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Wheatland Music Festival, 2003

Well, we just got back from Wheatland Music Festival. We had a good time, but I am ever so glad to be home and bathed and comfortable! I am sad to see summer end, but I’m quite pleased to know that I won’t have any occasions to sleep in a tent for the rest of the year.

The first night we were there, it got very cold, in the 40’s (Farenheit). It was clear this would happen, so as soon as I got to Wheatland I set my hands to finishing the inside of the neck of my “Wheatland Sweater” (otherwise known as the year-long-sweater).

I started this sweater at Wheatland last year but didn’t get very far. I finished knitting the neck and cuffs in the springtime when I went to Iowa. However, I never bothered to deal with the inside of the collar (there was extra fabric in there, so I had to cut it away, a curved-horizontal “steek” like Norwegian sweaters use).

I had knit the sweater totally in the round (basically a tube) and then when I knit the collar I just picked up and knit new stitches through stitches in the sweater fabric in exactly the places I wanted the collar. Then on the inside, I used a crochet chain (one stitch in each knitted loop) around the collar (I did two rows of crochet because I was a bit nervous about a neck steek which was new to me).

Once the crochet was in place to keep the knit fabric from running, I pulled out the stitches for the area where I needed a larger opening and then cut the extra yarn about 2.5 inches from the crochet. Since the cut yarn ends were at the collar, I wanted to be sure they didn’t peek out so I worked those yarn ends into the back side of the sweater body fabric.

I’m pleased, the sweater fits just as I had planned It is big enough to wear several other layers underneath, including a sweatshirt. It is made of two strands of Lambs Pride worsted mohair-wool yarn held together as one yarn. It made a very nice blanket-like fabric, a sort of coat but more comfortable. I was so very happy to get that collar done before the sun went down, because I needed it that night to keep me from being very unhappy.

Take a peek at me here, wearing my new sweater (without the shoulder pads I plan to sew into it now that I’m home) and five other items I knit myself. From top down: Mohair/Charm beret, alpaca cropped-finger gloves, Wheatland sweater, Lambs Pride/Fun Fur water bottle holder (being used as a purse), Charisma legwarmers, and barely peeking out, Dale Freestyle socks. Oh, and I made the earrings out of polymer clay and telelphone wire about seven years ago.

Mostly we were there to play music with other musicians. (See picture of jam session with four ukuleles, including the banjo uke I’m playing.) However, we got a very good campsite thanks to friends who went there very early. The site was so close to the big stage that if you walked about 12 feet and peeked through the pine trees, you could see the performers on stage pretty well, from the side. So we were able to hear the stage without having to go out and sit in the sun or the cold, depending on the time of day. Last night I went to bed listening to Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women. Such a luxury that was, they are fabulous performers.

Take a look at our group’s camping area in The Pines (one of many camping areas at Wheatland), with tents so close together you can barely walk through the area. Can you see why I was so surprised at the Allegan Fiber Festival that I could drive my car right up to my tent without a zillion other tents? Surprised that I didn’t have anyone to talk to after dinnertime? I thought it would be as densely populated as Wheatland, although smaller in physical size.

Here are a few shots of the stage area, one from up on the hill showing how big that crowd was, and one from a great distance out in the listening area.

We stayed in a group with our friends Art and Marlene Cameron (Art is the friend who designed the ornamental grass garden where I took pictures of a tree frog and swallowtail butterfly, and Marlene and I are in Working Women Artists together). Check out the picture of Art playing Brian’s banjo ukulele, and then me playing the same instrument (I have one song I do with ukulele, Sweet Georgia Brownl)

When I was at Wheatland, I finished working in ends on one pair of socks and one sock of another pair. I also thought I finished another stole, but when I bound it off it just didn’t look big enough so I am going to take out the finish and add some more fabric to the piece.

One of my other friends from Working Women Artists, MargaBeth Cibulka, was there selling her fused glass work in the artisan area. I spent a good deal of time with her, sitting on the floor of her booth, chatting and knitting. That was really great, as I really like MargaBeth and I don’t get much time with her alone. See picture of artist’s area, MargaBeth’s booth is about the third one from where I was standing when I took the picture.

I really do enjoy the feel of this festival. It has something for everyone. There is an area called “Kids Hill” where there is a wonderful tall slide that the younger kids love, and a huge rockpile that is irresistable to the boys who are a bit older. There is always a place where a musician can find someone to play music with. There are all sorts of opportunites to dance, including a dance pavillion which has constant concerts all weekend.

There is an area focused on younger folks, with a drumming circle and a crafts area where you can do free projects like tie-dye shirts, crocheting, wire-wrapping stones for jewelry, or hemp bracelets. You can even get a henna/mehndi design (a sort of temporary tattoo) applied to your hands or arms if you choose (this is very popular with the teens-to-twenties crowd).

People wear tie-dye clothes en masse all weekend. There are children seated on every corner, playing violin/fiddle for tips. Kids collect bottles for the dime deposit. One kid I saw with a wagon said “Scotty’s wagon service #4” or something like that. You could hire a kid to bring you ice for your cooler! There are booths to buy artworks, and I got a very nice lampworked-glass bracelet from a team of three girls, two of them age 15 and one age 14 years.

There is a different feel, a different style about it, sort of a small fantasy world but not as theatrical as Renaissance Festival. Even those folks who can’t be hippy-dippy in their normal lives, can sort of let down and join the relaxed crowd at Wheatland. Check out this funky old food trailer, painted up like a 70’s tour bus. It was a booth for a Methodist church youth group. Love the paint job!

In the end, I’m glad we are home. We had both extreme cold to very hot, Friday night to Sunday morning. We had to deal with the very un-favorite porta-potties. It was very dusty because it hadn’t rained (no mud though, so that was good), which made us both eager to get a good bath. And since I didn’t sleep much the first night because I woke up often from the cold… and Brian didn’t sleep much the second night because he stayed up playing music with friends until the wee hours… we will be extra happy to be sleeping in a regular bed with no distracting noises around us.

Wheatland always marks the end of our summer. It’s a great way to close the season.

7 Responses to “Wheatland Music Festival, 2003”

  1. Marie (knitti-me) Says:

    That is such a cool picture of you with all your hand-knitted gear. Beautiful, cozy and fun!

  2. Drew Says:

    Hi Lynn,

    It was great to see you and Brian and do some jamming. Hope to do that again sometime.

    Thanks for putting the Wheatland photos on your website.


  3. Lissa Says:

    Hey, thanks for the trip down Wheatland memory lane! Your sweater is gorgeous!

  4. annette Says:

    i love wheatland its the best!

  5. ruth Says:

    Hi: I read your paragraph about the nylon netting scrubbies and wondered if you had the instructions. I have several but they are flat and yours are puffy and crotcheted. Thank you.

  6. Diane Says:

    I am interested in volunteering. Can anyone direct me to anything????????
    I live in Ontario and willing to travel.

  7. Sarah Says:

    Hello, this is my 6th year at Wheatland!! I am going up this year, and, not bring ing the children this year…Ready To be a very enthusiatic Wheatlander!!