Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sheep! Wool! (Lots of pictures)

Yesterday I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which I described on Ravelry at some point as being "heaven, nirvana, and happy place all rolled into one." The last time I was able to get to MDS&W was in 2003, I think, so I was really interested to see how attendance has changed, especially with the rise of Ravelry. I took my friend Lori with me. Lori's a knitter, too. She's gotten her invite to Ravelry, but as of yesterday, hadn't actually gone to check it out. She'd heard about MDS&W, but never been before.

The weather started out a bit cloudy and cool, but the sun came out and it warmed up nicely. All in all, it was perfect outdoor festival weather.

There were far more people in attendance than I remember from a few years ago. The last time I went, I had no traffic getting to the fairgrounds, and parked relatively closely early in the morning. This year, we left Arlington at 8:30, thinking that if we arrived at the fairgrounds at about 9:15, we shouldn't have too much trouble. Ha! Traffic was backed up on Fairgrounds road for 20 minutes. The parking lot was already two thirds full when we got there. All this is great news for knitters, of course. This is the view down one concourse at lunchtime -- bear in mind that this doesn't account for all the people inside the buildings, down the other concourses, or watching various fiber-related shows such as the sheep shearing demonstration or the border collie demonstrations:

Lori was amazed that there were so many people there from so many places. She was also pleasantly surprised to see so many men.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to the Ravelry gathering, they were out of buttons and I couldn't find my Ravatar, so I went anonymously through the crowd. Casey and Jess were there in person! I strongly resisted my urge to go all fangirl and squee at them. I can't even begin to estimate how many Ravelers were there. The gathering place was packed. I'm sure that there were many more wandering around, too.

We saw many cute fiber bearing beasties, such as this gorgeous guy and the two cute alpacas to follow:

Look at this sweet face!

We didn't just spend our time shopping. We watched the sheep shearing and the border collies. Loved the border collies chasing those sheep around!

That little sheep let out an occasional blase "Baa," but seemed nonplussed by his undignified display to the crowd.

But shopping there was, so here's the fiber p*rn. My first purchase was this gorgeous Merino top in the "thistle" colorway, from Stony Mountain Fibers:

I also got some of this beautiful handpainted Wensleydale from the folks at Flying Fibers. The owners and I embarassed their poor daughter with all our talk of stubborn, know-it-all 10 and 11 year olds while she very professionally rang me up and made my change. That's what parents are for :)

On the left is a skein of Suri Elegance laceweight in "morning mist" from Uncommon Threads. They had some beautiful stuff. On the right is a skein of "Primero" mohair yarn from Brooks Farms Yarns. Their booth was mobbed. I hadn't seen their yarns in person before and they were stunning!

Last, but not least, was my stop at the Misty Mountain Farm booth on the way out. I've gotten an lot of fiber from them at MDS&Ws past, and this year was no exception. I got some Finn combed top in a gold/green colorway:

and some heavenly soft baby alpaca:

I love seeing the things entered into the Festival's various fiber judging contests. There was a beautiful square shawl that the knitter had designed herself. I think we were most impressed by some of the felted/fulled entries. There was a stunning coat, an adorable pair of boots, and some beautiful wall hangings. Lori was inspired to get a couple of felting books.

By the time we got home, I was worn out, but very happy. And Mr T had managed to deal with a typical Saturday afternoon of baseball pictures and simultaneous baseball games without losing any of the children!

Misery Lace

I have to admit that I was rather restrained when I wrote about the implosion of Susan Reishus's Mystery Lace KAL. I had many choice words for how I felt about the whole situation and her behaviour/delusions of grandeur/personality. The more I read about subsequent events (she thinks people are hacking into her Yahoogroups???), the happier I am not to be involved with that any longer. But the hashing she's taking over in the Misery Knits group on Ravelry has been fun reading.

Coming soon, to a blog right here, more Dayflower Lace, and a book report or two.

1 comment:

kippi said...

WOW! Looks like you had a grand time at the festival. I see a theme in your gorgeous yarn choices: bluey-purply-silvery goodness. Any of those things have a destination yet?

How much yarn can you spin out of those braids of wool?

ugh. The mystery from he**. I have little respect for the author. I love that you call it misery lace. So true.

I finished my doily! it is just a blob and now I have to get the motivation to block it.

Happy Monday :-)