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Image of Maryland Sheep and Wool PosterToday we went to Maryland Sheep and Wool. We had a great time considering we walked constantly from arrival to leaving — about 7.5 hours. Driving time 1.5 hours each way.

We’re home now. My knee feels like it is the size of a basketball and my back is reporting that it’s filing for a separation. If it wins, I guess I’ll be flopping around but at least it won’t hurt anymore.

We used the GPS to get there this time. We’ve got one and thought we’d give it a try. It took us off the route we usually take for the last few miles and at first we thought it knew some new way to get to the parking fields. Nope. It put us on a major divided highway and then announced we’d arrived at our destination. Of course we had arrived. The fact that our destination was just off the highway down a gully and over a fence separating it from the highway was of no concern to the GPS. We had a good laugh about parking on the highway and scaling the fence and took the next exit and backtracked to the actual entrance to the fairgrounds.

Crowds we thick on the grounds. We hadn’t been for the last two years so we surprised to see whole new areas opened to vendors. I’ll write more later but I’ve got to take some pain meds and ice a few bits of me. We took pictures but have no idea what will come out and what is fuzzy so will post those later.

It’s amazing how tired one can get from fresh air and sunshine. I feel like I’ve been up and moving for a week — and a tough week at that.

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Maryland Sheep & Wool 2009It was a whirlwind weekend but on Sunday, Hyperion and I drove out to Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It’s always held on the first weekend in May. We’ve been going for years now. I love it and save my pennies up for a big splurge of wooly and fibery goodness each year.

This year it rained. We woke up early so we could get there at a decent time since everything shuts down at sunset. It was raining interspersed with drizzle. Okay. That wasn’t so bad and Friendship is west of us and most storms come west to east so we hoped that we’d drive out of it. Well, hope springs eternal and all that but it rained all the way there.

The good thing is we didn’t get lost this year. I mean we drive there every year but seem to manage to find a new way to get lost most years. It’s because for us, drive time is quality time to spend together and we talk and talk and talk or read to each other. This year, we were reading to each other (The Plight of the Darcy Brothers: A tale of the Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman — there will be a review here later). Maybe swapping drivers so we could read kept us from getting lost.

Parking this year was no problem because there was a lot of space left when we arrived. The field was wet and I was soaked up to my knees by the time I got to the road but then, in the rain, who’d notice but me. The good news is that most of the same vendors were there. Vendors in the barns had dry areas and those in the tents were tolerably dry — some had to keep poking the tent to dump water out before it leaked all over every one and every thing inside but that was minor in a lot of ways. In one tent someone was asking if they had dry wool and the salesguy said it would dry out, and that you wash wool eventually anyway, and this was yarn so if you just hung it, it would dry with no problems. (In fact the yarn I bought for my vest was a bit damp in places and is now hanging over the back of a chair to dry fully before I wind it.)

With the lower numbers it was really easy this year to look over the stalls and offerings. We managed to visit every bit of the festival and leave before they closed which was a first for us. In fact, Hyperion was commenting on the fact that he liked the cooler temps and fewer people and he wanted brownie points for not whining to go home every half hour.

I didn’t spend as much as in the past, part of the economic downturn and fewer pennies to spare. But, I did get the wool for one vest, one 4 oz roving, and one 8 oz roving (both in wild colors that I look forward to spinning up).

I also bought one set of double pointed needles and one pair of straights from Signature Needle Arts. I’d heard so much about them in various groups I belong to that I wanted to see what they were like. Last year, I couldn’t get near their booth. This year, I found that they have samples out with yarn and you can knit a row or two to see what the needles are like. I got the double points in size 2 for socks since I’ve been pretty much keeping a pair in process constantly. The straights I got in size 8 which seems for some reason to be the size I use most lately. I started socks today on the new double points and I’m loving them. Very, very, nice. Guess I’ll need to start saving my pennies for a second set in another size soon.

Talking to a few of the vendors, it seems it rained most of Saturday too. The crowds were down and sales were so-so but I don’t know to me everyone seemed a bit more relaxed and chatty. Or maybe without the press of the huge usual crowd the vendors had time to take time with the people who were there. I suspect that if it had been dry and sunny that even in these bad economic times, attendance would have been up because this is one heck of a great festival. If you live anywhere near Maryland or happen to be near in May, make an effort to drop in because it’s well run with many small companies who live and breathe fiber animals and fiber to show their stuff. And, for those of us who love crafts and fiber goodness to stock up for the coming year.

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