibers — knitting, spinning and rug hooking,” she said. “Now I’m trying something new.”

Shearing, cooking with lamb, lace making and wool combing were among the demonstrations. There were hands-on activities for children, such as dyeing wool with Kool-Aid. Contests included the popular sheepdog trials.

“It kind of brings you back to some roots,” said Patty Foley, president of the New England Lace Group. “What we have today — where did it come from?”

The fair, which began in 1974 and has developed into a multi-faceted festival, relies heavily on volunteers who help run it. The fair was sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Sheep Breeders Association, the Massachusetts Federation of Sheep Associations and the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources.

To suggest a subject for Your Time, email Suzanne Wilson at swilson@gazettenet.com.

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