Saturday, July 12, 2008

Brimfield- A Trip Through Knitting History

Brimfield is the largest flea market in the United States- over 6000 dealers of trash and treasures. It takes place three times each year (May, July, and Sept) for 5 days each, and is frequented by dealers and enthusiasts from all over the country...including myself and my cadre of three creative friends.

I try to go to Brimfield without an agenda, leaving myself open to the winds of fate. It works better this way as I find that, true to Brimfield lore, if one is looking for something in particular one will never find it. Had I been looking for knitting paraphernalia, I would have found none...but on this trip I was uncharacteristically looking for wolf-motif items (more on this in an upcoming post), and found none...but what I found instead was a treasure trove of historic knitting items.

The first photo is of the knitting needles I actually purchased...wooden ones, some still in their original wrapper, made in Britain around 150 years ago. (Don't peek, Mom, this is your Christmas present). The same shop (Ryan's Antiques: 860-485-9600) had these darling little British needle gauge tools...curiosities more than useful since the needle gauging system is the opposite of the American system with smaller numbers signifying larger needles and larger numbers the smaller gauges.

She also had some wild needle tip protectors...fuzzy and shaped like animal hooves. The best selection of needle tip protectors, however, was down the row at J&Js lot, at Bunny's Place (Marblehead, MA 781-990-1133)...a gold-mine of knitters antiques run by a darling couple...the husband actually grew up in the town where I now live! Their needle tip covers in sterling with enamel (holding a pair of needles together) were particularly elegant...not to mention the carved ivory dog-heads!

Their stand had three of the most exquisite needles I have ever seen... one set in bone, one set in tortoise shell, and the coup-de-gras...ivory with sterling and enamel ends.
[I need a shop...just a little shop...or maybe a book deal...]
I'll include a couple general photos of the trip, just for the fun of it. Keep your eyes open for Jenn's new product line...Jenn Mason, Creative Liver! ;-)

There's something for everyone at Brimfield...from Eunuchs to Gnomes...

Queen Eileen at our favorite lunch spot. (CasandraPuddlemere/SheWhoKnits will LOVE this BBQ!)
Martha, we missed you this time around!
I just want to mention that though May and July at Brimfield are better for just "the girls" owing to the intense weather, Brimfield is also a great place to bring "my boys." The kindly gramophone man once spent hours with my eldest teaching him about audio history...which was great since he had never even seen a record player. My middle boy is a collector and Brimfield is a treasure trove of antique marbles, mineral specimens, baseball cards, tin soldiers, and anything else that little boys crave. For boy history buffs, there is plenty of civil war bullets and Indian arrow heads. So, grab your wire roller basket, hat, and your fanny pack, and head to Brimfield to bring home your own little piece of knitting history.

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