Last year I discovered a beautiful little community called Tatamagouche in Nova Scotia, Canada. We had booked a family vacation in nearby River John, and much to my delight and surprise, I had stumbled upon what is quickly becoming a destination for all things fiber. I discovered on the last day of our trip that the following week was to be the first annual Woolstock fibre festival, so I was determined to return this summer to check it out.
My ever patient and supportive hubby helped me plan our entire family vacation around my own plans to visit all the yarn shops I could find, sign up for a workshop, and of course, more shopping at the big Fibre Festival at the end of the week.
My first yarn stop was just outside River John, NS at Lismore Sheep Farm and Wool Shop. I wrote a little bit about this place last year, and I was eager to return. The shop has everything from ready to wear items like slippers, mittens and hats, to home accessories like handmade soaps and decor items. Best of all though, they have a section right up front with their own line of wool yarns, bags of unspun wool, knitting kits, needles, hooks and all kinds of other crafty goodies. I treated myself to several skeins of yarn, some unspun wool, and a super soft and fluffy set of sheepskin insoles that I am considering making into a pair of fuzzy winter slippers. The prices are amazing, and I really had to rein myself in to save some shopping for the rest of the week.
I also visited the Tatamagouche Yarn and Co. in search of their exclusive colourway “October Sunrise over Tatamagouche” by Knitting Wolf Luxury Yarns that I absolutely fell in love with last year. Sadly they were sold out of the one I was looking for, but they has a single skein of worsted October Sunrise so I picked it up to make a matching hat to go with the scarf I made last summer (scarf pattern can be found here) and the totally fierce “Sasha Drag Wolf” ended up coming home with me too! I love that in addition to the beautiful hand dyed colours (and the super silky soft and squishy feel of the yarn, of course), the skeins all come with a stitch marker (look at that stiletto!) and a lovely handwritten note from Barry, the artist behind Knitting Wolf, with a few words about the colourway on the back of the label. I can’t wait to find the perfect project to bring out the sass of Sasha Drag Wolf!
We spent a couple of days on the nearby beaches and enjoying some of the local hot spots like the Jost winery, Tatamagouche Brewing Co., and some of the local restaurants, while I eagerly awaited the Woolstock Workshop I signed up for at Sisterhood Fibres.
I attended the Rigid Heddle Weaving class at Sisterhood Fibres with four other lovely ladies. We were set up in the cozy little workshop, surrounded by spinning wheels, craft magazines and books, and of course yarn! We learned the basics of weaving on a small loom and got to take home our own handwoven scarf! Rachel of Brigadoon Fiber Farm was our instructor and she walked us through every step of the way in setting up the warp, how to use a scrap yarn to set up your weave, troubleshooting while doing the simple weave, then the finishing and fulling process. We all had different levels of experience with weaving (I had absolutely none) but by the end of the day we were all pretty confident in our abilities. It took the whole day just to get my weaving in for a smallish scarf, but it was enough to make me fall in love with the process and want to get a loom of my own! There were so many other great classes available too, like dyeing, spinning and felting. I’m already looking forward to choosing my class for next year!
Before heading back to the cottage for the evening, I went upstairs to the Sisterhood Fibres shop and felt like a kid in a candy store. The shop is so full of colour, from the brightly coloured hand dyed yarns to the full wall of fleece in every colour of the rainbow. I ended up choosing a few skeins of yarn, and a super cute handmade heart button for the hat I’m working on!
Of course my Woolstock experience wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Fiber Festival on the last day. We actually left a few hours later for home just so I could spend some time shopping the local vendors I hadn’t been able to visit throughout the week. I didn’t have as much time to shop as I would have liked (we had to make the 16 hour drive home) but we managed to visit most of the vendors, and I made my list of places to return for next year. My kiddos loved petting the fluffy Angora, looking for the softest yarns for mom, and checking out the farmers market. I picked up a few goodies from the farmer’s market, then of course a quick visit to Rachel’s booth to pick up some more of the lovely wool we used on our woven scarves the day before, and some absolutely gorgeous alpaca yarn called “french kiss” that practically leapt into my arms!
All in all it was a fantastic experience that I cant wait to repeat next year! Do you have a favourite fibre festival? I am always looking for new places to see and new yarns to try! Let me know in comments or send me a message and help me find another great yarn-y vacation destination!!