Monday, May 9, 2011

MDSW 2011!

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was a ton of fun this year.  I went on Saturday with Kris, Jess, and Judy.  It was Judy’s first time at MDSW and it’s always so much fun to experience it again through virginal eyes.  MDSW really is quite a festival.

We started in the main barn and bumped in Clara Parkes early on.  She was so kind and we chatted for a few minutes.  She even let me take her picture with Judy and Kris:IMG_8899Don’t you love the expression on Kris’s face?  It’s something like “omg, I’m so close to Clara Parkes that I can touch her!”  Kris and I are both signed up for a class with Clara at Sock Summit later this summer.

The weather was perfect this year – mostly sunny, breezy, high around 70.  I also thought it wasn’t nearly as crowded as last year, when it was so much hotter. This photo was taken about 10;45 am outside the t-shirt barn – this is the main thoroughfare that leads to the biggest food stands.  See?  There was room to walk!IMG_8901We stopped for our first snack break about 11:00 and met up with Julie and her sister Allison, who always comes down from Brooklyn for the Fest.  Everyone shows off some stuff they’ve already acquired. From left: Julie, Allison, Kris:IMG_8902 And here are Jess and Judy. Yarn and funnel cake: the perfect combination!IMG_8903

Julie made an interesting purchase.  She spied a hard-to-find book on display and asked if she could buy it.  The exhibitor said “but this is an archaeology book, and it’s in Spanish,” and Julie of course replied “that’s okay – I’m an archaeologist and my field work is in Honduras.”  She was tickled to get the book.

In the afternoon, the crowds intensified – you can see here the swell of people headed toward the food area (we’re returning from the corral area):IMG_8904The animals were as charming as ever – here are some alpaca: IMG_8905 I saw a 6-day-old Clun Forest lamb being bottle fed in the Breed Display barn.  It’s always a good idea to take a turn through the barns when the yarn booths get to be too intense.

Here is an interesting way to weave that I hadn’t seen before:IMG_8915 This woman sported some new earrings with mini-skeins on them:IMG_8916 We also met our buddy Dave who had come up from DC with his friend Jordan – they are both Gettysburg alumni so it was fun to chat a while.  Dave just finished his master’s in education and rewarded himself by coming to the Festival!

So what did I come home with?  I’ll flash.

First, even though I said I wasn’t really in the market for more fiber because I haven’t spun enough of what I bought last year, the first thing I bought was fiber.  I got 8 oz of this 75/25 BFL/tussah silk roving in a gorgeous teal color:IMG_8919 From the same vendor (Bullen’s Wullens in Ohio) I also got 4 oz of this 50/25/25 merino/bamboo/silk blend:IMG_8921 The roving above is more green than grey, but the stone on which I photographed it really emphasized the grey parts.  I got that because I’ve never spun bamboo and these hand-dyed rovings really appealed to me.

Next up, I got this wee 25 g skein of Yakaboo (200 yards, 40/40/20 yak/merino/bamboo).  It is a 2-ply yarn that’s definitely thinner than fingering so I suppose it’s laceweight, but it seems a little thick for true lace.IMG_8920It’s from Still River Mill in Connecticut, which did a great job of displaying knit samples of every unique yarn in their booth.  I got a free pattern for some fingerless gloves that can be made from this one little skein. The pattern isn’t in Ravelry so now I wish I had taken a photo at the booth, but you’ll see the finished product when I knit it!  This naturally colored yarn is sooooooooo soft.

I made my final yarn purchases at the Brooks Farm booth.  I have drooled over their yarn for years but never bought any, mostly because they don’t make a really good sock yarn and I guess I’ve been pretty obsessed with socks for many years now.  But this year I got yarn for two projects here. 

This is Solo silk, a singles yarn that is 50/50 fine wool and silk.  I got one skein (400 yards, 4 oz) in this gorgeous periwinkle color to make another Cedar Leaf Shawlette for my colleague Karen, who is retiring at the end of this month.IMG_8917We had a little consultation about retirement knitting last week and she suggested this pattern (which I’ve worn a few times) in a different color.  I made her some Fetching mitts years ago and she said “this is just about the most perfect color in the world.”  So I took a sample with me (how can you argue with a color description like that?) and it matches this yarn beautifully.  I went ahead and wound up this yarn on Saturday night and cast on for another Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  It’s lovely.

I ended up buying the same Solo yarn in a different colorway for my mom’s Pamuya shawl:IMG_8918

It contains blue, purple, and green – should be pretty.

The only other thing I picked up was a copy of Interweave’s new Knit & Spin magazine.  And some kettle corn.  And an ice cream cone.

I had such a wonderful time – thanks, ladies!


  1. I've described this year's MDSW to others using words like "spectacular," "exceptional," and "fabulous"! Great weather, great wool, great doesn't get any better than that. And can I tell you how much I LOVE that picture of Allison and me?!?

  2. I'm so freakin' jealous. It looks like the weather was gorgeous and you all had so much fun. And Dave was there. And you saw baby sheep. And you ate funnel cake.

    And you bought gray yarn. Bless you.