Wednesday, 11 May 2016

My First Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Jen1 and I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend. We drove as far as Harrisburg/Hershey PA on Thursday. On Friday we visited 4 yarn shops and 1 stitchery shop on the last 90km before our ultimate destination, our hotel on the outskirts of Baltimore MD.

We left our hotel early on Saturday morning in order to get a parking spot fairly close to the main gate. It had poured rain the day before. 

There was even a Sheep and Wool shuttle bus but I'm not sure what its route was.
Many of the vendors who had their booths outside under tents had water literally running through their booths while setting up the day before. Things dried up a bit overnight but any place we had to walk that wasn't paved was pretty muddy and squishy. A lot of the vendors under the tents put straw or mats on the floor of their booths. Thank goodness I took closed leather shoes instead of just running shoes.
Jen poses with the program

These angora goat ewes were for sale - $375 each.

One of the first things I did was head over to the building where the hand crafted items were on display after judging.

A felted scarf.
These were first place gloves. They were a very small gauge and expertly knit.
Handspun fingerless mitts.
This headband caught my eye because of the Latvian braid on the top and bottom edges. I have actually knit this pattern myself.
I liked the colours in this woven scarf.
This prize winning handspun was exquisite. 
I recognized this Kate Davies pattern which had been knit with handspun.
I believe this scarf was also woven with handspun.
This lacy triangle was a 'doll shawl'. I took the photo with my hand in it for a size comparison. It was knit on US 0000 needles with about 15 stitches per inch. It looked very antique-y, probably due to the natural-coloured handspun. The one comment I read from one of the judges was that they were 'speechless'.
The judge thought these second place Sandquar mittens were not knit with tight enough gauge and the floats were too long. Picky, picky.
The felted handbag was very cute.
I think this was a hooked rug on a footstool.
The Dianna shawl in a tonal red yarn also caught my eye. I've knit it several times with multi-coloured yarn but looked very nice with the tonal yarn. And it was handspun!
This was knit with a gradient yarn. The pattern looks familiar but I can't place it.
The Haruni shawl was knit with Fiber Optic gradient yarn.
Handspun was also in the competition. I loved the colours in this skein.
There was also prize-winning artwork on display. I particularly loved this bucolic scene by a 10 year-old artist.
One young fellow was distraught that his artwork didn't win the colour ribbon that he wanted. I'm not sure which one was his piece but all the ones I saw on display were excellent.

This was the Grand Prize winning woven blanket with 100% wool.
I had been advised to go early if I wanted to partake in the fair food. I'd heard a lot about deep-fried artichokes so tried two kinds. They were delicious with the garlicky mayo.
In another building fleeces were on sale. The prize winning ones were on display in preparation for the auction.
The Bosworth spindle booth was well lit and well-stocked, ready for lots of sales.
This Loopdiloo cowl was two-sided. One side was a lace pattern and the other side was bias-knit stocking stitch with a coordinating yarn.
As at Rhinebeck, this was the lineup to pay at the Miss Babs booth. 
The Pothos shawl had a very nice leafy spine. 
Wendy Jensen teaches her basketmaking at all the big shows. Her booth was very attractive.
I bought a couple of Knitters' Pride Karbonz circular needles, Polwarth/nylon roving to make some socks, and a spare drive band for my Ashford Joy wheel. 
I couldn't resist this 15 mini-skein set of gradient yarn from Fiber Optic Yarns.

Here's a slightly better shot of the Fleece Artist Kidazzle sock  yarn.
I didn't buy that much as I had taken a good look at my stash before out trip. 

After the day, we piled into the car and drove about 3 hours towards home so our last day of driving wouldn't be so long. On Sunday, we stopped into Jen's folks for a lovely lunch and finished the rest of our drive, arriving home at about 4:30.

Jen and I concluded that we enjoy the whole experience - the driving through beautiful countryside and the Allegheny Mountains; staying in comfortable, clean motels; eating at new restaurants; being among 'our people' and seeing every aspect of the sheep and wool industry; and seeing so many beautiful things.


  1. Great photos, thanks for sharing. The gradient shawl kind of looks like Terra by Jared Flood.

  2. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Next time I'm in. 😃