Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Thank you for the virtual tour! And I wonder what yarn we'll spin with "our" pear-colored fiber?

By Blogger Jane, at 6:10 AM  

I thought about all of you reveling in fibery goodness this weekend. Thanks for the report. Someday again, I'll be there. A little look at my stash on a monthly basis should stop me from dreaming of other fibery wonderful things but it doesn't.

By Blogger erica, at 9:23 AM  

Hey, so great to see you at MD! And thanks for the photos ~ I, of course, forgot to get my camera out. Again. It was great to see some of the festival on your blog.

xxoo Jen

By Blogger Jennifer, at 1:16 PM  

Oh, what fun! I dream of someday going to a fiber festival - not that I need the yarn - just because it looks like such a good time.

By Anonymous diann, at 9:39 PM  

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Monday, May 05, 2008  


The sound of the perfectly satisfied festival goer when she finally gets that last bag of loot unloaded, the coffee perked, and her feet up on the couch. That was what you heard last night about 7:30, just before I gave BD the point by point review of my wonderful weekend at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

The first time I went, my Big Darling took me – because K had had to back out for a family reason. I've been able to go every year since then, but poor K had never been able to swing the trip till this year and let me tell you, the second most fun thing in the world to visiting MS&W for the first time is sharing it with a friend for her first time. Oh did we have a grand time.

We'd watched the weather forecasters anxiously the whole week as they backtracked from rain all weekend long to rain sometimes to cloudy days to some sunshine. By the time we were actually packing our suitcases we didn't know what to take and filled the car trunk with raincoats and rubber boots and sweaters and jackets and turtlenecks and tank tops and jeans .... and on Friday it was so durn hot I wore shorts. I have since decided though, that from this day forward I will take only pants and shorts with pockets that zip, button or close with Velcro for I did so this time and discovered that there is no freedom like being purse-free!

The drive up 301 to the La Quinta in Jessup MD was easy because on a work day before rush hour the only people driving do so for their work. They're people who aren't anxiously wanting to get home or get to some play destination and they drive politely, carefully and skillfully. They are professionals. We made good time, checked in and were delighted to find that outside our window was a little remnant of rural Maryland.

I could have been at home, except, of course, we haven't any rocks.

We had dinner at a chain restaurant – one of many along Rt. 175 – and then stayed up till nearly midnight, watching and commenting on What Not To Wear and making plans to turn each other in to Stacy and Clinton. Neither K nor I have television in our homes so these shows are always fun for us.

There were half a dozen obvious festivalees in the dining room on Saturday, a few might have been vendors, and while we were all friendly, I didn't get anybody's name – or worse yet – if I did, fiber thoughts soon pushed everything else out of my brain. I'd forgotten about the traffic thing, since I've been working at the Spirit Trail Booth for several years, and vendors have to get there an hour before the customers. We got caught in the slow stream of cars on their way to the fairgrounds. Happily, both K and I were too ready to be pleased to mind and we actually got there pretty close to 10 o'clock. Already things looked like this!

Our first stop was the Spirit Trail Booth for hugs all around.

The star studded booth included C from Knitters Review.

There wasn't time to chat much beyond hellos, for shoppers and spenders were already beginning to clog the booth and the aisles. Soon we were among the throng as we poked our way through all the different booths. I had the Goldings as my first serious stop because I wanted to introduce K to his marvelous spindles. I was a little confused though, because his booth was smaller this year- only one wheel on display and no looms. I'd heard last year that the fair was trying to get people to give up their double booths so more vendors could be invited, so I suppose this is what happened to the Golding booth. I almost missed him. It was K who spotted them first and we spent nearly an hour there trying every spindle.

The trouble with Golding spindles is that they are all wonderful. I fell in love with 4 of them – two minis and two 2-inch ones – but only one of them came home with me. Both K and I were undecided right up to the moment we got to the cash register, when the lure of those little mini spindles proved that it's not size that matters.

My new Golding just demanded I purchase her the perfect roving and fortunately, I found some right next door at Carolina Homespun. Buffalo Gals bison roving - proving once again that if you spin, you can go high end for half the price. That bison yarn runs $70 a skein but a bag of roving is only $20 and I can get the exact thickness I want if I spin it myself.

