I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool a couple weekends ago! First and perhaps foremost, it was not 95 degrees Fahrenheit this year, a fact that makes for a ringing endorsement of the festival all on its own. Sunshine and low 70s: I prefer it. It was also, as expected, awesome.
I'd say in the comparison between MDSW and Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck mostly wins except MDSW has a few advantages:
* I love Ribbon Chips!
* It's free to get in.
* There's really cool live music. Lots of dulcimers and folk tap dancing. Rhinebeck has those panflute guys. I think this here flowchart summarizes my feelings on that:
Anyway, there were, of course, a lot of sheep. I'm most fond of the various Leicester breeds because their bare faces and legs, Roman noses, and bunny-like ears add up to near perfect ovine cuteness. Bluefaced Leicester is also probably my very favorite wool. Bonus!
This sheep was looking a little punk, or maybe emo?, with its stripey getup.
It would have been perfect with these emo bangs.
There was a relative paucity of non-sheep fiber animals, though I did get to say hello to some goats (WANT)
as well as this here alpaca.
Because I'm a total cheeseball and a 4-Her 4-lyfe, I really enjoy watching the various events at the fair. The sheepdog trials are a hoot, and I went to a new event this year, the Shepherds Lead Contest. The detailed description is here, but the short version is that it's like a fashion show with livestock. It was definitely my favorite part of the whole festival this year. I had a tough time getting photos of it, but here are a couple. These young ladies sewed their own woolen garments!
Both this girl and her sheep know how to WERQ it. FIERCE.
This Shetland lamb was pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen. And that purple halter on the lamb is made out of the girl's handspun!
Now what about my haul, you might be wondering? It was rather modest this year. I bought a center-pull bump of roving from Loop, that I adore, mostly because it reminds me of Falcor.
I bought a new drop spindle that same day so I could immediately start spinning it. It's a fascinating spindle--a bottom whorl with this interesting corkscrew top that replaces the usual hook or knob. It can also be used as a support spindle. I think I'll ply the single here with silk thread, and then do who knows what with it. I'm frankly baffled because I'm just not a pastel person, but I could never bear to give this yarn away, so maybe a pastel sparkly shawl/stole is in order nonetheless? My other option could be to chain ply it into a more substantial yarn. Decisions, decisions!
I also bought two skeins of sock yarn (yeah, because my sock yarn stash was really running on fumes...). One is naturally dyed from Dragon's Stash, and it blows my mind the saturation and variety of colors achieved in this skein. I think I'll make a slouchy hat with it. The other is a skein of mediumweight Socks that Rock, which is a yarn I simply adore. I sort of can't help myself when there's a whole booth full of it. This colorway is called mystic kelp, which is really just the best, and I've got eyes on the Rogue Roses pattern for it.
Now, no more yarn buying for me until Rhinebeck! (Vacation yarn doesn't count, right?)