Saturday, May 09, 2015

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

This spring has been so busy, with little time for knitting, and even less for blogging about it. But for the first time in 10 years, I was able to slip away for a few beautiful days and attend the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. It was the perfect long weekend.

I stayed with Sharon and Janelle and family. (See her excellent account of the day.) The day before the festival, Janelle graciously drove me around the Mason-Dixon Line southwest of Gettysburg, PA, looking for a place called as Shockey's Cave, the lair of a notorious counterfeiter in my ancestry.

We never did find it, but we did find a shop called The Knitting Cottage near Waynesboro, PA. The owners were very sweet and I ended up getting some Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball sock yarn (at bottom of picture below), which I've always wanted to try, plus a recent issue of Knitting Traditions dedicated to patterns based on exploration and adventure travel. Knitting and exploration and history? Yes, please.

The next day we got up bright and early to beat the crowds to the festival. Janelle is always so organized about these things. I was a bit overwhelmed and mostly just followed her around as she checked off her list of vendors to visit. But along the way, I found a few things. My superpower seems to be going into a shop or booth full of colorful yarn and coming out with the only gray skein in the place.

For example, at the Hobbledehoy booth I found a BFL superwash in a light gray (right) that was put up in a 250g skein -- perfect for extra long socks, or socks with elaborate cables. And at the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth I dithered and hemmed and hawed and finally committed to several skeins of Brigantia, a Polworth(85%)/Silk(15%) DK-weight yarn in a steely blue-gray with slight hints of a greenish-yellow that I'm thinking of using for one of the new Brooklyn Tweed men's designs (left). In between we got to eat kettle corn, see dozens of sheep breeds (and other fiber-bearing animals like rabbits and alpacas), see spinning demonstrations, and meet up with many of Janelle's local knitting friends.

Local knitting friends was what the next day was all about. Several of the Gettysburg knitters came over to Sharon & Janelle's house for knitting and chatting. A very talented bunch, to be sure. It was fun to compare notes on the day and just relax. It was good to meet all these women. I even got to drink "the pink stuff," their official group beverage.

So much more happened this weekend -- great meals, relaxing walks, student tumbling exhibitions, art shows, a family book group discussion, and a gamelan rehearsal and performance. I even got to try my hand at weaving on Janelle's Cricket loom and brought home the resulting coasters. But despite being so busy, I came back quite refreshed.

My thanks to Sharon, Janelle and family for a wonderful weekend. I won't wait 10 years for the next trip.