25 May 2014

And What Have I Been Doing? part 2

Yarn Graffiti courtesy of Central Maryland Knitting Guild
From Unwind I headed north to visit my husband at his Maryland man cave. This was a brief intermission, as I taught at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Thursday evening was the teacher banquet. I already knew Beth Brown-Reinsel would be there, and it is always a delight to see her. But I didn't realize also in attendance would be Maggie Casey, Sarah Anderson, and Deborah Robson. It was all I could do to pull myself together and behave like a professional knitting teacher and not like a fan girl. (By the way, Sarah showed off an amazing piece of fabric she wove that had the stretch and elasticity of knitting or even spandex. And someone had a fleece that was black at the cut end and white at the tips. The animal had changed color completely in one year!)

I thought I knew a little about what to expect from Maryland Sheep and Wool. After all, I've been to Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair a few times. I knew MDS&W was about 10 times bigger -- 50,000 to 100,000 in attendance instead of 5,000 to 10,000. I had no idea.

First off, everybody is there. Everybody. A sampling:
The Mannings. Susan's Fiber Shop. The Spanish Peacock. Signature Needle Arts. Wild Fibers Magazine. Yarn Barn of Kansas. Woolee Winder. Cooperative Press. Green Mountain Spinnery. Miss Babs. Carolina Homespun. Cherry Tree Hill. Gale's Art. Bosworth Spindles.

You get the idea. The shopping is phenomenal. Of course, I was busy teaching five classes. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it kept me from spending the tax refund.

In addition to the vendors, there is an enormous amount to do. You could take classes. (This will staunch the cash bleed for three hours.) Or watch the sheepdog demonstrations. Or watch the fiber art demonstrations. (Want to see someone spin directly from the rabbit?) Or check out the skein and garment competition. Or attend the auction. (There's that financial drain again. But if you can get a table loom for $50, how can you resist such a deal!?) Or observe the live animals. Or touch and purchase a fleece. Or watch a sheering demonstration. Or attend the spin in. Or listen to live music. Or try the lamb kebobs with a side of French artichoke.

Again, you get the idea.

I did have one fiber objective -- acquire long locks to tailspin for an upcoming knit, swirl jacket. I was able to find a little time to scurry around the festival. Rivendell Farm from Lancaster, Pennsylvania had a few bags of 7-inch Leicester longwool longs. I purchased two 1-ounce bags for a whopping $6 + tax.
Long locks that stretch to seven inches.
The teaching experience was great. The festival put all the teachers up in their own rooms at Turf Valley resort. My room had a lovely view of the golf course. This also meant my husband was able to come up and join me on Saturday evening. And my classes were mostly populated with clever, resourceful knitters. The whole weekend was a delight. As the festival is only an hour's drive from my mother's house, I foresee a future in which I mysteriously need to be in the Mid-Atlantic states each year for Beltane.

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