Monday, May 4, 2015

mdsw 2015

This will be a brief post about Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It was a great weekend but I am pooped! So mostly along the line of a picture being a thousand words and all that...

The obligatory loaded truck picture. I just about fit behind the driver's wheel.

Tables, grid walls, fleeces, pelts, basically everything that wouldn't fit into the cab, all wrapped up tight in case of rain—and it did rain on the way down, so I was grateful that we took the time to waterproof everything.

One of my first stops, dropping THIS YEAR'S skirted fleeces off at Sweitzer's to be processed. Yay me!! I did keep back three raw fleeces, to be sold in...

... this wonderful booth, our biggest ever and I think our best ever. The extra space and extra help this year (because the two of us that spearhead it said we couldn't do it alone for much longer) made all the difference in ease of getting everything in place.

We had tons of beautiful yarn this year, but we continue to struggle with the best way to market it. Part of the problem is that we are trying to sell yarn in the spring; we did much better with yarn in the fall at Rhinebeck. Any thoughts about displaying it would be much appreciated!

Speaking of beautiful yarn, this was part of the display at Sweitzer's booth, which I discovered when I went back to settle my order and bill. All of this yarn was dyed by their five year old daughter Lilly, and part of the proceeds were to be donated to the Wounded Warriors project.

I had pledged not to buy any yarn this year, but I had to make an exception. Maybe this will be a sweater for my little niece; not quite sure yet.

This was my other purchase, from a woman who made beautiful sheep pictures using paper cutting. This is a print made from the paper cut original, which had colored paper behind it. Multicolored sheep and turtles; too similar to our farm to resist.

One of the greatest pleasures is catching up with friends, too many to list. These are women I know from the Fiber Fallout Retreat, who were competing as Team Oz (hence the costumes, unfortunately the Lion has her back to the camera) in the Sheep to Shawl costume. At 8 am, a bell is rung and each team has hired a shearer and found a suitable sheep. The shearer starts to shear and the team grabs up the fleece as soon as it comes off the sheep and starts to process it. One team member cards the wool to prepare it for spinning, two members spin it and the fourth weaves it into a shawl on a pre-warped loom. Their warp colors were based on the "Emerald City" and the fleece was dark; it was a beautiful combination. I missed the ending, as I was in the booth, but rumor had it that they took third place (out of six or seven teams) and their shawl brought in over $1400 in the resulting auction. A pretty good result!

Now it's time to focus on getting my stuff back in order. I don't want to dye anything for a while, but I do have a standing order for dryer balls that I have to get filled; I was waiting for my fleeces to come back. I was thinking I would have some left over but they all sold out, a happy problem to have.

I also have a big knitting project with tight deadline to start. It had to wait until after Maryland, but now... it's after Maryland. I think it's going to have to wait until after a good night's sleep as well.


  1. I was sorry to miss seeing you and the booth this year. The festival has gotten so big I don't think I can see all of it in 2 days. Wonderful weather this year.

  2. Have you ever done fiber shares like a CSA for fibers? Nice guaranteed income ahead of time.

  3. I picked up a few Coopworth brochures in your tent and also bought some beautiful Coopworth roving. It was a beautiful festival and my first time visiting. I currently have hair sheep but I want to buy a coopworth ram and unrelated ewe. I live in eastern PA. Do you know anyone selling?