The Fourth Annual Paris Hill Hook In is not yet filled! Join us on November 5th for a hook in that past participants describe as one of the best (and sometimes they say “the best) hook ins they have ever attended. I chalk this up to our warm, welcoming, and historic venue, our amazing locally catered fresh food, and, of course, the good company of over 60 hookers coming together for a wonderful fall day. We also have an informal rug show, the ringing (by you!) of the historic Revere Foundry church bell, and this year only we will pull the winning ticket for our Maine Medical Center raffle rug. Don’t have a ticket for that yet? No problem. You can buy them now by clicking here or you can even buy them in person the morning of the hook in. Once again we will be welcoming Kim Dubay of Primitive Pastimes and Cherylyn Brubaker of Hooked Treasures as our vendors, along with, of course, Parris House Wool Works. There will be door prizes as well (it’s not a hook in without door prizes).
You can get a hook in registration form HERE, but there’s a doubly fun way to sign up. You can join us this coming weekend for Maine Craft Weekend! We will be participating by having the Maine studio open both days, Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Here is what you can expect: Parris House Wool Works is located in the beautiful Paris Hill National Historic District of the Western Lakes & Mountains Region of Maine. You can find us at the 200 year old historic Parris House at 546 Paris Hill Road, Paris and we will be open both days to introduce you to the heritage craft of North American wool-on-linen rug hooking! Join us for refreshments, demonstrations, lessons in rug hooking, and a studio filled with everything you need for the craft, including hooks, frames, original patterns, and wool, as well as assorted finished decor pieces to purchase. You will also be able to buy a raffle chance on a 3’x5′ hooked rug to benefit the Maine Medical Center Kidney Transplant Program; drawing November 5th. Feel free to walk the historic village while you’re here! Walking tour maps will be available.
We have recently added a variety of classes and events to our new calendar, and you may notice that the website is completely, beautifully re-imagined. This creative work was done by Jacks McNamara of Root & Blossom Design. Her services were extremely professional, but also warmly collaborative so that the site ended up looking like Parris House Wool Works, not a cookie cutter version of other sites. I highly recommend her!
So, hopefully you will join us for Maine Craft Weekend, the Paris Hill Hook In, or any of the other fun classes and events we have scheduled for the fall and beginning of winter.
In Maine, the Fryeburg Fair is the biggest and grandest of fairs. People come from all over the country. In fact, it’s estimated that 300,000 people come annually to attend the Fryeburg Fair, which began in 1851. It is very common for Mainers to take a weekday off from work to go, because the crowds on the weekends are so intense that both parking and navigating the fair can be problematic. My husband took last Thursday as a vacation day, and off we went. Disclaimer: It is absolutely impossible to capture the breadth of the Fryeburg Fair in a short blog, but what follows is a photo introduction.
First things first. Edna Olmstead, who hooks with us on Tuesdays, and who makes our super popular flannel frame covers and felt snip containers, won two blue ribbons in the hooked rug category at the fair. I had the privilege of seeing Edna working on both of these pieces, and photos can not do them justice. Additionally, I had to shoot them through a glass case, but you get the idea.
There were so many skills, handcrafts and trades represented at the fair it was mind boggling. Here are some of the examples I found particularly interesting.
There are so many animals at the Fryeburg Fair. The Wikipedia entry on this fair says that it may have the largest number of oxen, for example. I did not photograph the oxen, I’m sorry to say. Had I known of their claim to fame at this fair I might have. However, I did photograph many of the other animals.
First, the cows…
Sheep. I love sheep. After all, they are where our wool comes from.
Poultry. Although we have twenty-one hens at the Parris House, I find that I am only partial to my own. Not that crazy about a building full of others for some reason.
I know there are some of you who came to our page via also being fans of Beekman 1802. Here are your goat pics.
Let’s not forget the cool old vehicles…
Before I end, I want to just throw a trivia question out here. What are these two things, what do they have in common, and what are they each used for? The Mainers will all know.
This is my last country fair post of the season. I did not make the Common Ground Fair in September because we were at Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs, NY instead. Common Ground would be the other contender for grandest fair in Maine, although with a decidedly different (and wonderful) character.
Foliage is at or near peak in many places in Maine right now, the air is crisp, and the scents of the outdoors are pretty intoxicating. I hope if you haven’t already, some of you will share in fall and fair season in Maine.
Once again, I attended the Cumberland County Fair in Cumberland, Maine last week. I did not put up a post on it right away, because our own Maine studio hooker, Irene Adams, had some lovely hooked items at the fair and did not want to know the outcome of the judging before she herself could attend and be surprised. I am certain she was not disappointed! So let’s get straight to the good stuff regarding Irene’s entries.
Seeing Irene’s great success was the highlight of the fair for me, but of course, there was much more to see and do. The first thing I did was head for the animals. It was a toss up: animals or fiber art? Since I was with my husband and didn’t want to bore him too much right out of the chute, we went for the animals.
There were also chickens, rabbits, pigs, ducks, and more, but I did not photograph those. Maybe next year. The crowing of the roosters in the poultry house made me glad a thousand times over I have always refused to have a rooster among my flock.
OK, well…time for the fiber art!
Of course, there were many, many handcrafts and products represented. Here are a few more.
One of my favorite animals at fairs is the draft horse. I love these horses. If I ever had a horse, strictly as a pet, it would be a draft horse. I know that’s ridiculous. We were lucky to be at the fair when the draft horses were doing a pulling competition.
And, of course, as at the Oxford Fair, a sugar house, complete with maple sap evaporating going on.
One of my favorite features of the Cumberland Fair is its extensive farm museum.
Sooooo…how about an antique shop in a trailer?
There were quite a few horticultural displays too. The two that caught my eye the most were the MEGA pumpkins and the hydroponic growing display.
