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Hot and Sheepy
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Hot and Sheepy

This was my fifth year at Maryland Sheep and Wool, so I feel a bit “seasoned” – even though there were some nice and welcome changes at the festival this year – more space for large Rollo the Goatvendors, recycle bins, extra lavatories.  It was nice to see the organizers improving on a good thing – making it even better for the future.  I initially planned to attend one day  only, but then I had the opportunity to go both days – and that was pretty great! There is always so much to see, but I felt that I covered a lot of ground and actually saw nearly every barn and vendor section this year – and I think this is the first year I can say that!

I got to meet up with some wonderful people – many of them for the first time, and re-unite with friends I have met in previous years. This year’s weather was extremely hot and shade was a very sought-out commodity. So, the meetings all happened under the shade trees, in the shaded pavillions, or standing in the cold drink lines!  One such meetup, near the lemonade stand, was the re-unite with Tania “Mikomiao”, a long-time Flickr contact.  We met briefly last year, but had the chance to snap a pic this time.  Tania was down from NYC for the day with several friends.   I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Kim and Heather as well as Heather’s daughters.  Heather’s daughter Pia also happens to be a huge Penguins hockey fan – so it was wonderful to meet her!

She’s even wearing her “Got Evgeni?” shirt! 

I also got to see several Ravelry friends, and many more Flickr friends too.  Funny how it takes a big festival like this to actually see the local people!  I got to talk to Mai and Emily (who both live in the area, but we never meet up, unfortunately) and Tina who was down from NYC.  And many thanks to several people who said hello and introduced themselves while standing in lines, walking down the aisles ~ it’s so much fun to meet everyone!

On Saturday, my mom and aunt and I melted in the heat, but still had a lovely day.  My aunt is visiting from Alabama after years of hearing me talk about the festival – she finally got to experience it herself.  She knits a lot, and like my mom is also interested in felting.  They both bought a bag-full of roving, and my aunt bought this adorable felted animal book.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Auntie's First Purchase
Auntie with her felt book – first purchase at MDSW! 

 Mom + Roving
Mom with her bag-full of roving on the scale 

I picked up Jenna from the airport – in from Seattle – and I think this is her fifth MDSW as well (four of them we have been together).  We enjoyed a fun night with Kris, Kelp Kelly and Allison at my favorite Indian restaurant… and although tiredness from all that heat (and sunburn) was hitting me square in the face, we also went to a pub for a few drinks.  I was such a lightweight and I nearly fell asleep at the table!  Nevertheless, it was great fun – and I only wish we had some photos to share!  (that happened last year too with no camera!)

Stashbusting has been forefront in my mind for several weeks, and while I did make some purchases at MDSW this year, I didn’t buy nearly as much as in previous years!  I tried to stick with unique fibers/designs that I haven’t seen in other places – as well as some very utilitarian non-yarn purchases…

Non-Yarn Acquisitions 

Non-yarn purchases:  Kookaburra Wool Wash, Size 10 55″ needles, buttons from Jennie the Potter, a *wooden ball winder*, and two knit patterns from Noni (felted jacket) and ShiBui (mohair pulli)

The wooden ballwinder has been on my list for three years – I always look at it at Stonemountain Fibers – but this year, I took action!  Now, it is mine!  I haven’t tried it yet… but as you can see below, I have some new yarn to try it with! 

My creation 

1. Farmhourse Yanrs Silk Spun Cotton, 2. Brooks Farm Acero, 3. Davidson Domy Heather – Sportweight, 4. ZWool Natural Dyed Wool, 5. Creatively Dyed Yarns Worsted, 6. Davidson Natural Bulky Wool, 7. Creatively Dyed Yarns Fingering, 8. Spun Monkey Handspun 

I didn’t realize until I got home that several of the yarns are in three distinct color families – neutrals, blues/greens, and golden browns.  I guess I am particularly drawn to these colors now!  I don’t have specific patterns in mind for many of them – but single skein projects are usually hats and scarves/cowls, so that is what these might become!  The Davidson Domy Heather in the periwinkle seems very well-suited for the Plain and Simple Pullover (Ravelry link) and may become that for a fall/winter layering piece.  The Creatively Dyed Yarns and the handspun were my splurges – I just fell in love with the color explosions!  The green CDY is  a fingering weight and seems very well-suited for some funky socks.  The worsted weight will probably be a hat.  The handspun will be a hat and cowl or mitt combo. 

For the second year in a row, we got to see all of Jennie’s lovely pottery pieces!  Last year, Jenna bought a mug, and I picked up a necklace and several buttons.  This year, I was thinking about a mug, but I held off.  She does have a particularly cute cookie jar that I had my eye on!  We met up with my friend Amy  and Little J at Jennie’s booth, and Amy got a mug and a little bowl – Jennie’s stuff is just too cute to pass up!  Here we are after the purchasing - hot, but happy!

Amy, J, and me! 

Vegan Cheats... 

Jenna and I enjoyed some downtime on Sunday afternoon over some potato ribbon chips.  MDSW is such a fun festival, but they are *severely* lacking any healthy eating options.  With the exception of drinks, this is the only food that I know of that a vegan can have at the festival – and that’s only after checking that is indeed fried in vegetable oil – and asking them to hold the cheese and sour cream.  Any vendor who offered some healthier fare would do so well there!  I do bring my own snacks – nuts, a fruit, etc. - but it’s another thing to carry in, and I would be happy to patronize a vendor that offered something other than meat-on-a-stick.   I don’t like to complain, because I know that MDSW is a big effort by lots of volunteers – and they remain admission-free to keep people coming in – but a local vendor/community group would do so well offering up something simple like sandwiches, wraps, or falafel.  I am wondering how a letter-writing campaign would go over… 

Nevertheless, MDSW remains a highlight of the year – both in seeing friendly faces and sweet animals, but also in taking the pulse of the fiber community.  Even with the down economy, it seemed like there were so many people out, enjoying the day, and buying lots of things.  It is always a pleasure to buy quality products from small businesses – with the proceeds going directly to them.  Even more of a pleasure to actually meet and converse with these vendors – and sometimes see the sheep/alpaca/bunnies/goats that the fiber came from! 




