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


Dear Heart,

It's great to visit these East coast fibre-fests vicariously, with you! I am now really keen to get to my first such fest -- the Olds Fibre Festival at the end of June. It's been going for years, but I haven't! This year is IT.

Thanks for the inspiration!


By Anonymous Marg in Mirror, at 11:44 AM  

Sounds like you had a great time, too!! I was soaked to the skin after going back on Sunday but didn't care a bit. I also bought a Trindle - a real whirling dervish! Great pictures of the sheep!!

By Anonymous Robin, at 9:13 AM  

Yarn. Food. Aaarrrghhh! This post drove me crazy! ;-) The spindle is very interesting!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:53 PM  

Thanks for stopping by to see us at the Sheep and Wool Festival!

We used to carry Holly Honey, but it is hard to find. Holly is related to gallberry, though. You may pay a premium price these days for Gallberry Honey - I think Martha Stewart mentioned it a few years back, and it has fetched a premium ever since - but it is easier to find. But Radish Honey is a good substitute.

Lori Titus
The Bee Folks

By Blogger The Bee Folks - Lori Titus, at 4:47 PM  

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009  

MS&W 2009 PART 2

Long and picture laden

We spent all of Saturday at the fair, from 9 to 6, and each of us found the one or two serious treasures we wanted to get. Lunch was fair food – grilled hot meaty stuff and though we thought a lot about soft ice cream and funnel cakes, the promise of a Thai dinner with A after the fair was enough to keep us from snacking. I got a good visit with Barbara Gentry at Stony Mt. Fibers. That's one thing I love about her – that even in the crush and madness of a festival like this she takes the time to chat a bit. I really want to make a road trip up there this summer .... maybe arranging a gathering with JCN and the rest of the Charlottesville gang. C found the perfect summer weight yarn to make things she can wear in the land of Disneyesque perpetual sunshine. K found inspiration and opportunity to spend in all the booths with unusual fibers – Gotland, karakul, Wensleydale, Blueface Leicester. We also made sure to wander through the sheep pens, where we met these darlings.

Meet Rico The Flirt

We watched some of the sheep judging. Unfortunately, the PA system in the judging building echoed and crackled so that I could never tell who won anything, but watching the contestants was fun enough. There were the youthful

and the fashionable

and the intense

and the experienced, all with their darling fleecy animals, waiting their turns in the ring.

We also took in the sheepdog demonstration. I'm a sucker for a dog anyway, but watching the devotion and concentrated efforts of those beautiful little dogs as they maneuver the sheep while staying attuned to their trainers is one of my favorite things at the fair. There is also a tiny thread of fright woven through the experience, since that crouched position of the dogs still carries with it a primeval impulse of the hunter.

On the way down to the demonstration ring we passed a boy twirling the most fascinating spindle I've ever seen. It's not a fair if I don't come home with a new spindle, for I like to collect them. The beautiful wooden ones are always a delight, and I have some interesting ones made of stone and even one of glass. But this one had to come home with me!

“Building 5, at the far end, on the left. Just inside the door.” he told me. The booth was Gale's Art, owner Gale Evans but the spindles were made by Jeremy Armstrong. He calls them Trindles and you can have a look at more of them by visiting his etsy shop. I dashed into building 5 and made a quick decision and purchase before the demonstration started. I am in love! Doesn't it look like a space station when it's in motion?

Here's a shot of the crowd, late in the day on Saturday, while we were resisting the Ice Cream Urge.

Our last serious stop of the day was a stroll through the skein and garment competition. I particularly liked this "basket" of handsupn yarn with an explanation of how the yarn will be used. I particularly liked how the artist drew herself in the proposed sweater and added the pattern swatch.

While the knitting certainly was beautiful this year, the most impressive part of the show was the felting. Silk felted garments

felted animals,

felted hats (my favorite)

and this fabulous felted tower

with its very own Rapunzel.

The judges critiqued everything very fully and they had a technical criticism about the felting which is why it didn't get a bigger prize, but I suspect had their been a People's Choice award, this piece would have taken it.

At 6 we moved out into the parking lot, now empty enough to make it easy to find the car. We met up with A at a park'n'ride on just north of the I70 and she drove us to the wonderful Thai restaurant she took me to 3 years ago. We had the cutest waiter who gave us good advice on restaurant specialties. K knew her way around a Thai menu and ordered the papaya salad – oh my goodness – it was the best thing I ever tasted! Yummy food, warm room, sitting still – we caught up, but by the end of the meal we were all just sort of sinking into the stupor of fair fatigue. A had furbabies at home that needed attention so we parted in the parking lot, reluctantly, and headed back to our hotel.

Of course, there was more cheese and chocolate waiting for us (we'd skipped desert) so that necessitated a stop at the nearby wine shop where we found something for us and a surprise for BD!

We had it last night, btw, and it was delicious! A merlot type wine, hefty and strong and absolutely wonderful. I wish I had bought more, but I found their website – and it looks like they ship to retail customers!

The next morning, all the promise of that grey sky was fulfilled with falling weather. We were tired, we'd already bought the things we wanted most, and, in spite of our lavish dining the night before, were ready to sit down to a hot breakfast. We had a roomy suite and could have settled in on couches with our knitting and spinning. So – what does a perfectly satisfied fiberista do on the second day of the MS&W weekend? Well, we did too. Back at the fairgrounds, in serious rain, now, we were surprised at just how full the parking lot already was. In rain gear and grubby clothes we sloshed around, making second stops at favorite places, slinking past the American Heirloom booth, sighing longingly, but making sure we stayed on the far side of the aisle – to resist the gravitational pull of those silky plush wool carpets.

I added to my fair loot.

Felting toys

Bird Buttons!

The one discount item I found .... end runs of Cherry Tree Hill sockyarn.

We made sure we got by the Spirit Trail booth again, for some spending

and goodbye hugs. Our last stop was at the curly potato chips covered in cheese and sour cream booth. I've wondered about those things for years – since they're always served at the fair. They don't hold up too well in the pouring rain and afterwards I wished I'd bought a gyro instead, but at least now I know what they taste like and probably won't be tempted again. We were tired and wet and sated. We found a table out of the rain and polished of most of our lunch while chatting with fiber gals from southern MD.

Our last stop was at The Bee Folks, where K and I had picked up such tasty honey last year. C had to get to the airport and she certainly didn't want to tote heavy jars of honey in her carry on luggage, so we parted at the entrance gate with final hugs. The cheerful girl at the honey booth told us about this year's new flavors – including Radish honey.

My silent and politely hidden response was “Yuck. Who would want to eat radish flavored honey?” Of course, I know that honey doesn't taste like the fruit of the plant the bees pollinate. It tastes like the blossom – which can be dramatically different. And I wasn't going to Not Sample it, just because it sounded strange. Whew! Am I glad I did. Radish is the most delicate and fascinating and light and desert like honey I have ever tasted. Holly honey has always been my favorite honey, but I didn't even ask if she had any holly honey. I just plunked my money down and bought me a jar of that wonderful nectar. It's a small jar. I will not be sharing it with anybody. This treat is MINE!

And then it was over. Cold, damp, tired, broke and utterly satisfied, we got back in K's car and headed home. There was a surprising amount of traffic on 301 on such a rainy Sunday but with friendly chatter and some companionable silence, we covered the miles back to our own precious Virginia and the waiting arms of our loved ones.

Each MS&W is different and each one has its own charms, but right now I can honestly say, this one was my favorite.

posted by Bess | 7:24 AM