Maryland Sheep and Wool 2014

 early morning welcome


We go early.  Really early.  The girls fall back to sleep in the car.  We eat breakfast there, sometimes in the car, sometimes egg sandwiches from the Lions Club.  We head for the same spot, first thing: Fleeces.

We queue up and wait, as patiently as we can, for 9 o’clock.  Then we try to read and feel and listen and pick quickly, without getting mowed down or buried in bags of fleece.  It would be a decent way to go, but not today.  We have so many other things to see!

And so begins our annual trek to Maryland Sheep and Wool, one of the fibery things I look forward to all year.  The first day is for fleeces, exploring and finding friends.  Some years, stalking a few special purchases and getting tasty snacks is all we do.  It’s a huge festival, and by the time we’ve walked all the barns and seen all the sights, we’re all pretty tired.  This year, the girls had such a fun time on Saturday, they wanted to go back on Sunday.  Since we’re only about half an hour away, that was a pretty easy decision.

Breakfast time!
Day Two was more of a leisurely affair.  More time to stroll and see, and far fewer people, especially in the early hours.  Crowds are hard for me.  The girls, however, help a great deal to neutralize that.  They’re happy to start up a conversation and give free hugs to pretty much everyone.  Makes for a much happier experience, even for their extremely-introverted (okay, antisocial) mother.
Sheep can be friends, too
We had more time on Sunday to take pics, watch judging, and see the talented sheepdogs do their work.
Now we have a year’s worth of goodies to enjoy, and so many good memories!  It’s hard to pick from all the wonderfully talented vendors at the event.  I already have a fair bit of stash, but I couldn’t help but pick up more gorgeous fiber to spin, some new spindles, and a yarn bowl that is, IMO, the perfect way to commemorate the event.
Also, fleeces.  Oh, the fleeces.  So very, very many fleeces…  Here’s my favorite pic of the fleeces my oldest helped me pick this year:
She’s a wonderful helper, and often sees things I wouldn’t necessarily think to look for, like that glorious Gotland cross.  She also helped me find a new-to-me breed, Montadale:
Crimp is love.
We picked out two Montadale fleeces, and we’re test prepping a batch right now.  If all goes according to plan (because I’m told that actually happens sometimes, right?), they’ll be used for a group event on Ravelry.  I’ll post more when I have progress pics to share.
For now, it’s time to find homes for all the new loveliness.  Thank goodness for the glorious studio space at our new home!  No more bins of fleece all over the bedroom.  😉