For the first time in many, many years, I did not go to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on Saturday. The weather forecast predicted chilly temps (highs in the 50s) with 60% chance of rain on Saturday, so I decided to try Sunday instead. It was still chilly and windy today, but it only sprinkled a little bit – not enough to wish for an umbrella. This means I missed Dave (Gettysburg College ‘09), but I bumped into Anne (Gettysburg College ‘05 and fellow librarian):
In case you’re wondering, the reason “B” is for “purl” is that “B” meant “backstitch” which is the same as the purl stitch. (P was for knit, or “plain.”) Franklin was exactly like I expected him to be based on his writing – personable, knowledgeable, and funny. I loved that Julie, Alison, and I were able to catch this talk.
Another good thing about going on Sunday is that I was able to see a bit of the Sheep to Shawl contest. The team themes and costumes have evolved quite a bit since my last StS, when most participants were wearing old-timey clothing. This year, one team was The Blues Sisters:
But I know what you are all waiting for – what kind of stash enhancement did I achieve this year? I think I did pretty well. I really wanted to find some down breed fiber to spin to make more sock yarn (inspired by my Southdown socks earlier this year). I am going to embark on a historical knitting recreation this summer, and I didn’t think I would find appropriate sock yarn to buy – so why not just make what I need? I went shopping armed with a list of true Down and Down-like breeds. This confused most vendors who asked if they could help me find something. However, I did score at a couple of places. First, I got the last bump of Clun Forest roving at Solitude Wool. It is a happy, sunny yellow – which is fine with me!
I also got a 4 oz bump of Dorset roving at Solitude. They make a Dorset sock yarn, too, but it is very thick. They call it “hiking sock yarn” and I’ve worked with it before. It’s just not right for these special socks I’m going to be making.
But this is the big find for me – at Singleton Fiber Mill, they have a roving blend that is 90% Clun Forest, 5% Romney, and 5% Alpaca:
It is a little hard to see in this photo, but the roving has several colors in it (2 blues and a purple). That variation will give a dimensionality to the final yarn that I very much like. I got 5 oz of this to make sure I had enough. This was Singleton’s first year at MDSW, but I knew them a little from my 2015 trip to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival – that’s where I got the fiber from which I made the “greenbow” yarn. It was so beautifully prepared and easy to spin. I was thrilled to find a Down fiber in their booth this year.
I got one more bump of fiber to spin – this organic Polwarth from Middle Brook Fiberworks. It is such a dreamy light gray. I want to make a 3-ply yarn that matches (in size) the gradient yarn I spun from the Into the Whirled Falkland batt last year. I have my eye on the Pania of the Reef pattern to use both yarns.
That’s it for fiber. I had my eye out for some sportweight yarn that would be suitable for a baby sweater (machine-washable and soft) and in the favorite colors of the mother (blue and green). I really like what I found:
This will become a Baby Surprise Jacket for a baby who is due in August!
I made one final purchase with permission from home – a queen-size wool blanket. We have really enjoyed the wool blanket we brought home from Iceland, but it is not bed-sized. It’s really just a throw that is useful on the couch. I looked at these blankets last year and really liked them… this year I took the plunge. The wool is grown in Maryland; it is processed and woven in Canada. I love the cheery yellow color and think it will be perfect in the winter.