Monday, July 24, 2017

A Late Review of Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Sheep!
I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time this year. It was drizzly and cold (even
though it was in May!) and muddy, giving me new appreciation for my friend who dubbed it the Maryland Sheep and S*** Festival. It's really neat to walk around and see the sheep and shop the vendors and food stalls. It's also kind of interesting to be a man at what has been turned into a yarn festival. I'll get back to that.

You can still see the vestiges of its origins as a sheep fair. There are quite a few vendors of sheep-keeping (shepherding? sheep husbandry?) accoutrements like fences and feed and other stuff like that.Y'know, manly stuff. There are lots of sheep contests and judging and sheep-based food products. I think you get the idea.

It's smelly. And muddy. Mostly smelly.

And there are lots and lots of other vendors of wool and wool products and wool-related products. Yarn, yarn and more yarn. Hand-dyed, hand painted, hand spun. Fancy yarns and home-ly yarns. And so. many. knitters.

To be a man at a yarn festival is to be ignored, pushed, interrupted, pitied, side-eyed, and sighed-at. But you do get used to it and it's a small thing to endure to be able to enjoy the yarn and the sheep and the new patterns (except for the brief moment I thought I found a pattern I wrote but rewritten with a new name but decided I was probably just being paranoid and anyone could write a plaid hat pattern) and tools. I spent a little (too much) money and made some new friends. I spoke with wonderful people to make and dye the yarn. I found yarn new to me that I love -- North Light Fibers -- and repurchased the same types of yarn I buy every time I see them at a yarn event -- Brooks Farm Yarn.

Would I go again? Maybe. Next year? I'll need a good reason. For better or worse, the internet makes yarn festivals less necessary to find and try new yarns and the quality of everyone's hand dyed yarns is just through the roof. If it's no good, it doesn't survive. Besides, I'm not such a fanboy of hand dyed yarns that I need need need it. I much prefer a good quality wool or wool blend.

The next yarn festival I'd like to go to is New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY but it's really far away and just a week before my favorite festival, Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, NC, which I haven't been able to go to in several years. Maybe North Carolina this year and New York next year. It's good to have goals.

And while I'm planning travel destinations, let's add North Light Fibers in Block Island, RI to the list.
A wall of North Light Fibers yarns!