Yes indeedy, as we look into our magic mirror, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is still the Greatest Of Them All. This was the 34th festival and it sure has grown up from the charming little event it was in the early 1980s when I started going to it. It has been the benchmark for other fiber festivals. Now there are so many festivals: Taos (NM), Rhinebeck (NY), and the wool festivals of Vermont, Michigan, and Massachusetts, to name but a few. Here is a very limited view of the promenade:
Note the threat of rain that hovers over the festival most years, which separates the rabid fiber fiends from the families on a weekend outing.
We live in magic times--so much at our disposal as fiber artists. What can be had at these events? Wool rovings, fleeces, dyes, baskets, spinning wheels and other tools, sheep cheese (a personal favorite of mine), lamb burgers, plus the usual wonderful fairground junk food, yarns, patterns, wool garments, sheep, sheepdogs, the handspun skein contest for spinners, the handmade wool garments, all the vendors, soap, herbs, the parade of sheep breeds, the sheep to shawl contest, whew! Even classes are offered by nationally known teachers. This year was no exception. However, with my stash of fiber exceeding my humble stash of yarn, I resisted the ever-popular Fleece Sale.
I attended with my sister, and dumped off some old spinning equipment that had been gathering dust for awhile. These were sold at the annual spinning and weaving equipment auction there. Now I have money to buy more yarn! Then I went straight to the sheep-cheese stall. MMMMM.
This is the cheese-man I go looking for every year. He is from Menhenett Farm in PA. Wicked good sheep cheese. If you search him out next year, PLEASE don't buy it all before I get there.
Sixteen members of the Houston Knitting Guild flew up as a group to see what all the fuss is about! It is certain that they had a fabulous time. Those knitters will have a fabulous time anywhere they go! I know this because I went down to Mexico with them to teach a workshop in 2005. They are a blast, and so was San Miguel de Allende
. You should check out Casa Luna
where we stayed: FAB-U-LOUS! But I digress. Here are three of my favorite knitters from the Houston group, Vicki, Margaret, and Beth.
They bought so much they had to dump their treasures at the car in order to go back to buy more. Sigh. So fun!
One of the main reasons I go to the Wool Festival is to see old friends. I always try to get over to see my dear friend Margaret Klein Wilson of Mostly Merino. What a trooper she is! She broke her foot a couple weeks ago and STILL managed to dye up a bunch of yarn, pack for the show, drive down from Vermont, set up for the show, and still smile! She's holding the sweater she made (Stone's Sweater) for Barbara Albright's book The Natural Knitter. I can't wait to go up to Vermont this September for our annual knitting retreat.
And I was lucky to catch Ron Schweitzer, one of my favorite designers, in the Yarns International
booth. With him is Bonnie the co-owner of YI along with Betty, who was helping a customer at the time.
Well, hopefully I have enticed you to consider attending the wool festival next year. People come from all over the country, including Canada. You can get on the mailing list to receive next year's catalog on their website
Enjoy your weekend!