Tucked away on a small, wooded farm on route 202 in Hemmingford, the annual Woolgathering event took place on September 10 and 11. A dirt path led attendees beside green fields, and then opened up onto the farm where 35 canopied booths displayed various crafts and handmade wares. This year, the Woolgathering has found a new home on Anna Marie Nicolov’s small farm, Pinehill.
Basket makers, painters, furniture makers and, of course, many knitters and wool crafters were available to chat and often demonstrate how their products were made. While sheep grazed nearby and a donkey looked on from the adjacent paddock, customers stopped to admire the colourful booths briming with handcrafted articles.
Nicolov had previously met with vendors at a luncheon that she had hosted in July. At the Woolgathering, she was happy to chat with them as she hurried around making sure everything was in place. “No time to put on makeup today!” she laughed. There was a lot to arrange before the opening of this year’s Woolgathering, and things did not always go smoothly: after strategically planting small signs to allow vendors to identify their booths, Nicolov discovered that her new puppy, Snoopy, had happily dug them all up.
Woolgathering past and present
The Roxham Woolgathering began 30 years ago on Roxham Road in Hemmingford. Former resident, Sue Heller, held the annual craft fair for 26 years; then the event moved to the home of Evelyn Bouchard for an interim year. This year Nicolov, who had been a vendor since 2002, welcomed the Woolgathering to her home. Nicolov was concerned that the transition from previous locations would be difficult, but in the end, she was very pleased. “It was phenomenal!” she exclaimed. “Saturday was the busiest day, but there was a nice crowd on Sunday. People meandered around, sometimes bumping into friends that they hadn’t seen in a while. Most stayed two or three hours.”
Reflecting on this first Woolgathering, Nicolov says that she has many ideas now for things that she would change. When asked if she will be hosting next year’s event, Nicolov replied that Sue Heller started the event when she was in her sixties. “I’ve got at least 10 more years in me,” she said.