Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Maryland, Oh Maryland!

This past weekend was the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - an annual event (#44) eagerly anticipated by fiber people from the four corners of the world.  The degree of organization and array of events and displays can't be exaggerated.  It's an amazing event in scope and execution and it seems to be accomplished with big smiles on every volunteer.

For the second year in a row I arrived in a downpour.  And it was c-c-cold!  Wear-your-winter-coat cold, which was disconcerting as Maryland has been a reliable preview of summer, but not this year! The grounds were downright dismal on Friday.

Still, saying "hi" to friends you only see once a year does lift one's spirits and after our fleeces were checked in at the appointed place I spent some time chatting and admiring the sheep.

This pretty Cotswold girl was too comfy to get up but she did stretch her nose as high as she could to be friendly.  It's the thought that counts.

I'm not sure this youngster knew I was there....  Clearly a trim would be happening before hitting the show ring!

The weather stayed cold and wet for Saturday.  You'd think that would reduce the crowd but this was the parking lot before noon when I hiked the hill to leave fiber with Zeilinger's for processing.  Lost in the distance is the line of cars pulling in off the highway.

Of course I was eager to see how the judges liked the fleeces I brought.

<Insert happy dance of your choice at this juncture> 

Yes!  Excellent results!  And a Cotswold winning the Colored Long Wool division is no small potatoes.  I don't know how many entries there were this year, but last year there were 50 fleeces in the Cotswold breed class and 232 in the Colored Long Wool class so even allowing for a drop-off in entries those results are still reason for cheer.  :-D

The fleece sale was packed with eager buyers.  The tables are clearly marked by category and fleeces are grouped for easy shopping.  This picture doesn't show another whole row of fleece-covered tables to the left against the wall.

The fleece show committee also does a great job of educating people about different sheep breeds. This large display includes locks of fleece attached to each breed's listing so one can see and feel the differences.   Of course this is only a small number of sheep breeds that a fiber artist is likely to encounter but it's a great start.

After enjoying the excitement of the fleece show I headed off to the skein and garment building. Seeing the entries is like looking in the biggest and best jewelry store's display case.  Everything makes you go "oooohh".  You don't know where to go first when you walk in.

But then your eyes are drawn to the grand prize winners covered in purple ribbons.

The blue gradient shawl and the beautiful basket of yarn were created by the same person.  And she weaves amazing things.  Wow.  I think she hogged the talent genes a little.  ;-)

And then you just wander, looking and marveling.

Felt items.

Knit items.

Rug hooking.



And this is just the smallest fraction of beautiful creations there.

Another overwhelming venue was the used fiber arts equipment auction.  This is filled with consigned items and all have to pertain to the fiber arts in some way.  No books or magazines are accepted, only equipment.  (A separate auction on Sunday deals with livestock equipment.)  I've never seen the tent packed with so many items, both antique and new/never used.  Amazing.  I didn't stay for any of it but there must have been some awesome buys here!

So much more to see - next time....Part Two - Sunday!


  1. Wowzer! I have never made it to Maryland but a lot of the original members of Sheep Thrills treated it like a trip to Mecca. Good job!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. Congrats on the fleece wins! Love the pictures

  3. Congratulations Robin. How thrilling!

  4. Congratulations!! You have worked hard for that honor!!

  5. Wow... congratulations on the awards!! It appears that the Maryland show is at least 4 (maybe more!) times bigger than our closest fiber fair, Wisconsin Sheep and Wool. I really enjoyed touring through the show with you and am looking forward to Sunday's post.

  6. This show is on my bucket list - and congratulations! This is a BIG DEAL! Wowza!

  7. Wow Robin!!! Congratulations! All your hard work and loving care is acknowledged. Way to go!

  8. Incredible! And what a turnout. Congratulations...you cleaned up!

  9. I think I spot my car in that 4th photo! HA! I thought I would venture to the fairgrounds first thing Sat morning since surly no one else would because of the miserable weather. HA!
    Accolades well deserved. Congrats!

  10. How fantastic for you - and your sheep! It's great you got this recognition.

  11. You make MaryLand sound so good that I want to go - wait! I did! And everything you describe and all of your awesome photos make me want to go back! Congratulations on your fleece!!! Wonderful :-)

  12. I am so proud of your winnings. Great job. As I always tell you that I am so blesses by what you do with your sheep. Again CONGRATULATIONS!,,,,

  13. :::Happy Dance:::
    Congrats * Congrats
    So HaPpy for YoU... and for Karen's, Ribbon Stash!!! Thank you for the coverage ~ I hope to get there one year :-)

  14. Many thanks again for all of your photos!

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