Posted by: loungekitten | May 3, 2009

Maryland Sheep and Wool – The Trip

I’ve decided to break up the Maryland Sheep & Wool post into 2 posts – one about the trip and experience of being at the festival and the other about the yarn purchases.

First, I’d like to say what I like to get out of the festival experience.  I like to go to shop, but I prefer to do my shopping at vendors that I can’t find on the Internet – I’m specifically looking for deals and relatively unique items.  I also like to pay homage to the animals that produce this fiber for us – because they’re cute!  I also enjoy the fair atmosphere – it reminds me of my childhood (in MA, we used to go to the Topsfield Fair every year, so much fun!), but I do not necessarily enjoy the crowds.

My traveling buddies for this trip were driver roralee, co-passengers ReadsnKnits (Rav link) and Janpaisley (also a Rav link).  All of us were knitting, except our driver who did an excellent job of getting us there in good time, even with the rain.  And I got to see what has to be my favorite view ever, which is the view on I-95 on the bridge over the Susquehana River.  We only got lost once (stupid Google map instructions!) and we used janpaisley’s VZ navigator to get us back on the right path.  We came upon the fair from the west, and turned into the first entrance we came across, which was somewhat unfortunate because we were quite a way from the fair entrance.  Here is a view of the entrance from our parking spot:

There's a fair over them thar hills!

There's a fair over them thar hills!

Ha, ha, just kidding, it was right there at the bottom of the hill, a little bit to the right.  Then we were off to get to the important-must-hit before-it’s-all-gone vendors.  For janpaisley, that was the one who sells heirloom tomato plants, and for me and roralee, the cheese vendor.  Last year roralee did not make it in time to get any cheese, so she wanted to get there first to make sure she got some cheese.  And the Loungekitten, well, where ever good cheese is, loungekitten will be there.  But first we got sidetracked by some sweet alpacas and if we didn’t get pictures of them Clarksie would never forgive us.

alpaca-1

Alpacas!

Alpacas!

They look like sullen teenagers with their hair hanging in their faces!  After this stop, it was off to the cheese vendor:

Everona Dairy Artesanal Cheese

Everona Dairy Artesanal Cheese

It’s probably a good thing we got there when we did, because they were just crossing off some selections from their cheese menu:

The "cheese baord"

The "cheese board"

They sold out of the varieties that I think I would have walked out of there with:  the herbes de Provence and the garlic.  If memory serves me correctly, I purchased the Piedmont and the Shenandoah varieties.  But we sampled all that was left of the others, I could have bought them all.  I think I am going to bring at least one of these to the Mother’s Day Brunch my sister is going to host next week.

I then suggested we hit up a booth that I knew had items ReadsnKnits was dying to get – Socks That Rock.  The Fold, a yarn shop from Illinois is the vendor that usually has it, and we were right near it, so we stopped in that barn next.  There was a line just to get in the booth.  I wasn’t going to wait – and it was a good thing roralee and I did not because we both got really good fiber deals just up the aisle in that same barn – see my explanation above, you can get your hands on STR fairly easily from other sources.  Here’s a couple of pictures of the booth:

the-fold-strthe-fold-more-str

While ReadsnKnits shopped at The Fold, roralee and I went through the rest of the barn and exited on the opposite end.  We encountered jenparks there with her goddaughter Amelia.  Amelia was really shy and probably hungry, so we pointed them to the way of food.  I hope little Amelia cheered up and got to enjoy seeing some of the animals!

Roralee and I then decided to go through the next barn and we both picked up some nice fiber.  I got two skeins of sock yarn at Green Mountain Spinnery and roralee got some baby yak fiber to spin, but I’ll let her post details about that.

After that, we decided to go into the Main Exhibition Hall, where there was some serious shopping to be done.  First we noticed this booth, with an embroidered Greyhound on display:

A Greyhound just like Murphy!

A Greyhound just like Murphy!

Murphy is roralee’s Greyhound, who also happens to be a male.  Hee, hee.

Then we roamed around and browsed through the shops.  Roralee and I were together, on the hunt for ReadsnKnits and janpaisley, who had entered the barn from the other end.  I stopped at Shelridge Farm’s booth, where I bought my major splurge item – more about that in my post about the yarn.  At that point, ReadsnKnits and janpaisley joined up with us and we loosely, more or less, stuck together.  I bought some more sock yarn in Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm.  Then janpaisely and I went to the Botanical Shades booth.  I always want to buy something from their booth, but when I get there, I’m usually starting to think about my dwindling budget and just end up not buying anything.  I saw this scarf there, and though it’s rather simple I’d like to have it:

Scarf at Botanical Shades

Scarf at Botanical Shades

Ah. I just wish I’d bought the yarn for a scarf!  But, we have our choices to make!

