I FINALLY had the opportunity to attend The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend! I have been hoping to attend for years but because I lived “out west” it seemed there was always a reason I couldn’t get to it…I had to work (work always seems to get in the way of the more important stuff like knitting and spinning), the distance, etc..etc…but now that I live and hour or so away I firmly stated to anyone who would listen…”I don’t care if the President wants to come and visit me on May 5th and 6th…he will have to meet me at The Howard County Fairgrounds.” And attend I did…I was there both days from open to close and may I say IT WAS SPECTACULAR! It so completely exceeded any expectations I could have imagined. I have been to numerous arts and crafts shows, as well as state and county fairs over the years but this was the cream of the cream of the crop. I don’t know why I am so surprised though…in reading through the fair website before I went it does state that this festival is the premier festival of its kind in the world. For me it was the combination of all of the sheep and the many, many, many wool related vendors all in the same place. I recently purchased The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius and have been devouring the information on all of the breeds of sheep, goats, musk ox, bison and other furry creatures and it was such a treat to see some of the more rare breeds of sheep that I’ve been reading about. I also made some fun purchases. I’ve been wanting to try some different types of projects so I purchased a silk hankie (I really don’t know how to spin it yet but it will be fun researching and watching some you tube videos), some bamboo, wool and tencel roving which has beautiful pinks, blacks and greys (pictures to come), a flower kit with mohair and a boucle yarn, and some angora fiber from “Sharon” the angora bunny (who was at the show allowing her people mom to hold her and pluck some fiber for spinning demonstrations). I can’t wait to try out all this fun stuff and I will definitely be counting down the days until next years festival.
Tonight hubby and I were sitting in our now local Barnes and Noble cafe and there were 2 women sitting next to us who appeared to be knitting. I’m certain I was making them uncomfortable with my staring so I finally blurted out “it looked like you were knitting so I had to find out” (like I couldn’t have just politely asked them). Then someone else came over to the table and asked them about their projects and suddenly I heard the word ”alpaca.” Then I heard one of them ask “did you go to The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival?” When I heard no’s I immediately offered up “I did” (as if anyone was asking me). We then discovered the woman who had approached the table raised alpacas. Although we had only intended to stay at the bookstore for long enough to have coffee, of course now everything was out the window. We had an absolutely wonderful time chatting about her farm Nine Patch Alpacas, our farm, and everything other alpaca related subject you can imagine. Diane, the owner of the farm was so friendly and interesting to talk with and her daughter was a gem! We will definitely be planning a visit to their farm to chat again and get our alpaca fix!
WHEW! The Ivy Cap is finished and am I ever glad!! Even though it’s all one color and it’s knit in one piece I still found it to be one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever knitted. I learned a lot along the way so I’m glad I stuck it out. Trust me, there were a number of times when frogging it didn’t even come to mind. I wanted to just open the front door and chuck it out and hope someone would run over it!
Even though it’s midway through January, I want to comment that I did make some New Years Resolutions before the clock struck twelve on December 31st. Oh yes, there were plenty of things I could have put on the list such as the need to lose weight, learn a foreign language, become a movie star etc, but I decided I should get realistic about my resolutions so for once I could look back and feel that it was a really productive year in terms of my knitting, spinning and weaving. I drank a significant amount of espresso, then went through my stash and took pictures of all of my UFO’s which includes knitting projects, a couple of crochet projects and lots of roving to be spun. As I’ve been job hunting I have realized the need to make some significant progress on my lack of knowledge of Excel, so I decided to make a spreadsheet listing all of my projects to be completed. I’ve also got columns to update my progress as I go along and the estimated completion time. Hubby found it somewhat amusing because he has been after me to make up some spreadsheets so I can practice but I think what he had in mind was getting the bills organized, not my craft projects. (I have a system that works for the bills it’s just that he says he can’t figure it out!)
I’m thrilled that the first item I can put on my new spreadsheet is the Ivy Cap! Now that we’re living where there is a definite winter, hubby is thinking the original Watch Cap may still need to be on my list. It’s a pretty simple pattern (I think I may have said that about the Ivy Cap) but I still figure I can knit it up rather quickly and not disrupt my UFO flow.
Off to the first project on my list-the Colinette socks……..
I’ve actually been able to get some spinning done lately as well. I’ve been very happy with my progress into making thinner yarn. I like at least a 2 ply yarn so I’ll be anxious to see the result to see if I really can spin thinner. I bought this roving in Bozeman, MT at The Yarn Shop and Fiber Place while visiting my in-laws. I am always drawn to multi-colored roving (it’s that impressionist thing again I’m sure).
I’ve also been working some on what I call Moms Shawl. When my mom passed away 2 years ago my sister who knits and I went through her projects and split them up. My mom used to carry this around with her when she knew she would have extra time in a waiting room. As knitting usually does, people would always ask her what she was making and she always cracked me up because she would say “I’m making a shawl to wear whan I get old.” It took me awhile to figure out the pattern and where she left off. I’m not sure I started on the exact row but for me the point was and is that when I’m having a rough day it really helps to pull it out and work on it. I sit there knitting with it all bunched up in my lap and think about all the good times my mom and I had together.
This is the latest project to come off my wheel….luckily I have some roving waiting in the wings. BTW, I spin on an Ashford Traveller. It was my first wheel and well, actually, it’s the only wheel I have, but the point is-I love this wheel. It has been with me through thick and thin-and I don’t mean yarn! I do wish I had taken a picture of the roving before I started spinning but occasionally I duh out as I did here but at least I did think to take a picture of the singles. I was visiting my in laws in Montana and went to the LYS and was pleased to see bundles of roving here and there. I bought two 4 oz bundles from local farms that I figured would keep me occupied while we watched movies in the evening. I didn’t spin this with a specific project in mind but I do love the way it came out after I plied it. Have I mentioned how difficult it is to get good project pictures in an RV? Whoever designed the window blinds should be taken out and ….well, I’ll let you fill in the blank. Also, my dear neighbors have hung up some wind chimes on the side where our bedroom is. They are at least the length of a yard stick. I might consider something that large if I lived on say about 5 acres. It was windy last night. No wonder I have a headache today.