There is nothing more pleasant than a stroll through the woods on a sunny day in September. September 9 was just such a day, and it had the added bonus of being the start of the Pinehill Woolgathering in Hemmingford township. Since its beginning 30 years ago at Sue Heller’s farm on Roxham Road, the Woolgathering has offered artisans the opportunity to display and sell their wares. This year’s event was the second to take place at Pinehill Farm on Route 202, and the gathering is now known simply as the Pinehill Woolgathering.
On that stroll through the woods, you first meet up with some friendly llamas who look completely unfazed by the steady stream of visitors to the farm. The llamas are just a few of the animals running around the premises. Marie Nicolov, who owns Pinehill and who organizes the event, looks very relaxed this year. “It’s going very well, considering,” she reflects, coffee in hand. Her plan was to lay more sod and put down gravel, but the ground was too wet; however, she is happy with the way things look.
This year the event is bigger, as a new section was opened at the back of the property. Nicolov explains that they built another lean-to and a “V.I.P. toilet.” Why V.I.P.? “It has a mirror,” she jokes.
48 booths were registered. With cancellations, that number went down, but then it went up again with last-minute additions. “There might be 50,” shrugs Nicolov. A Gator utility vehicle speeds by with visitors needing a lift to the site. “It was slow going in the morning,” says Nicolov, “but the crowd soon picked up.”
The smell of trampled grass fills the air as you wander among the various booths. There is everything from handcrafted soaps to precious stones and, of course, many booths displaying objects lovingly crafted in wool. “It’s an artist event, not a market,” states Nicolov. She says that the artisans here were carefully chosen.
Among the craft booths is the Nali Animal Orphanage from Saint-Bernard de Lacolle, with one dog and some kittens and rabbits to pet. They are hopeful they can find forever homes for their furry friends.
Situated in the middle of the farm is the very active Fibershed booth where spinning lessons are taking place. Nicolov, who is a member of Fibershed, explains that the organization promotes a “soil to soil” philosophy, which basically means it supports an environmentally friendly approach to textiles and clothing. “We need to get away from the ‘throw-away.’ We need to use local stuff,” she says. “We want to have a hub,” she explains. “We are looking for a spot to give workshops,” as the group is all about sharing knowledge and skills of clothing production. “Perhaps starting at the end of September, once a week on Saturday afternoons. It’s in the works. We just haven’t found the right venue yet,” she says.
Look for upcoming details about the Fibershed workshops on the Pinehill Woolgathering Facebook page.