Sunday, May 4, 2008

MD Sheep and Wool: Saturday at the festival

This past weekend was the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I've known about it only for two years now, despite being a Marylander all my life, but because it tends to fall during the same weekend as Reality, this is the first time I've been able to go. Luckily for me, this year also had a very strong Ravelry presence, and we all know how much I LOVE Ravelry!
Cute sheep!

I didn't have any worries about getting there 'too late', since I didn't have a particular game plan. I knew I wanted to get a drop spindle and some fiber, and I wanted to try and get some yarn for one of the sweaters of vests I'm planning, but I didn't know anything about the specifics of any of these. Getting there 'late' (at 11:30am) meant I was parked at the opposite end of the massive parking field, but a spot's a spot!

I stopped by the Ravelry meetup and was informed by the lovely Ravelry helpers that Jess and Casey were running late. I was obviously there for Ravelry, because I was wearing my nifty little 'hello my name is' button that I'd purchased way back when they did their beta shirt sales. Since I knew I was going to go to the party that night, and since I'm not one of the more 'popular' forum posters, there wasn't anyone who I'd been dying to meet other than Jess and Casey, so I decided I'd come back later.

As I was walking around I was stopped by a number of people asking me where I got my Ravelry button or where the meetup was, and I felt special being able to help them out. I like being 'in the know,'

My first purchase was at the first stall I really looked at, the Hunt Country Yarns stall. I saw their knitted up sample of the Jojoland Swirl Shawl, and I decided I had to own the pattern. I bought the pattern ($5.30) with the plan to return later if I wanted to get the yarn that was recommended. The woman I spoke to at the stall was very nice; she told me they were offering the pattern free with purchase of the yarn, so if I ended up coming back to get the yarn, I should tell her and she'd take the pattern purchase price off the yarn price. I also liked her because as I was walking up, she was explaining how awesome Ravelry was to one of the customers. I love anyone who loves Ravelry!

My second stop was the Journey Wheel booth in the main exhibition stall. Purchasing a spindle was my main goal of the day, and thanks to Diane2knit who had started a thread about purchasing ones first spindle at the festival, I knew just where I wanted to go first. The two most recommended spindle types were the Goldings and the Bosworths, and having looked at both of them online, I thought I'd want to start with a Bosworth. My decision was made when ShielaSpins offered a quick spinning lesson for those who stopped by her booth and asked. As for why a Bosworth over a Golding, for now? The Goldings are beautiful, but they feel more modern and fancy to me. Part of the appeal in spinning, especially on a drop spindle, is that it's a connecting with the past and experiencing an additional step in the fiber process. The Bosworths simply looked like how I wanted my first spindle to look.

When I showed up at Journey Wheel's booth, coincidentally, I was there at the same time as Diane2knit who had started the thread that made up my mind! There was another Raveler there at the same time as us, but I didn't catch her name. She mentioned she mostly did the 'park and draft' style of spinning, but I forgot her Ravelry handle. Sheila gave all three of us a quick walkthrough on how she'd recommend we choose our spindles and how to do the actual spinning. I ended up selecting a beautiful Paduak spindle in the Midi range, 25gm /.88 oz. There was another spindle I was thinking about that was a little heavier, which would probably have been good since I'm still a beginner, but my spindle called my name. The wood was singing to me - she glows!

Drop spindle in hand, I went to get some fiber. Sheila so kindly had a handout of some of the fiber places that she recommended, and she'd even starred places she knew were at the festival! The first fiber I got was at Misty Mountain Fiber. I saw one bunch of merino top that was in my favorite color mixture. It was labeled as 100% merino top, 4oz, $8.95. It's a beautiful blue purple green yellow mix that was carded together.
Yarn to be
At the same stall, I bought a bunch of Colonial Wool Top, 4oz for $6.88. This looks more 'natural' colored, but there are beautiful flecks of brown and blue throughout the gray haze. Very beautiful.
Yarn to be

My next purchase, also fiber (as opposed to yarn) was from Spinner's Hill. I picked a wool from their wall and told them I wanted 4oz. They claim the huge bag they gave me was only 4oz, but I suspect I got the better end of the deal. =] The fiber is wool from Corriedale Finn Rambouillet Cross Sheep in a beautiful teal with magenta stripes. It is labeled as hand dyed and carded into Batts on their farm. I didn't get a receipt for that purchase, but it was $2.13 per oz, so I have to assume I paid around $9.
Yarn to be

Next up was the Interweave Knits booth. I decided it was high time for me to subscribe, so subscribe I did. They had a deal where you could get one free issue of the magazine they had lying around, so I got the Spring 08. I'd been regretting not having bought that once it vanished from my local bookstore, so I'm glad I caught it. Also as a 'thank you gift', I got a pair of mini travel scissors, that the nice person at the booth (whose name, I believe, was stefanie) told me was airplane safe. Even better!

Around here, I decided it was time to find my way back to Hunt County Yarns to pick up the Melody yarn for the shawl. I got 5 skeins @ 8.50 each, but I was refunded the cost of the pattern. I later ended up seeing Melody for $6 a ball somewhere else, but it was thanks to Hunt County Yarn's knitted sample of the shawl I knew I had to buy the pattern/yarn in the first place. I was excited to learn, after I'd already decided I'd buy it, that melody was a superwash yarn.
Swirl Shawl 'kit'

Then came my final fiber purchase of Saturday. I went to the Stormy Mountain Fibers stall and got about 3oz of their 'loose' wool in a nice green color (moss, I believe), and a 3.9oz braid of Colonial Wool Top in Northern Lights for $6.44. Northern lights is a beautiful mix of brown, dark blue, and a little bit a of green. Very vibrant, but very fun.
Yarn to be
The green was what I started spinning with the second I got home, so I only have a picture of that on my spindle.
My first yarn

By this time, I was hungry! I got a lamb gyro at a booth, and a 'snack pack' size of the cinnamon almonds. Very tasty!

Finally, my final yarn purchase. I went to the Woolstock Knits booth and sorted through their sale bin. Everything in the bin was %50 off! I've looked at the bin at their store before but never found anything.(They're one of my favorite local yarn stores, and people there have only ever been completely awesome to me, even back before I had any clue what I was doing.) I found a few different bags of Rowan Summer Tweed, a yarn I'd previously drooled over, and ended up getting a bag of a bunch of skeins of light green. Though it's not a perfect fiber match, I'm thinking of trying to knit the gathered neck pullover in this. Of course, to do this, I have to find my blasted copy of the magazine! I don't want to buy an additional PDF pattern when I know I have the magazine lying around! For those, I paid $5.98 per skein. $5.98! Down from $11.25!
Rowan Summer Tweed

My budget more than depleted, and my two goals achieved, I decided it was almost time to call it a day. On my way out, I stopped by the Landleth Seeds plant booth which had organic heirloom and vintage plants, and I got my mom some seedlings. Then it was a root beer (or, a sasparilla sharp shooter, to be exact) and off to find my car.

Next post, you'll get my writeup of the awesome awesome Ravelry party, and my writeup of Sunday at the festival with my mom.

No comments: