Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2010

I lived at the Howard County Fairgrounds for 4 days, it seemed. I took 2 classes and loved them, then spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday there as well. I had a great time and learned a lot. Spent more than planned, too, but that always happens, and it didn't get out of control.

Thursday's class was plying with Maggie Casey. She is so easy going and yet gets the message across. I probably didn't endear my self with her by saying that I hated plying ..... I still dislike plying a 2 ply yarn but learned the correct way to ply a 3 ply yarn and find that much more interesting and also much more to my liking as a yarn style to knit with for things other than lace. I also learned (and liked) to ply cabled yarn. I'll be giving that a try, too.

I spent all day Friday with Judith McKenzie in a spinning class. She knows more about so many things than I will ever know! A person could learn just from sitting in her class with their eyes closed and listening. I didn't just listen, though. I spun 2 ply, 3 ply and a few novelty yarns, had my spinning technique tweaked a little and improved, and learned some things about wheels in general.

A Finn sheep joined us in class for a while, while Judith showed us a Finn fleece and different things to look for when buying a fleece.

One additional benefit from having attended those classes was that I was forced to finish plying (I had to clear the bobbins for class) the purple wool/silk yarn I've been working on for "a while". It's done. Plied. I have to skein and wash it, but it's plied. Finally! Now I can start to swatch!

I wanted to find stitch markers at S & W, and at first I thought I was not going home with any. There weren't a lot of choices other than what you can buy at any yarn store. Eventually I found beautiful markers made by Rajkovich Designs.

I've already put one package into use. You can see them on the photo of the shawlette that I started for Mom's BD gift. ; )

I found a spindle I liked and it came home with me. It's different - I usually go for the beautiful wood spindles and this one is not wood. It spins very nicely, though. I bought one a little heavier than I have been buying over the last few years on Saturday. I wanted a plying spindle this time. I went to the Golding booth on Sunday after watching others spin with and rave about their Golding spindles on Saturday night at the spinning gathering, but I didn't see any difference in my spinning with a Golding. I guess I am just a 'wine in the box' kinda spinner rather than a 'reserve vintage' spinner. LOL.
Isn't it cute?!

I bought some wool/tencel fiber in shades of blue and a lot of a denim-y color,

a braid of naturally dyed generic wool fiber and one skein of yarn.

The yarn was dyed in what I would consider fall colors and it has a little Angelina for some added sparkle. That didn't show up very well in these photos - you'll have to take my word for it. I think it will make a great fall scarf/shawlette for Mom. They are her colors for sure. I've already started to swatch/knit. (See the little blue bead on the stitch marker? I have a card of those, too)

Nancy gifted me with some beautifully dyed silk fiber for my birthday present while we were there. The colors are great, deep and soft, they remind me of moving water.
I hope I can do them justice with my spinning.

I made my usual festival gear purchases, also. I came home with another hoodie (I love hoodies) and a long sleeved T shirt, which should be great for boating. In the evenings, it gets cool and/or I need to protect myself from sun. Often a sweatshirt or jacket is too much. This will be just right. I bought a visor (the sun was already high and hot that day) and two sale T-shirts for $5 each. You can't beat that kind of deal!

I found a beautiful wood cutting board that I could not resist. I am not sure whether it will live here or become a gift for someone else, but I love the colors and grains in the different kinds of wood. It glows.

I ate lamb and ice cream (several times), finally got around to trying the ribbon fries (good but too much for one person) and drank lots of water. On Saturday, actually, several vendors were out of water by about 3:30 or so. It was so very hot and humid.

Since my bobbins were clear, I decided to do some spinning yesterday. I always take off the day after Sheep and Wool - I am tired and sore and just need a day to relax and rest. I settled on the Targhee fiber that I had purchased from yarnchef. It drafts and spins beautifully.
I separated the braid into 3 section (hopefully they are similar in weight) and started to spin for a 3 ply sport weight yarn. I'd like to knit a hat or some mittens with it, depending on yardage. The color changes are great. I hope I can preserve them with plying. I hope to spin for about 20 minutes each day.

I plied from my drop spindles on Sunday while at the fair. I had some camel fiber that I was spinning fairly fine and had both spindles pretty full. It's been a while since I plied from 2 spindles to another one, and since I had no Kate with me, there were a few snags, but it went well, all things considered. I attracted way more attention than I expected, plying at the Sheep and Wool Festival. Lots of people watched and commented. I thought that spinning would be a fairly common thing and no one would really notice, but that wasn't true. It was fun. I have only 2 ounces of this stuff and I hope I get enough yardage to make a small lace scarf with it.

I hope to get most of my garden in the ground this week. We are heading up to NY this coming weekend to visit Mom and I'd like the seeds and plants to be in the ground before we go. I also want to ride the bike, do my back exercises, spin for 20 minutes and knit for 30 minutes each day. That means that I have to get my b**t in gear when I get home from work, not sit on it and relax. Tough job.


I started this post on Tuesday but added the photos on Wednesday. Due to a headache, I got nothing accomplished yesterday but rode the bike and planted lots of things in the garden today! I am heading out to spin now and will probably skip the knitting for tonight since I am running out of time.

I have been knitting up the sock blank that I dyed two summers ago. Since the sock blank is knitted double stranded and I didn't want to wind one strand while knitting the other, I am knitting tow socks simultaneously, on DPNs. I cast on the weekend of our anniversary and this is my progress so far:

DH was out on the boat today. He had a great time but did not catch any fish. I hope to finish up the gardening tomorrow and ride again. We'll head up to NY on Sat. morning, early and come back on Monday afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing Mom and my brothers as well as the renovations that have been going on in Mom's house. I'd better start planning out my knitting project for the trip. I can't bring Mom's shawlette to knit on. She'd remember it and I want to surprise her.

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