Ah Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s that festival we all love and hate at the same time. SO good to see friends, pet sheep, drool over fleeces.. but NEVER enough money to buy all the pretty, yarny, shiny things we want to fill our studios and stashes!! This year was no different…
This year was a little different, because my bestie and partner in all things MDSW wasn’t with me. Sadly Renee was stuck with “life” duties (hopefully she’ll still be out to play at Shepherd’s Harvest in a few weeks) but I was flying this fest solo. I got up to MD late Thurs night and settled into my little hotel room with a massive crabcake from GandM (if you’ve read my previous year’s blogs about MDSW.. you know it’s an EPIC crab fest..) This year, without Renee, I skipped my dear Price’s Seafood and just loaded up on the softball size crabcakes!
The next morning I headed out early to help load in at Susan’s Fiber Shop where I was going to spend the weekend. If you saw me.. you might have noticed I was dressed a bit spiffy for load in.. but that was because at 8am when I put on the jeans I had packed.. I realized (after a few minutes of looking at myself funny in the mirror and a few “jean stretches” that didn’t work) that I had accidentally packed my HUSBAND’S jeans rather than my own! So with a cute skirt and my tshirt I was ready for load in! I had a lovely corner of Susan’s booth filled with colorful batts, handspun art yarns and carding kits! It was extra fun because I got to hang out with Stephanie from LundabudKnits and Melissa from WildHare Fiber all weekend, as they were in the booth as well!
The festival was amazing! There were sheep and goats of all colors and sizes. They have HUGE personalities that becomes quite apparent when they open their mouths to speak! I always have a great time walking through the barns. This year I reserved a fleece on the hoof of a beautiful dark grey with black tips gotland yearling named Kiera. Later that day she won Best in Show Grand Champion of her class and I was able to bring the fleece HOME with me rather than having it shipped like originally thought! It was the score of the weekend! It’s one of those fleeces that I will have a really hard time sharing with other people. I will have to spin at least a few skeins to keep for my own stash of this one!
I did REALLY well at the fleece show. We got to the grounds early on Sat morning so I could be in the first group into the new location (must say I LOVE having the fleece show in its own building and the breed study they had put on the wall as you went it was great!) I was looking for a few specific fleeces that I have gotten the past couple years. Crazy, right? Going into that HUGE show looking for *something*. I’m excited to report that within the first 10 minutes I had found all 3 fleeces I was seeking.. washed and picked SUPER WHITE bfl/romney, a multi colored leicester longwool and a multi colored long wensleydale..
I also scored a beautiful black and grey rambouillet fleece that Heather put down, a couple nice wensleydales, an amazing brown bfl/bl with perfect curls, a soft border leicester… The fiber was FLOWING!! I also have to thank the “rental boyfriends” – the husband that guarded my pile of fleece while his wife and I were shopping, and helped me in line while he was waiting for his girlfriend and the kind gentleman that helped heather and I walk our fleeces back to the car. You were lifesavers and made this girl very happy!
I found 2 amazing dark wensleydales in the barn from the farm where one of my favorite fleeces from 2 years ago came from- “Rosie” that Renee and I reserved Sat morning before the fest opened. I also got a couple Icelandics from the Icelandic booth.. a couple small AMAZING bfl/teeswater lamb fleeces from a vendor in barn 4 where heather got the best bfl fleece I have ever seen.. and of course a bag of cormo with a 6+ inch staple from the paper bag lady and a beautiful covered corridale from Rupperts corridale. OH and some alpaca.. a HUGE score of colored alpaca and a beautiful curly suri fleece (I know.. CURLY suri?!)
I also got to see some friends though never enough time to actually have a conversation) and meet some new ones! I did a little shopping.. Mohair to replenish my stock of roving from Peavine Hollow Farm, I bought some maple syrup and maple creme from Justamere Farms, and some cone yarns from my NOLA SAORI friends and the main barn cone people..
I also won a few ribbons in the skein and garment competition. I’ve actually never won a blue ribbon for my art yarn before 🙂
I won the blue ribbon and best of in the Novelty Yarn
and a red ribbon for my second skein of art yarn- this is my “Sheep in the Meadow” yarn that works up so fun.
I also won a blue ribbon for the teeswater locks I spun in the grease then washed. It’s one of my favorite skeins
I entered my favorite weaving from when I was in Holland. I wove it on my Majacraft loom, so I was excited to bring that new element into the show. I was thrilled they loved it so much they gave it a blue ribbon as well.
I entered one of my new tapestries and one of my fiber necklaces and they both placed as well 🙂
It was a beautiful weekend. We even saw a double rainbow THREE times driving back to Arlene’s.
OH yes.. and the Spin Artiste Studio!! That might have been the best part of the weekend! There was nothing like working a long day at the festival knowing I was going back to my friends at one of the most amazing creative spaces that I have ever been. The Spin Artiste studio is a warm inviting place of creative indulgence. I can’t wait to get a workshop booked there! In the evenings we would sit and spin and visit in a the most relaxed way.. it was amazing.
Arlene’s wonderful husband also made all of us crochet hooks from beautiful wood he found and whittled. I think it’s one of my favorite things I came home with!
It was a great weekend!! It feels like it is going on forever when it’s happening, but then it’s over so fast. Soon it’s time to shove it all into the car, have one final crab cake dinner and head home.
I have some new friends at the Leicester Longwool Association.. and we may or may not be working on something epic for the Anniversary Celebration at MDSW 2015- and by may not, of course I mean watch for some really fun things coming!
Home for a week and then we’ll be at Shepherd’s Harvest in MN on the 15-16 and my epic teaching weekend at StevenBe’s the next weekend!
Shop will close when we’re in MN, and reopen with a big update when we return!!
Until then- Happy Sheep Faces!