Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool - Hot and Humid!

Every once in a while, the weekend of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is hot and humid. This year was one of those years. Saturday was very hot with an unrelenting sun. We even broke records yesterday! Today wasn't much better, but the cloud cover made it a little cooler. However, the humidity really kicked in and made it very uncomfortable.

None the less, I thoroughly enjoyed the festival and found lots of wonderful goodies.

I spent a bit more than I had planned, but got some wonderful goodies as a result. The Spanish Peacock had a gorgeous drop spindle with the whirl made of a whitish stone with some purple and green in it - I love it! I also picked up a couple of very pretty lucets as well as a double lucet (I'm hoping to try some color work with that one!) My first goal with the lucet is to make some shoe strings for DH's grandmother. She needs short tan/light brown shoe laces and we can't seem to find the right ones...so my solution is to make them! (An added bonus is that the cording made with the lucet is square...and rumor has it that shoestrings stay tied longer when they're square.) I picked up a nalbinding needle as well...just in case I get around to trying that craft!

Of course, I bought some of the usual goodies from a variety of my favorite vendors - lots of roving and yarn. I've pictured just a few of the highlights here. Tilli Tomas - of course I can't resist their elegant beaded yarns - made of silk, merino, and cashmere. Misty Mountain Farm - teal Finn locks and some of the two-colored BFL that I'd missed out on at Rhinebeck. I also picked up some soap and some cones of yarn for making towels (once I get my loom warped!). They also had some awesome kettle dyed sock yarn that's absolutely scrumptious - I loved the bluish-grey! I found three awesome patterns at Creatively Dyed. Hunt Country Yarns had some great partial skeins of interesting yarns to try - two of them "called my name" and had to come home with me!

At "The Flock Bransonas", I purchased some more silk - this is the same place that I got the purple silk I spun up earlier this year. This colorway is to honor the memory of a dear friend of theirs, Allison, that died at the young age of 25. They donate the proceeds in her memory and have named the color way, "Allison".

I hadn't been up to Kiparoo Farm for a couple of years, so I was LONG overdue. I found some fabulous new patterns and some gorgeous yarn. I got the yarn for the shawl pattern. I did find some lovely white, purple, and green yarn that I'm earmarking for a summer shawl or stole of some sort. I just need to find a pattern that requires only 3 skeins! (Annie has recently moved her farm - I definitely need to go check out her new place!)

I got some fabulous natural colored sock yarn and some baby yarn from Solitude. The baby blanket I was making is just taking too long...and I really want to have it done by the end of the month. So....I've started a NEW blanket using the awesome naturally colored "Shropshire 2-ply Baby Yarn" from Solitude! I will be leaving the baby yarn in the natural color. However, I'm not leaving the sock yarn "natural" - I plan to dye it myself - wish me luck!!!!

Saturday was just plain hot. I finished my shopping and left early. I just couldn't bear to be in the buildings with all of the crowds...or under the unrelenting sun.

Today seemed a bit cooler, but the humidity was way up. In the morning, I'd watched the "Sheep to Shawl" competition so I was well rested and felt a bit more like wandering about. Once again,I really couldn't bear to spend much time in any of the buildings - it was stifling and there was no air movement inside. However, by mid-afternoon, the crowds were quite thin and I wandered back into the main barn for a couple more purchases.

I found live silk worms! I don't think I've ever seen the real ones before. They were all wiggly and munching away on what I believe are probably mulberry leaves. They're kinda gross looking....ew!!

I stopped in at "A Touch of Twist" to pick up a few handfuls of dyed silkworm cocoons. I'm not sure what I'll do with these yet. I do plan to degum and spin some of these...but others, I may leave "as is" and use as a decorative touch to other items.

I found a lovely hand crafted crochet hook and lay stick at Turnstyles. A lay stick is used for laying embroidery when you're weaving. I'm not sure how to use it, but I figured it was a tool I should have. PLUS...it was very pretty! The added plus is that it's hand crafted by my friend Celeste's husband, Bill. He does BEAUTIFUL work!

I also checked out Miss Babs. I had helped someone else find her booth, and then was intrigued by the colors of the yarns and rovings I saw "decorating" her booth. Of course, the samples given to me as I passed by caught my attention as well! I succumbed to some lush roving in Silk and Merino. I chose two colorways: "Lilac" and "Iris". I believe this is the first time I've purchased from Miss Babs...and I probably won't be the last! The silk will really give the yarn a nice sheen...very soft and elegant.

I also found some "bite your eyes out" bright orange (hunter orange) acrylic yarn! This will be the "waste yarn" for my circular sock machine. My original waste yarn was a small amount of light blue acrylic that I found on e-Bay. This cone (nearly 1 1/2 lbs of it!) should last me quite a while!

The Garment and Skein competition exhibits were fabulous! As always, the exhibit was jam packed with gorgeous projects. My two favorites were a shawl and a felted sheep. The shawl won the "Best in Show". It's the "Lyra" and it was gorgeous! One of the judges comments was "I could find no fault". No one that viewed the shawl could find any fault either - it was beautifully done! The knitter of this work of art should definitely be proud!

This felted sheep was absolutely adorable - he looked so life-like! The creator did an absolutely fabulous job.

I made some practical purchases as well. In effort to organize my stash in elegant containers, I found a couple of gorgeous baskets from "Friends in Reed". The basket is quite sturdy as is woven in a very nice medium purple. It's perfect for nearly any sized project...or it can be used to store all the yarns for a medium "project-in-waiting".

I fell in love with the 3-D effect of the wheat basket. The blades of wheat were woven just like we did key chains out of gimp back in summer camp. It immediately brought back fond memories...as well as being a beautiful work of art. The beauty and depth of this basket...in addition to the memories it conjures...make it the perfect basket for a larger project.

No wool festival would be complete without a felted Yurt, right? This is the same type of tent was was popular with the nomadic tribes. It's made entirely of felted wool. It's both warm and waterproof - definitely a plus as you move from place-to-place and climate to climate. This style of dwelling may be the original "mobile home"!

Of course, no visit to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival would be complete with the requisite parking and crowd shots...as well as the gratuitous animal and "sheep shots".

It's the end of the festival...and time to go home.

Next post...

The Sheep to Shawl Competition


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