Hey all! It’s been nearly two weeks since the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival — sorry for the delay in my annual wrap up! In brief, I got to hit pretty much everything I wanted to, and multiple times at that — it’s what happens when you actually go both days! And I loved going both days — definitely a must-do from now on. While it was a lot more physically tiring, it was mentally much more relaxing: no rushing to buy things, no quick decisions, plenty of time to chat with friends, pet sheep, and eat ice cream.
So like last year in prep for the festival, I — wait second, did I ever tell you that I knit and fulled a bag last year for Sheep and Wool? It was inspired by Jurassic World:
I wrote the chart and everything! But I’ll tell you more about that another time.
Anyway, this year I decided to knit and full a bag again (if I do it next year, it’s officially a trend!). It ended up a little smaller than I wanted, but still served its main purpose (carry yarn and water bottle). It was inspired by the Baa-ble Hat pattern, but since I didn’t have enough of a blue for a sky, I went for sheep at sunset.
I also fulfilled my resolution to enter items into the Skein and Garment competition! Because the judges there are always highly knowledgeable, I chose to enter items I wanted feedback on as well as items I was confident in. However, I was … disappointed. The best feedback I received was on my woven items, while I received minimal-to-no feedback on everything else. However, I learned a lot about the process of the competition, and definitely plan to enter next year!
I really enjoyed taking part in the stitch marker swap organized by the Buffalo Wool Company. I spent a happy evening before the day of the fair making chainmail markers (surprisingly relaxing).
On Saturday, the first swapper I met was also kind enough to give me a Ravelry badge, as I had lost mine (thanks schoolbusrobin!). The swap was great fun, and it was really exciting seeing everyone’s creativity. And now I have a bunch of really pretty stitch markers!
I also had the pleasure of aiding Flying Goat Farm during the lunch hour. Their booth was beautiful, and it was lovely helping them out!
This was a year of volunteering for me: I volunteered in the t-shirt barn, where I had great fun showing off all the different swag to attendees, and getting a great gold volunteer shirt out of it.
I also went to the Saturday night Spin-In again this year, and as in the past I left a little early as I could feel myself turning into a pumpkin. However, I was the FIRST door prize winner (YAY) so I didn’t miss out on anything: I won a gold (Year of the) Sheep stuffed with silk!
Since I (finally!) went on a Sunday, I (finally!) got to watch the Sheep to Shawl contest! For those who don’t know, at the Maryland Sheep to Shawl Contest, one shearer, three spinners, and one weaver have three hours to shear a sheep, spin the yarn, and weave a shawl. The final shawls are judged and auctioned to support the festival. They also get bonus points for themes and “team spirit”!
The “Friends through Fiber” team went with a three-black-sheep theme. The pillow at the bottom of their display, with the lamb and ewe, was also their sample shawl. The warp on their loom was painted so that the pattern would weave up automatically.
The Butler Pedalers had a “goldfish” theme, and I particularly loved their burnt-orange sample shawl.
The Mount Vernon Spinners (that may not be their official name?) had a beautiful natural shawl, but I particularly enjoyed how their team looked surrounding their fiber equipment.
My favorite story, though, was from “Vintage Jewels” by Fiber Friends. Because the competition was held on Mother’s Day, the inspiration for their shawl was their grandmothers.
However, the winning team was inspired by Alice in Wonderland!
That’s the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, and Mad Hatter spinning, with Alice weaving (their shearer? The White Rabbit). You can see just the edge of their tea-party table in the front of the picture.
Their sample shawl was displayed by the whimsical sign, and they painted their warp to look like “Alice’s Garden.”
I watched a good chunk of the Sheep to Shawl with friends who have competed before, so I had an insider’s look at the process (I ran into a LOT of friends over the weekend, far too many only in passing!).
Don’t worry — I shopped a little too, but I swear every time I went to go look at goodies I got distracted by a sheep being sheared.
It’s quiet fascinating to watch, but it definitely distracted me from my goals.
That said, my shopping was pretty restrained this year. I already had my beautiful stitch markers from the swap, I of course had some beauties (yarn and roving) from Flying Goat Farm, and I also picked up a needle-felting kit from Going Gnome — so soon I’ll be able to check off my resolution for needle-felting!
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend that ended with the vigorous but simple break-down of Flying Goat Farm’s booth, and then all that remained were a lone pair of boots and a babbling book.
What a wonderful weekend.