New Englander’s are known for their ingenuity. So many independent crafters live in the area, they have formed the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. This is a group of individuals who have been identified as superior craftsmen and chosen to be part of this prestigious group. They have a collective show every summer at Mount Sunapee. I never had a chance to attend, but have seen their wares in fine shops in the area.
When I lived in New Hampshire, it was easy to find handmade items, farm stands, unique gifts, home decor, and beautiful yarn shops. People in the area seem to live and breath the arts. Just down the road from me was the famous MacDowell Colony.
Artists and Crafters Galore
My next door neighbor was a member of the League and made pewter items in a little shop next to his house, which had once been an Inn. I became friends with his wife and visited his shop once. It was a very small shed located at the side of the yard, filled with all the tools he needed to bring his ideas to life. I have a little pewter turtle made by him.
At the end of my road was a man who did glass-blowing. Another woman raised rabbits and used the fur to spin yarn. My son’s third grade class took a field trip to a fellow student’s farm to see how sheep were raised to supply wool for knitting. I bought all the plants for my yard from a local farm, in that same town. And if you wanted a handcrafted basket, head over to the Peterborough Basket Company.
I mention only a few of the many crafty places located close by. It was a wonderful place to live, and shop if you had the money to enjoy these things. The atmosphere of the area was quaint and peaceful.
Now That I Am in Florida Once Again
In 1979 I looked forward to moving to Florida. In 2016 I did not. I knew what I was in for, times 10. In my opinion Florida goes downhill year after year. Grrrrr…… For now, I’m talking about crafts, and specifically yarn arts.
I’ve taken up knitting again, but I must purchase all my yarn online. In order to discover which types of yarn I like best, I have to buy lots of different types whereas, in a shop, I could see the colors and feel the yarn before purchase. I may even get some much needed advice!
Although I live in a highly populated area, I can’t find a single place close to me to buy a hand-dyed, home spun skein of yarn. We have Walmarts and Michaels Craft Store, which do not carry that type of yarn. I keep hoping I am missing something and will stumble upon a cute little yarn shop somewhere that simply doesn’t advertise online.
I miss being able to drive to a store and shop for something unique, or pick out beautiful yarn myself. Florida is not conducive to crafters. That is not to say there are none, but this is a big state and I’m not about to drive an hour (through horrendous traffic) to get to a yarn store.
I miss my home and all the talented people who readily share their artistic abilities in the form of their creations. In New Hampshire many artists can make a living doing what they love best. They’ve carved out a little niche for themselves and made it work.
As I sit here in an air-conditioned house, I pick up my needles and latest knitting project, and dream of home.