Monday, May 05, 2003

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was all and more than I’d expected. All of my senses were tickled.

Departing at 6:00 a.m. and after a looong bus trip, the 30 odd Guild members debarked the Hound Dog bus at Noon on Saturday for 4 hours of shopping. S and I decided to stay together. After all, it was the first time for both of us and we were afraid we’d need a pal to say Enough!

As we walked up to the entrance there were the Knitters Review group with hellos and hugs. I’m sorry to say since we were so late arriving, we didn’t have much time to chat. So with promises to catch up in November, S and I were off.

Grabbing a program as we sped by the Welcome tent, we located the “big barn” on the map and headed that way. We made a few stops to admire yarn or roving and pet a lamb or two, but the barns were calling our names.

My first purchase was 140 yards of “Curry Leaf” a curry colored wool twisted with multicolored chenille from The Loom Room email:

As I walked back into the walkway of the barn I heard “Aunt Linda” shouted from across the room. There was my niece, K. She was there to sell her feeder lambs. It was a nice surprise, for even though we said we try and meet, we hadn’t made definite plans.

We were soon on our way, K having to go back to her sheep, and I spotted 800 yards of beautiful natural black merino wool from Greenwood Hill Farm. It’s more beautiful in the sunlight where the browns and reds really show nicely.

Our next stop to purchase was Shelridge Farm. Four hat patterns and a hat kit for me! Can’t wait to try their yarns and I’ve found additional patterns on their web site that I’ll be ordering. S fell in love with the “rainbow” sweater. It’s on her birthday wish list.

I took a small break from buying to just walk and absorb everything. Spinning wheels, needles, books, baskets, pins, roving, reds, blues, greens, and little antique pincushions.

That is until I found Keystone Cashmere email: and purchased a tiny baby bonnet kit and admired the basket weave scarf…on my to buy list.

Not two booths away, or was it the very next booth…Morehouse Farms pulled me in with “le Berat” kit in a yummy periwinkle and “3 in 1 lace scarf kit” in chocolate brown.

We followed the smell of coffee to the 4-H refreshment booth. With oat brownies and bottles of water in hand, we stood in the sun to catch our breath before tackling the rest of the vendors.

My last purchasing stop was at The Cooperage email for sari silk hanks. I thought it would make a nice “thank you” gift for my friend who watched Bailey for the day. She crochets lovely evening purses and I thought she would enjoy it. Of course had to get one for myself as well!

I waited at the door while S ran back to purchase cashmere scarf kits (one for her and one for her husband) and looked and listened. Drop spindle spinners lined up on a bench, families picnicking in the grass, little ones rolling down the hill, friends calling to one another to “come look” at a new find, lovers strolling hand in hand, husbands holding packages while their wives looked and wives holding packages while their husbands shopped, sheep bleating, farm smells.

Back up the hill we did a final run through of a barn we wanted to take one more peek in and then it was off to the outside vendors. We met “Dixie” and I coveted some of her coat spun in light airy finger weight peach color…but I left it for others to purchase.

We took our time admiring the competition entries. What beautiful work!

And it was back to the bus where we all admired each other’s purchases. Wool and kits and wool and jewelry and needles and jelly and patterns and baskets and wool and many “I didn’t see that!” and "What vendor?" and even a few knitters who purchased "already knitted sweater!" because they were "so cheap!"

After 3 traffic jams, an hour at Cracker Barrel for dinner (another first for me), stops in Williamsburg and Hampton to drop off members from other Guilds, we arrived back at our starting point about 11:00 p.m. Good-byes were said, see ya Monday at the Guild meeting were promised and the parking lot emptied.

Bailey was picked up, sari silk ooh’d at and it was home to bed.

I sat down Sunday evening to admire my purchases and make plans for the yarn. As I looked through the program one last time I came across the map…we missed Buildings 1, 2 and 3!

But it’s only 364 day to the Maryland Sheep and Wool 2004!

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