Normally my next stop would have been Morehouse Merino.  If they had been there this year, my budget would probably have been totally blown.  It seems as though their business model has really changed.  I’m wondering if they’ll make an appearance at Rhinebeck this year since it’s in their backyard – it appears that will not be the case from their vendor list on the show’s website.  But I’m glad we still have access to their wares through their website.

Next up, Spirit Trail Fiber Works!  Of course, I bought sock yarns from here.  I bought two skeins of the same yarn – one for me and one for a member of our group who could not attend the festival.  More on that in my shopping post. . .

Then we turned the corner and went up the next aisle.  To be honest, there wasn’t much here for me, and at this point I was hitting my limit.  Constantly dodging other festival goers was starting to take a toll on my ankle – my range of motion is still limited.  It’s not that there weren’t some interesting things to look at, so I’ve got some pictures, but I don’t really remember where they were taken.  Here’s one:

Fair Isle sweater

Fair Isle sweater

This was a gorgeous sweater.  My photography doesn’t do it justice.

We stopped at Golding Fiber Tools to admire this wheel.  This is the best picture I could get of the wheel, between people spinning it and the jostling of the crowds:

Golding Fiber Tools Spinning Wheel

Golding Fiber Tools Spinning Wheel

Again, my photography could not do it justice.  I grabbed a brochure for roralee, who I know is seriously considering a spinning wheel purchase in the near future.  I tried to pick up spinning once, and it didn’t really take.  Maybe I just need some lessons from a few masters!

And the last picture I have from this aisle was from a shop at the end of the aisle across from Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  It’s a picture of two dog figurines, and I am guessing that their names are Angus & Sadie:

I love dogs!

I love dogs!

Sadie reminds me of my own sweet little doggie, even though she’s not the same breed!  Her coloring is very similar, though.

After the barn, we walked back to roralee’s car to drop off our purchases and to have the picnic lunch we packed.  We had roasted chicken sandwiches (janpaisley roasted the chicken) on homemade bread (made by roralee’s husband), with the lentil salad I made, and strawberries, clementines, oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate shortbread cookies provided by ReadsnKnits.  I am going to post the recipe for the lentil salad (it’s a Trader Joe’s recipe, perhaps local to my store, and it’s no longer posted in the store).  I will post it tomorrow, since this is already a really long post, that’s going to be a little longer. . .

At this point we were able to move the car near the entrance, so we did that.  We went back into the fair and hit a few more vendors.  I stopped in Tess’ Designer Yarns to check out their booth.  The only time I went to their booth was the one time I went to Stitches a long time ago.  Usually their booth is too crowded for me.  I didn’t buy anything there, but I took a picture of two designs that I liked:

tess-designer-yarns-sweatertess-designer-yarns-butterfly-beaded-shawl

Then we headed off to Brooks Farm.  I so wanted to buy yarn from Brooks Farm, but I couldn’t really find enough yarn of one color for the projects I was considering.  It was a case of go big or go home, so I went home.  I might buy a little bit of their bamboo blend later for a light summer top.  Next I looked at some animals – llamas, rabbits, and goats.  Here are a few of those pictures:

angora-goat-4bunniesllama-1

We split into two groups after that – ReadsnKnits and janpaisley wanted to hit up the Festival booth to pick up some mementos, roralee and I were fairly committed to being done with our shopping.  Roralee picked up a cone of wool in a nice color, and I picked up two rather pricey skeins of wool/mohair from the YOUTH Program, a program that teaches kids about textile crafts and gardening.  The colors were really beautiful, I couldn’t resist.

My final stop was by the heirloom tomato booth, to see if they had any tomato plants left.  They did, so I bought one :

Juliet, sweet Juliet. . .

Juliet, sweet Juliet. . .

Would a tomato by any other name taste as sweet?

The light isn’t right for photographing yarn purchases, so I may not post about them for a few days, but I’m glad I got to share some of the details of my trip!

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Responses

  1. Sounds like a good trip was had by all. I hope to be able to join you guys next year! See you on Wednesday.


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