SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY — From fiber to fashion, Philipsburg Manor’s Sheep-to-Shawl festival celebrates all things wooly sheep on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 to 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Outside on the grounds, agile Scottish border collies will demonstrate not only their sheep herding savvy, but their ability to corral ducks. And of course, sheep ready to lose their winter coats will be shorn by hand just like they were in the 18th century while costumed interpreters demonstrate wool dyeing, spinning, and weaving, and lead special hands-on activities for children.
Sheep-to-Shawl visitors can see the entire process of making woolen cloth and participate in many stages of the process: picking and carding the wool, spinning and dyeing the yarn, and weaving it into cloth. Interpreters, wearing costume of the 18th century, also demonstrate the labor-intensive process of making linen from the flax plant. Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will be on hand to share lively tales.
New to this classic spring event is The Art of the Reproduction — Recreating Period Textiles, which highlights the skills, talents, techniques, and materials needed to reproduce period textiles. It also examines these techniques as modern hobbies, takes a look at their historical value as vital commercial skills, and how they played an important part in the educational training of women in the 18th century.
In the site’s Manor House, Wearable Wealth: The Value of Cloth and Clothing in the 18th Century, is an interactive exhibit that will help visitors understand just how precious fabric goods were for colonial Americans. In fact, colonists were the ultimate recyclers. Textiles of all kinds were expensive treasures that were used, re-used, and re-purposed again.
Other elements include a photo op for kids, who can try on reproduction 18th-century clothing. A fashion show will take place featuring 18th-century outfits — both high-style and working-class — complete with critiques from a tough judge, HHV’s own expert costume designer.
Geordane’s of Irvingon will offer a full lunch menu including Shepard’s Pie and veggie chili. The Blue Pig of Croton will dish up locally sourced homemade ice cream.
In 1750, Philipsburg Manor, which includes a working water-powered gristmill and new world Dutch barn, was home to 23 enslaved individuals known to have lived and labored there. It is the country’s only living history museum that focuses on the history of northern slavery.
Sheep-to-Shawl is rain or shine and kicks off the spring season for Historic Hudson Valley’s network of National Historic Landmarks. Philipsburg Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, Montgomery Place, and Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate will open to the public for general tours beginning Saturday, May 2. Union Church of Pocantico Hills opens Wednesday, April 1, and Van Cortlandt Manor on Saturday, July 4.
If purchased in advance online, admission for Sheep-to-Shawl is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children ages 3-17. Members of Historic Hudson Valley and children under 3 attend for free. Onsite prices are $2 more per ticket. Tickets can be purchased online at www.hudsonvalley.org.
Philipsburg Manor, owned and operated by Historic Hudson Valley, is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. For more information contact 914-366-6900 or www.hudsonvalley.org. Or find Historic Hudson Valley on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (username: HHValley) and YouTube (username: InTheValley1).