Jul 312011
 

We love small town festivals, and in our years on the road, we’ve been to many of them, from coast to coast and border to border. We’ve seen Mexican dancers at Verde Valley Days in Camp Verde, Arizona; tapped our toes to bluegrass music at the Tennessee Fall Homecoming in Clinton, Tennessee; watched basket weavers at the Jackson County Apple Festival in Jackson, Ohio; and munched on shortcake at the Baldwin County Strawberry Festival in Loxley, Alabama.

Small town festivals are a lot of fun; we have had a lot of laughs, met some interesting people, and have been amazed at how much talent there is out there in those little communities tucked away on the back roads and byways of America.

So when we learned that Sault Ste Marie was holding its History Fest this weekend, we knew where we were going to spend part of our day yesterday.

When we first pulled up, we almost didn’t stop. Compared to most of the festivals we have attended, this one didn’t look too impressive at first glance. There were a few antique cars on display, a couple of Indian tipis, and a handful of pop up display tents, but not many people walking around. But we decided to check it out, since we we already there, and we were sure glad we did! What the festival lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in quality!

Antique Cars

Tipi

There were a few costumed interpreters playing the role of fur traders and pioneers, a musician playing some old rock and roll music, and one young man had an excellent display of old time photographs and postcards of the community that he had enlarged to poster size. I’m always fascinated by pictures of days long past; those stiff formal portraits, but even more so by the candid street scenes and pictures of old time businesses.

At one tent, we met Lois Robbins, who was busy carding wool to get it ready for spinning, and Pam Andersen, who was spinning wool on a foot powered spinning wheel. Both ladies were very friendly, and took a lot of time to show us what they were doing, and explaining the process of taking raw wool and spinning it into yarn.

Lois Robbins carding wool 3

Pam Smith spinning 3

Miss Terry loves to crochet, and was fascinated with the work the ladies were doing. Lois recognized a kindred soul, and took a lot of time to teach Terry how to work the wool (called drafting) and get it ready for the spinning wheel.

Lois Robbins Terry 4

Terry said she would love to do more of this, but didn’t see how a spinning wheel would possibly fit into our motorhome. As it turns out, that’s not as difficult as it sounds. Lois showed us one of her wheels, a Lendrum, that folds flat enough to fit under a bed, or to store in a suitcase. How cool is that?

Folding spinning wheel

But then we learned that one doesn’t even need a spinning wheel! Lois introduced Terry to a neat little item called a drop spindle, and taught her how to use it to spin wool into yarn. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the hang of things, but by the time Lois was done with her, Terry not only knew how to work the drop spindle, but came away with her own drop spindle and a bag of raw wool!

Lois Robbins Terry 2

Lois Robbins Terry 5

Meanwhile, Pam was demonstrating her techniques on the spinning wheel, and we had a nice conversation about how therapeutic the process was for her after a hectic work week, as well as about our RV travels and life on the road.

Pam Smith spinning

Thank you Lois and Pam for giving us so much of your time! It was nice to meet you both.

A little further down, we stopped at another tent to watch a lady teaching some young girls how to churn butter. It sure takes a lot more work than just making a trip to Safeway!

Chuining butter

The weatherman is predicting thunderstorms in the region today, some possibly strong ones. We had planned to leave for Traverse City this morning, but we’ll play it by ear and see what things look like. If it’s too ugly, we may sit tight one more day and wait for the weather front to pass through.

Thought For The Day – Enjoy every minute. These are the good old days you’re going to look back on and miss in the years to come.

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Nick Russell

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  6 Responses to “Miss Terry Makes A New Friend”

  1. When we were at the Ohio State Fair last week I saw a lady using a drop spindle made from a chopstick and a CD disc, looked like it was working great.

  2. Thank you for bringing back fond memories of our visit to the Soo.

  3. I went to one of those festivals once, it was a lot of fun.

  4. You can get dome raw llama wool here:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/LlamaFiber?ref=pr_shop
    I don’t know if the prices are good, but one of my full-time friends is workamping there.

  5. I learned to spin wool on a drop spindle from my Grammy when I was seven years old. I had forgotten all about it! Thanks Nick and Miss Terry for a trip down memory lane, and a chance to remember such wonderful times again.

  6. Our daughter uses a drop spindle. She learned it’s best to hire someone else to shear the sheep and to wash the wool, though. Working with sheep’s wool is good for your hands–the lanolin, you know.

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