And, of course, at every fair, the decadent food and the rides. Frankly, I stay away from both, but I’m guessing some day grandchildren might pull me back in to this part of the scene.
And that’s my photo tour of this fall’s Cumberland County Fair. We hope to get to the Fryeburg Fair next week, which is one of the biggest fairs in the country, let alone Maine. We are such a diverse nation, and yet I think fairs are a common thread for all of us. Feel free to post your fair pics over on our Facebook page under the link to this blog post. Happy fair-ing!
As many of you know, Jen and I attended Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs, NY for the first time this past weekend. This festival is sponsored by Beekman 1802, and this year they had a special co-sponser, Etsy! Needless to say, this was an event we were not going to miss, and we are so glad we went. Many, many thanks to Josh & Brent of Beekman 1802, Etsy and its staff, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer, and the scores of others involved in making this a truly outstanding festival.
When I first arrived at the festival, I was very interested in meeting the Etsy folks. I was not disappointed. Although the Etsy canopy was in danger of flying away on this windy fall morning, the Etsy staff was immediately engaging as I approached the table. We met Katie and Amy, who were extremely encouraging of us in our business and who were genuinely loving what they do. It turns out Amy is a rug hooker! We had a great conversation with her about the craft, and how to promote it to a new generation. Etsy had an entire street of Etsy sellers, mostly from NY state, I believe at least some from the Hudson Valley Etsy Team. The variety and quality of the craftsmanship on display was mind boggling, and made me very proud to be a fellow Etsy seller.
There was so much to see around the village. I am not sure how many vendors were there, but it was many. Every open village space up and down main street had artisans, farmers, artists, and makers set up selling their wares. At the end of the first day I realized we had still not seen them all. We hope to have a table of our own next year, but are kind of glad that this year we were able to just browse and take it all in.
One of the highlights of the festival is the swearing in of Honorary Sharon Springs Citizens. Mayor Doug Plummer (co-owner of the American Hotel) arrives in full regalia to preside over the ceremony. It’s not to be missed. Josh Kilmer-Purcell wrote the solemn (ok, not…) text for the ceremony and I am now a Sharon Springs citizen! I couldn’t be prouder. Jen was sworn in on Sunday. If you go to the Sharon Springs Wikipedia entry you will see the number of honorary citizens is carefully counted!
After I was sworn in as an Honorary Citizen, I had to leave to pick up Jen at the Rensselaer Train Station. She had spent a little time in NYC (which she will tell you about on her post), and had come by train from there. The building was kind of interesting so I took some photos of it as well. I’m a bit of an architecture geek and particularly like the vaulted ceiling.
Having retrieved Jen, we both went back to the Festival to party on for the next day and a half…
This is the first year that there has been a main stage at the festival. This is a brand new pavilion in Sharon Springs, and will be finished out with a cupola, copper roof cladding, and gingerbread to look historically correct in the village. There were programs going on all day both Saturday and Sunday, but we did not make all of them. Here are some of the ones I saw, and thoroughly enjoyed.
I am going to do the captioning in text below the photo, so that I can put the appropriate hyperlinks on for you to click for more information.
Clockwise: 1) Chris Stout-Hazard gave an incredible presentation on interior design and color. Check out the business he and his husband, Roger Stout-Hazard, have at RogerandChris.com. 2) Josh and Brent of Beekman 1802 demonstrated their Bloody Mary Soup recipe – with vodka! It was delicious. Their latest vegetable cookbook can be found at Beekman1802.com. 3) This is Cynthia Falk of SUNY Oneanta giving a fascinating talk about New York barns. Her book on this subject is called Barns of New York and is published by Cornell Press. 4) This is Rose Marie Trapani and her daughter demonstrating Sicilian cooking. Rose Marie has a wonderful Facebook page called “Our Sicilian Table.” Check it out!
This is the spectacular American Hotel. Jen and I stayed there in April, when we first met with Josh and Brent to talk about doing hooked items for Beekman 1802. Owners Doug Plummer (Mayor) and his husband Garth were so incredibly warm and kind to us, and it’s apparent that everyone who visits gets the same great hospitality. In our case, they were responsible for soothing our frazzled nerves just prior to our meeting with Josh at Beekman 1802 to present our wares. Doug kept us laughing so hard for the twenty minutes we spent in the lobby prior to the meeting, that we realized as we walked out the door that our nervousness was greatly diminished. They also run a beautiful restaurant in the hotel, which is on our list of places to eat when we return to Sharon Springs.
The Roseboro Hotel is a very large building on one of the corners in the village of Sharon Springs. It has recently been purchased and will be undergoing a full renovation. The new owner had a champagne reception for everyone, which was pretty sweet. I’m not sure how many champagne glasses that is in the photo, but it made quite an impressive display. There were two fewer by the time we left.
Of course, it was very nice to see Josh and Brent again, although extremely briefly given their weekend schedule, and to shop in the Beekman 1802 Mercantile. We purchased the new Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, which Josh and Brent kindly autographed for us, and will for you too, should you purchase one through the Beekman 1802 Mercantile.
For those who would like to see these photos and a few more in larger format, here is a little gallery. You can hover over the gallery to click through at your own pace as well.
We had a magnificent time in Sharon Springs! If you go to the Sharon Springs town website, you can keep up to date on all of the events there and in the area. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and we are so grateful to have made the associations we have there.
It’s fair season in Maine, and this is usually the first of a few that we attend in the fall. The Oxford County Fair is closest to the Parris House, only about five miles away in neighboring Oxford. It’s a lot of fun, a place to see old friends and meet new people with common interests. We went last night, Friday night, and took a few pics. Hope you enjoy this little photo tour of the Oxford County Fair, a Maine tradition which dates back to 1842. – Beth