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Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011

I have to say that my maiden voyage to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was a success.  I had a great time and, as usual, took fewer photos than I would have liked.  Regardless, I think a small recap is in order.

My little group of knitting conspirators arrived at the festival at about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, half an hour after the festival opened its doors for the day.  We would have been there earlier had there not been insane traffic.  Anyway, my pace quickened and my excitement was palpable as we passed through the front gate and I saw the sea of tents:

Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011

The tents you see there were just a tiny part of the entirety of the festival.  I would have to say that it rivals the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in size, which really surprised me.  I was expecting something about the half the size of Rhinebeck, given that it is a free festival.  Turns out I was quite wrong.

The weather was gorgeous, partly sunny with a high in the low 70s.  I was very thankful for this since I heard the weather at last year’s festival was in the 90s…  The lovely chill in the air during Rhinebeck, however, still cannot be beat; the NYS Sheep and Wool festival weather presents such a great opportunity to show off handknits, which really is like heaven to most knitters that I know.  While I did see some folks trying to pull off the wearing of some handknits like shawls, tanks and cropped cardigans at Maryland, it was too hot in my opinion.  My kudos to those who were able to pull it off without keeling over of heat stroke…

Anywho, back to the recap.  Our small group headed straight towards the Main Exhibition Hall:

Heaven on Earth

Why?  Because this is where the Sanguine Gryphon booth was located!  When we got to the booth, there was already a line just to get inside and a huge line to check out.  While some of the group members gave up at that point, I persevered and waited in line for about 20 minutes to get into the booth, which was insanely crowded, and another 40 minutes or so in line to check out.  I was happy that I stuck it out though, as I was able to get some fabulous yarn (showcased a bit later in this post) and the opportunity to meet some other fiber enthusiasts while waiting in line.  The best part, though, was the ridiculous number of passersby who kept asking: “What is this line for?  Why is this booth so popular?  Are they giving stuff away?!”  Priceless.

After I was done at the Sanguine Gryphon booth, I wandered the rest of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Narrowly avoiding the allure of spinning wheels, looms and the fleece sale section, I was able to leave the hall having made only one other purchase from the Peace Weavers booth, whose sign was adorned by a row of adorable little socks:

little socks all in a row


On my own at this point, I began wandering aimlessly throughout the rest of the festival, eventually making my way back towards the main gate where the Cestari Ltd. booth was located.  Along the way, I passed several sheep that were being primped for judging.  These particular sheep stayed much more still than I expected, perhaps they enjoy being vacuumed?

"Make me beautiful!"

After this, I happened upon some members of my group at The Bee Folks booth.  We got to sample many, many tasty and somewhat unusual honeys such Killer Bee Honey, Bamboo Honey and Radish Honey.  I did not purchase any honey but I did pick up some wonderful Citrus Handcream.  While at the booth, I received a text from my friends, Adina and Steph, who were coming to the festival from Baltimore, to let me know they had arrived.

I headed back to the front gate to meet them and then we went in search of some lunch.  While there is no shortage of lamb to be had at the festival, of which Adina and Steph partook, I am not a fan of lamb.  So, I went in search of other nibblies and ended up at this vendor:


I had bratwurst with peppers, onions and mushrooms.  Delicious!  Well worth the insane wait time…

After lunching in the judging pavilion, checking out the next sheep breed being brought in for judging, Adina, Steph and I set out to explore the festival some more.  By this time, the festival was ultra crowded, much more so than I was expecting.  Every barn was packed to the brim, making movement painfully slow.  During our exploration, we came across the booth of The Fold, those perilous festival peddlers of Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarns.  I managed to somehow make my way into the booth and walked away with a skein of Socks That Rock Mediumweight, the colorway of which I fell in love with immediately.

Soon thereafter, my group decided to call it a day, heading out in the afternoon to avoid the mass exodus at the end of the day and to give ourselves some downtime to hang out and enjoy each others’ company before having to head home the next day.  All in all, it was a lovely time.  I really look forward to being able to go back again next year.  Perhaps then I’ll have my bearings a bit more and will not waste as much time as I did this year, running from one end of the festival to the other.  I may even get to sit and enjoy some of the musical entertainment they have at the festival.  Hey, I can dream…

Ok, ok.  I get it.  Enough with the story.  On to the yarn (click any photo to embiggen):

Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga: Oak Timberworm Sanguine Gryphon Little Traveller: Lazy Mountain, CA Sanguine Gryphon Codex: Brangion
Sanguine Gryphon Codex: Jedermann Peace Fleece Worsted: Shaba Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight: I Mad Heart Ewe
Cestari Traditional Wool 3 Ply DK Weight Yarn: Periwinkle Cestari Traditional Wool 3 Ply DK Weight Yarn: Light Gray, Medium Gray, Bark Cestari Traditional Wool 3 Ply DK Weight Yarn: Blackberry

Starting from the top left:

You’ll get to hear about my plans for some of this yarn in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned!