Have Ewe Any Wool?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Maryland Sheep and Wool

Wow! What a wet weekend! I still found lots of great deals and thoroughly enjoyed myself....in spite of the rainy weather! Thankfully, because of the rain, the temperatures remained cool and the crowds were down a bit....especially for Sunday when it rained all day...and pretty hard at times too!

Prize Winning Shawl...
The highlight of my weekend was the Sheep-to-Shawl competition. I arrived early on Sunday to watch the shearing and then the start of the spinning and weaving of the shawls. At 1:30, the shawls that were created were auctioned off. I was lucky enough to have the winning bid on the 2nd place shawl - a gorgeous purple, white, green, and grey shawl. I absolutely LOVE it!

This competition involves the following:
  1. Sheering the sheep
  2. 3 spinners spinning the yarn for the shawl
  3. 1 weaver weaving a pattern on a pre-warped loom (natural or hand dyed wool only)
  4. At the end of 3 hours, each team has to have completed a shawl - including the fringe
Points are awarded in several categories to determine the winner: Team work, craftsmanship (shearer, weaver, and spinners), the finished shawl and speed. Points are deducted if the fringe is outside the 5-7" range, if the length is more than 70-76" or if the width is less than 22" sleyed in the reed.

This photo shows the final results of all 4 teams. (Click on the photo for a closer look)

I took photos of all the sheep being shorn. There were 4 sheep total, and I couldn't get a good shot of the dark sheep. Sorry the photos are so dark, but we had to remain outside the tent during the sheering, so the flash didn't quite reach. Of course, the dark grey, rainy skies added to the darkness, but certainly didn't dampen the spirits of any of the competitors!

Here's the shawl "in progress" and some of the team members. Once they finished spinning and weaving, the fringed the shawl and trimmed the fringe so it was even. The resulting shawl was just beautiful! (I did take photos of the other teams as well, but I was concentrating on this team...I was lusting after that shawl from the very beginning!) The weft for "my shawl" came from the Corriedale Ram named "Stonewall Jackson". Awesome - a shawl from a "named" sheep! Many thanks to Michelle for updating me with this info!

The shawl was made by "Friends Thru Fiber" - a group from Franklin Co., PA with one team member from Adams Co., PA. The shawl came with some gorgeous lilacs....one of my favorite flowers. No...it's not JUST because they're purple....but also because they have such a fabulous scent! I could get lost in it! I just LOVE the shawl too! It's beautiful as well as very warm and cuddly!

Prize Winning Sheep...

Another highlight of the day was checking out Sue Bundy's Karakul sheep. She swept the category with 5, yes FIVE ribbons! Congratulations! (Sue is one of the partners in "Solitude" - a new vendor this year at the festival. I love the "Solitude" yarns - they're fantastic! Their yarns are from local sheep, so it actually supports the local economy - how cool is that!) By the way, the Karakul rovings and yarns make fantastic braided rugs and felted items.

Highly Prized People...
My day ended visiting a favorite vendor and friend, Linda, of Misty Mountain Farm. As an added bonus, she just happened to have Anna Zilboorg visiting her at the same time! I was absolutely thrilled to meet her in person! What a fabulous treat! As an added bonus, the "discussion of the moment" was about socks - something I definitely love to knit. Oh, my....Anna has some fabulous ideas! (Check out her books - "Magnificent Mittens: The Beauty of Warm Hands", "45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit: Berets, Toques, Cones, Stars, Pentagons, and More", and "Simply Socks: 45 Traditional Turkish Patterns to Knit" - the designs are absolutely fabulous!)

It was definitely a fabulous weekend!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cherry Blossom Petals and Azaleas

I think the part I love most about Spring is all the gorgeous colors that surround me! I love the cherry blossoms, and then when they're done blooming, they literally produce a "carpet of petals" on my driveway, walkway, and yard. It's just beautiful.

Some even reached the front steps - reminiscent of a bride's rose petal strewn walkway. Doggie just doesn't understand what all the fuss is about and is clueless about my fascination with taking pictures! (Double click on the photo to take a peak at her peering out the door!)The down side of this beautiful outdoor carpet is that every time we enter the house, we carry several of these petals with us...what a mess!

Of course, once the cherry tree blossoms have bloomed and fallen, it's time for the Azeleas. I just love our Azalea bush - the vibrant pinks are my favorites. I have a few more that bloom a week or two later, but they're not quite as vibrant as these. The next group is more salmon in color rather than a bright and vibrant pink.