I’m Finally catching up on all of the post-production from the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival!
I spent last Thursday and Friday packing up my entire inventory of yarn, pelts, and roving. Mom had color-printed out the patterns she developed for the yarn and put them in little plastic sleeves. Fancy!
The first day was rainy, which we feared might discourage some shoppers. Wool lovers are intrepid, though, and I think that people knew that the only way to get first choice was to get to the festival first. The first item that sold out was the natural gray Sheep and Pickle Vermont Aran Yarn, followed shortly by the brown. They sold out so fast that the photo of my yarn display doesn’t even show them!
The gray yarn pictured is the Little Old Coopworth 2ply made from the wool of Jake and Priscilla’s last two geezer-sheep!
My hand-carded batts took a little while to catch on- there were fewer spinners at this festival than I would have expected. Nevertheless, the very best I had sold out completely. I can’t wait to see what people spin from it!
Mom was an invaluable help talking about the technical aspects of the yarn and the patterns she had designed, reassuring nervous knitters that they had the smarts to attempt her intermediate patterns. Mom writes very clearly, so I am confident that her patterns will be accessible and fun. They are certainly beautiful. They will get a blog post all their own very soon. My yarn and her patterns seemed to work together to sell the merchandise – people loved the patterns and bought the yarn, or they loved the yarn and bought a pattern. Mom is getting the proceeds from patterns sales on Ravelry, which are already doing quite well!
On Sunday, my booth was looking a little picked over. Unlike some larger farms, I had no stash of inventory – I brought everything my sheep generated this year and had nothing extra! So we rearranged and regrouped as much as possible. By mid-Sunday, I only had regular white yarn left, and realized that a few patterns for plain white yarn wouldn’t have gone amiss and might have helped to clear out some of the remaining white yarn. Live and learn!
My three little ewe lambs were the real stars of the show. My boyfriend, Matt, listened to my spiel about their fine wool and economical meat characteristics enough to learn it himself, so he took over the “educating passers-by about my sheep” component. It was a big help, as Mom and I were quite busy selling the yarn! I really appreciated his help. I’m proud to say that my sheep were some of the friendliest and most people-oriented sheep there. Meadowlark got a lifetime of petting crammed into one weekend, and Veery and Bobolink allowed a little petting from time to time. Meadowlark struck up a romance with a little Jacob ram a few pens down, with some long-distance baah-ing exchanged. It wasn’t to be, alas. I’m still hoping to sell these ewes into a breeding or fiber flock – they’re too awesome to eat!
Finally, it was time to pack up. I had nothing left but one pelt, 25 skeins of the white (I had started with an excess of white yarn) and four bags of Bonnie’s lower-grade wool.
My lessons for next year:
- Definitely go back to the Sheep and Wool Festival!
- Have patterns for colorwork and solids.
- Keep more brown sheep to generate more colored yarn.
- Bring my own coffeepot – buying it gets expensive!