K and I picnicked at the car, then, while I joined the KR bunch gathered outside the main building she did some more exploring.

We did some more booth sleuthing, including a stop at The Yarn Barn of Kansas for serious DVD purchases for the library, then parted again while she went to look at animals and I went to hear Bill Mayhew tell stories. I had a little time before the program started and I wanted something fiberish to play with while I waited, so I stopped by the Cormo breeder's association booth where this jumped into my shopping bag. Can't you just see a fair isle hat in these colors?

We hooked up again to check out the skein and garment competition where I fell in love with these two fellows.

There was lots of strong,


good quality

lovely fiberwork in the competition this year, but other than the two felted items – I wasn't knocked off my feet, the way I have been in other years. Still and all it is always wonderful to see the work of other fiber artists. Also – this year's judge (s?) was very generous in her comments and compliments. Lots of thought went into the judging and you can get some good tips by reading their comments.

The day remained sunny, the temperature rose to the sticky point and when that happens, soft dipped ice cream is the only answer. Chocolate dipped in peanut butter. Yum! With treats in hand we poked about carefully in more booths, tempted, admiring, but we were about shopped for the day. A final stop at Spirit Trail to see how they were doing, a look in at the fleece table, an admiring view of the sock machine knitters

and we were ready to head back to the hotel. I offered the Ravelry party to K for the evening's entertainment but she was as ready as I to have dinner and crash in our room. I'm sorry to have missed any of the gatherings, but our motto for the weekend was always “only as much as gives you pleasure” and by golly – we had had all the pleasure we wanted. Showers and sleep were the only real temptations.

Dinner was another pleasant chain restaurant meal, well within our budgets and impressively satisfying. I dreamed all night of my pretty little Golding while I tossed and turned in my comfortable, but unfamiliar bed. I was glad when it was 6:30 and we could just get up and play with our new toys. Breakfast was jollier on Sunday morning. A bus load of attendees was sampling the waffle iron. Other tourists joined us and asked what the big draw was. K & I shared tales of the festival and I gave them my catalog – which is why I am having such a hard time remembering the names of all the booths we visited.

This time, minus the traffic, we parked right by the front gate; a splendid spot because we could dash back to the car with our purchases and travel lightly about the fair. I finally fulfilled my desire for one of those elegantly stitched hand made brooms. K succumbed as well and at Persimmon Tree Farm

I picked up two 4 oz batches of magical roving carded with glitter.

I am imagining deep steel grey bands between stripes of rich colors in fire red and night blues. At Peavine Hollow Farm I fell victim to the lure of a sweater's worth of these colors

while K made love to baby mohair goats. Peavine Hollow is in VA and sell at very few shows. They are, without a doubt, the best source for mohair locks – the cleanest, prettiest, most beautifully dyed locks of any vendor I've ever seen.

We were both smitten with the SCA folk and their card weaving.

We spent a long time at their booth, close to an hour I'm sure, and left with [Cheap-n-Sleazy Student] card weaving kits.

Not more than 30 feet away we both fell in love with the triangle looms. Weaving began singing siren songs to us, lightly on Saturday and a little louder on Sunday. Neither K nor I have houses (or time) that could hold real looms, but I remember once saying I'd never knit again ... I've learned to never say never.

M caught up with us outside the triangle loom booth, where I purchased their instructional DVD. A found us at lunch by the Bingo hall; a lunch of lamb sandwiches spread thickly with mint jelly. Perfectly delicious.

K wanted to watch the sheep dog demonstration – no strain for this dog gal – and I fell in love all over again with these darling canine partners.

And that's how the weekend went. Fiber ruled. I was wickedly tempted by many wonderful yarns, but I kept pulling out of the recesses of my memory, images of the many sweater quantities of yarn, languishing already in my house. A final tour of the main building, a firm resolve to not buy even that lovely sport weight wool selling for a song and a last stop at Spirit Trail to hug goodbye and pick up this unusual colored fiber,

and we were ready to get home.

It was a splendid show. It was all the fun I could hope for. It lived up to its reputation for K. It was just ... just wonderful. Glorious enough to last till next year.

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posted by Bess | 9:23 PM