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25 Responses

  1. Amanda

    I totally agree with you about the healthy food issue at MDSW. I went this year for the first time (Didn’t see you around though!) and was very glad that I brought my own lunch. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, but I’m on Weight Watchers and I’m also trying to reduce my animal product intake. So I planned ahead and brought a sandwich…but I definitely would have patronized a healthier food vendor (and falafel sounds amazing!) Your yarn purchases are gorgeous though. I picked up some fingering weight Creatively Dyed for myself. That booth was just full of irresistible color!

  2. Kim

    My sis and I hung out at the Creatively Dyed Yarns booth at Stitches South last week. The yarns are so gorgeous. I resisted (I was only buying spinning fiber this year) but the sibling rival scored some lovely fingering weight.

    While I am a big fan of meat on a stick, it WOULD be nice to have other options.

  3. Janelle

    I totally agree with you about the food vending options. For the past 2 years, I’ve packed in my PB&J, apple slices, and carrot sticks (such an elementary school lunch but fortifying).

  4. Sung-Ji

    Ah, thanks for this post! It’s the next best thing to going in person.

  5. Amy

    Oh, it looks like so much fun! Unhealthy food and all. Hopefully next year I can make it!

  6. Stacey

    I had no idea there was an “Got Evgeni?” shirt. That’s funny :) And I am surprised that there aren’t more healthy food options there. Seems that knitting and wool and sheep and whatnot tend to appeal to those concerned with the environment and vegans and such. Hmmph. Perhaps you should start a booth, Lolly ;)

  7. Wendolene

    What fun! I love visiting all the festivals vicariously through other bloggers, but very new report makes me want to go in person!

  8. Brianna

    Our Sheep & Wool festival was only 2 weeks ago and it was so much fun! A definite improvement from years’ past.

  9. Josiane

    Judging by your smile on the pics, it was clearly a fun weekend! You’ve found lovely yarn – I’m drawn to those colours too. And I agree with you on the need for healthy (and vegan) food choices at such events – we can always pack a lunch, but it’s often useful to find something to complete it, if only because some things aren’t really practical to carry around, especially in that kind of heat.

  10. mimiknits2

    Oh, I am so with you on the food comments! I’m not vegan, but do try to make healthier choices than the fair food offered. I realize it is a sheep festival so lamb predominates (not my choice) and the years I’ve gone, I’ve packed the old PBJ but I would certainly buy something healthy if it were offered. Sorry I missed all the fun this year.

  11. Annette

    The next best thing to being there is reading about it! I hope to make a trip someday to experience it in person. For now I’ll live vicariously. I’m glad you had such a good time. :)

  12. nancy

    Great post! I always enjoy seeing what you are up to.

  13. Rachel

    One of these days I will actually make it to one of these. In the meantime I can live vicariously through your blog.

  14. LittleWit

    The spreading out of the vendors made it feel so much less crowded this year which was nice. So there were in fact extra toilets, I thought there were but I wasn’t sure if I had just missed the long rows of them before. :) Glad you had a good time despite the heat!

  15. mai

    lolly, i’m so glad i got a chance to see you! but so bummed we had to miss out on dinner and seeing jenna :( it looks like the two of you had a great time, though. we’ll have to find a time to get together again!

  16. Rebecca

    I always enjoy reading everyone’s account of this festival. Wish they had one of that magnitude in the Rocky Mountains! LOVE that last photo! It could be a notecard!

  17. Three-Speed Post « Thespunmonkey's Blog

    [...] just all been for shows and what-not with deadlines and so no time for photographing. I have seen pics around of some goodies that I neglected to photograph before sending to MDSW, which is awesome. My [...]

  18. rachel

    MDSW was so much fun! Looks like you scored some great yarn. I’m a huge fan of Farmhouse Yarns – so much texture.

  19. Kim

    What a fabulous surprise to meet you! Meeting flickr friends in person is one of the best parts of fiber festivals! Oh & I bought some Spun Monkey Handspun too!

  20. felinemagnet

    It was so funny how we managed to run into you both days without prearranging it! I was proud of myself for not buying any more sock yarn this year. This is Jessica’s third year coming – hopefully soon she’ll be more interested in the yarn than the snow cones!

  21. Faith

    I saw here on your blog that you’d be at the fest, and I did remember that from time to time throughout the two days, but the heat! Oh the heat. Driving everything from my brain but the pursuit of liquids. I thought that I might die from sun-stroke. It was well worth it though. This was my first fiber fest ever, and it certainly won’t be my last! :)

  22. Diane S

    Those Ribbon Chips look pretty amazing! I would think a local high school would jump at the fundraising opportunities at this event?? Your pictures, as always, are just amazing. What type of camera do you use. Thank you for sharing.

  23. nova

    I am sorry I missed you, Lolly! Aside from the unhealthy food options, it looks like you did well!

  24. Chandler

    One of these days I’m going to make it out there for MDSW! Sorry to hear about the lack of vegan/non-artery-clogging options. I hope that somebody reads about your idea, sets up a healthy snack booth, and gives you free goodies for life!

  25. Maggie

    As “just” a vegetarian, I too found it very hard to find anything remotely satisfying to eat. I actually asked one of the gyro stands if they had falafel, and the response was “falafel?”. Obviously, they did not.

    To heck with going for fun next year–I’m going to run a salad bar on site!

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