The New England Weavers’ Seminar is held every other year at Smith College and goes from Thursday until Sunday with different events and classes throughout the extended weekend. I was one of the handful of vendors the seminar had and we vended from Friday until Sunday. Overall, the show had a good atmosphere and everyone seemed to be having a great time, I’d say it was a success!
I’m going to follow the same format as I did for this review as I did for the Maine Fiber Frolic, except since I was vending I won’t be able to go into detail on the cafeteria, dorms, or how the classes were since I was at my booth!
Beautiful handwoven hammock by Lucienne Coifman
The seminar had a very relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of space to sit and unwind. Since most people attending were there multiple days, there were many exhibits, shows, and events that people seemed to be enjoying. They had an evening event on Friday with wine, dessert, shopping, and live classical music! Overall, I really enjoyed that people had multiple days to hang out and I definitely came away from the seminar with new friends, so I’m sure everyone else did as well.
Ahhhhh lodging, I didn’t realize there was also a hot air balloon festival and air show happening in the area the same weekend, so we ended up staying in Hadley at the Homewood Suites about 15 min away from Smith College. The seminar itself has dormitory options available for a reasonable price, but I’ve been spoiled by my large bed at home and wanted to make sure I had a place to unwind after a long day. There are a couple hotel chains in Northampton as well as some bed and breakfasts, all around the same price of $150-200/night.
We liked Hadley since it has all the big box chains and grocery stores right near the hotel, making it easy to restock all our snacks for the next day of vending.
Since I was a vendor myself, I had a lot of time to talk with the other vendors at the seminar and it was such a great crowd! It was a very curated selection geared towards weaving, which makes sense being a weaving seminar. There were plenty of looms to try: big and small, computerized and rigid heddle. Pro-chem was there to help anyone with dyeing questions and needs. Vavstuga and the Vermont Weaving School were both there to make sure everyone was continuing their weaving exploration and education after the seminar. And of course, there were lots of yarn choices from WEBS, Lunatic Fringe, Good Karma Farm, and myself. There were also booths selling fair trade baskets and used books.
Tom Knisely stopped by my booth and picked up some cotton sliver!
For those attending classes, you could sign up for food in the cafeteria, which I didn’t explore being gluten free and the building being different from where I was vending. In the Campus Center building where the vendors were, there was a café that had a great selection of lunch items, snacks, and drinks open for breakfast and lunch. There weren’t too many gluten free options and I opted to pack sandwiches. The campus is located close to downtown Northampton and I did try Pita Pocket’s chicken plate, which was very good! There were plenty of local restaurants to choose from.
I’m adding a little bit about parking since this seemed to be somewhat of an issue. If you registered, you received a parking pass that let you park most places on campus. However, this still required a decent amount of walking between buildings. The seminar did provide a shuttle that overcame a lot of the walking though. If you just showed up for an afternoon of browsing exhibits, you would have to find street parking, which was available, but metered in 30 min increments.