Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

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If you haven't already, be sure to enter my Blogiversary Contest by Friday...

I had a great first trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (even though I had, and still have, a bit of a cold)!

I rode down to Maryland on Friday with sunflowerfairyknits and missalicefaye (Hi, guys!). We spent some time spinning Friday evening (we brought our wheels!) and had a leisurely dinner before retiring. They were wonderful roommates and fellow festival-goers (and were good sports about my sheep photographing habit).

The hotel was pretty darn full. There were a number of groups there attending the festival, but the presence of an overly-tanned, very fit man in scandalously short, rather revealing running shorts (you know, the kind with the side "vents") at the check-in desk should have alerted us that there was a marathon going on in Frederick (we figured this out later).

After a continental breakfast at the hotel, we arrived at the fairgrounds around 9 am (opening time) on Saturday, and the parking area was already starting to fill up:

There was a lot of fair food (naturally), and swarms of people were everywhere:

My lunch on the first day consisted of a "pit lamb" sandwich, coleslaw, and potato salad with limeade to drink:

We wandered around, trying to visit every barn and outdoor vendor booth. There were all sorts of things to see in addition to yarn and fiber (don't worry, I'll get to that eventually).

Sheep were being trimmed in preparation for show and being sheared in demonstrations:
IMG_3807.jpg Nice hooves...

Sheep were being shown:

There was a fleece sale:

There were alpacas:

...and llamas:

...and goats:

...and loads and loads of sheep:

There was plenty of human-sheep interaction going on:

This guy cracked me up, lounging in the pen with his critters:

This little lamb was very interested in the ewe next door:

All in all, an embarrassment of wooly riches!

Speaking of which, here are some close-ups for your textural enjoyment (click for bigger):

NOTE: Don't worry - I didn't make Heidi and Alice follow me around while I photographed sheep : )

So, I bet you're wondering what I bought. Mostly I went for a bunch of lovely spinning fiber:

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1. Bamboo top (4 oz., "Caribbean") from Opalessence
2. Merino roving (4 oz., "Cassis") from Opalessence
3. Organic Long Staple Uplands Cotton combed top (8 oz., "Pima Cotton") from the Little Barn
4. Organic Cotton combed top (8 oz., "Mocha") from the Little Barn
5. Tussah Silk roving (8 oz., "Natural") from the Little Barn
6. Merino batt (3.5 oz.) - I don't remember the vendor (and, darn it, the receipt doesn't say)
7. Merino roving (4 oz., "Sunset Gold") from Gale's Art
8. Corriedale roving (7.1 oz., dyed with cochineal & iron) from Handspun by Stefania

I did buy some yarn -- one skein of Canopy (200 yards, 50 g, "Purple Passion," alpaca/merino/bamboo blend) from The Fibre Company (no I don't have a plan for it, but it's lovely yarn, and it was 50% off!) and three skeins of coral Solo Silk (400 yards, 4 oz. each, "SW," silk/wool blend) from Brooks Farm for a Printed Silk Cardigan:
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Describing my Solo Silk purchase, I told Heidi and Alice that I "fell down" in the Brooks Farm booth. Heidi immediately expressed concern and wanted to know if I was alright - I guess my euphemism (I hadn't intended to buy any yarn) was a little ambiguous : )

Alice totally egged me on when I expressed interest in getting a Bosworth drop spindle. I came home with a beautiful Midi (1.02 oz., Canarywood) from Journey Wheel, shown here with some of the "Cassis" merino roving (#2, above) spun up on it:

Pretty good stuff!

Oh yes... I never showed you what I got at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival. Here you go (click on photos for bigger pictures and info.):

Clearly I have enough fiber to keep me spinning for some time... now I just need to get to work on it : )


Anonymous said...

I just love your sheep photos. Such little personalities!

Emily said...

I hate it when I hit enter when I'm reaching for shift! It sends the comment when I'm just trying to write my name.... oh well, I love the sheep photos enough to say it twice!

Rosina said...

Yea fiber! Your lendrum will be so happy :)
The wool texture photos are so fun. As a spinner I have enjoyed getting to play with different fibers and see how they work. The types of wool alone could keep me occupied for years...

soknitpicky said...

So so jealous! Sigh. I'm anxious to see how the Brooks Farm yarn works for that cardi.

anphoe said...

So jealous you got to go the festival. Looks like you had lots of fun and bought some amazing stuff.

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I always enjoy looking at your pictures. The fiber ones are very interesting.

YarnSnob said...

looks like you had so much fun at the festival, the sheep photos made me giggle.....so many!!! I hear your love for sheep :)

Angie said...

"Clearly I have enough fiber to keep me spinning for some time... "

All I'll say is "ha!"... there's not such thing as "enough fiber" ... I'm still spinning stuff I got at Mass Sheep & Wool last spring... but you don't really think that's going to stop me from returning there in a few weeks, do you? ;)

SJ said...

I can see that you're going to have many enjoyable hours of spinning!

I love all the shots of the animals, especially those adorable sheep all bundled up! Did they just have a spa treatment?

wendy g said...

What beautiful pictures as usual! Sounds like you had a great time and I love all of the roving anf yarn you purchased.

Mel said...

Great photos as always. I especially love the sheep in sheets...

missalicefaye said...

Great furry animal pictures! :) I hope you love your spindle!

Lauren said...

Thank you for sharing all those pictures! I love getting to see the sheep and alpacas, and the close up of the fiber textures is great!

elizabeth said...

Ahhh! I've got festival envy!!!

Irie said...

Love the photos of sheep and wool texture... and that is a beautiful new spindle! I don't spin but I can appreciate the handiwork. Nice photography. :)

Nonnahs said...

My oh my, look at all the goodies!! I swear, I need to go to MDSW one of these years. I love your new spindle-it's beautiful!

Emily said...

I love all your sheep photos! But I think my favorite is the sheared alpaca with the very fuzzy neck and head! I need to go to one of these big festivals some day...

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

I agree, that alpaca pic is my fave! Glad you had a rousing good time, and now I'm bitter that I missed the potato salad!

Sunflowerfairy said...

Girl, you better get on the spinning wheel.

I don't think I realized how much fiber you bought.

And that spindle. I should of "fell down" on that one.

LisaB said...

Wow, I am in awe! That looks like so much fun.

Beautiful new additions. Can't wait to see some it spun. :)

Oiyi said...

Oh, I am so jealous that you got to go. Thanks for all the photos.

emma said...

What fun. I'm going to a wool event tommorrow, and this peek is just making me more excited to go. All your fleece looks really lice. That blue bamboo would look especially nice as the rings on an octopus!

alltangledup said...

i am so jealous!!!!!!!! Maryland is a great show and the best that I've been to

Knittymuggins said...

Fantastic photos! Thanks so much for sharing and glad you had so much fun :)


Beth said...

All your photographs are truly exquisite, but the man lying with his critters -- that gave me a good chuckle. What a beautiful haul you chose. Someday I'm just going to treat myself like that!

mel said...

Thanks so much for the sheep & wool review and tour - I enjoyed all your pictures so much, I almost feel like I was there, sigh! It looks like you had an excellent time!!