Though the foliage is nearly gone, crafters and artists brought color and texture back to Milton Saturday with their knitted hats and gloves, beaded jewelry, patterned pillows and boxed macarons. 

Set up on front lawns, under tents and in garages, local makers found creative and safe ways to sell their work during Milton's First-Annual Craft Hop Oct. 24.  

Milton resident Jenna Powell organized the hop to fill the void that was left by the cancellation of the year's traditional craft fairs and markets due to COVID-19.

“Craft fairs really are a thing here in Vermont,” she said. “Especially with deer season starting soon, it’s usually a lot of women out shopping. Friends get together and go for a ride.”

While everything else may have looked a little different, it was still mostly women out shopping on Saturday. Mothers and daughters, grandmothers and friends masked up and drove in their personal cars from location to location. 

Milton residents April Grimes, Janice Eaton, Brandi Edwards and Cherie Sands could be found dressed warmly and selling their various products on Sammanikki Circle. 

Eaton, owner of Birch Bark Jewelry, said she was pleasantly surprised to see so many people out shopping and browsing. Her jewelry is made from the wood and bark she finds and reclaims from her own backyard in Milton. 

While many of the crafters were Milton residents, others drove in from St. Albans, Underhill, Colchester and Richmond to showcase their work. 

Heather Shangrow, of 802 Sweets & Treats in Colchester, shared Powell's front lawn to show off her colorful French macarons and sweet pies. 

Tammi Nichols of St. Albans was one of the few crafters to avoid the rainy the weather by setting up inside Arrowhead Martial Arts on Middle Road. Her sewing ranged from patterned pillows to potholders and masks. She's a stay-at-home mom but uses her sewing to help support her family. 

"It was hard to have the shows cancelled because any extra bit of income helps," she said. 

With over 75 vendors participating, visiting them all was a day-long affair. Some were located as far north as Lake Road and as far south as Sweeney Farm Road, while others were located right in the middle of town, thanks to the Milton Eagles Club. The club lawn was full of vendors selling honey, soap, wind chimes and children's clothing. 

Cheryl Greenwood, owner of Russwood Farm in Newport, displayed a wide variety of goat milk soaps, which she learned to make herself from watching videos online and reading books. 

"Last fall, I was driving somewhere every Saturday and Sunday to sell," she said. "Obviously this year has been very different, so I am grateful for this opportunity today."

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