This was my second visit to Maryland Sheep and Wool and also the second time I drove there and back in one day and I've got to say, I don't think I'll be doing that ever again! It took us about 4 hours to get there and a bit longer to get back due to traffic, and by the time I got home I was absolutely wiped out. I guess the days of driving 9 hours in one day without a second thought are over . . .
I drove my friend Shana and my coworker Lidia, both first-time attendees, so it was fun to sort of lead the way and be the tour guide. We saw the entire show during the 4 hours we were there (well, except for some of the barns, they stink too much!), ate lamb and ribbon chips, and saw a bunch of yarn, animals, and knitters/spinners. Surprisingly I didn't run into anyone I know, but I was pretty focused on my little tour group so I'm sure there were people I missed!
I somehow forgot to take pictures, but I did manage this one of two really cute small alpacas:
Not the best angle, but trust me they were cute! Also very cute were some pygora goats and one really sweet black angora bunny, and of course there were sheep everywhere and even llamas. But that's not what I came for, I came for the yarn!
What I was looking for specifically were fancy or handmade tools and yarn I can't buy commercially (ie small farms that don't do wholesale to stores). I actually had a hard time finding yarn to buy, believe it or not. Stop laughing.
Usually I come home from shows at least with some Koigu to show for my time and effort. But this time, the only two booths that had Koigu had really small selections (and one had such bad lighting that I couldn't tell what colors I was looking at!), and nothing struck me. Then I was looking for unusual/hard to find yarns, and the only one I found really interesting was some Bluefaced Leicester that was handpainted in this booth near the entrance, but the colors weren't to my taste so I didn't buy any.
What I ended up buying was one fancy crochet hook and some Cestari yarn (ETA: website is http://www.cestariltd.com/, link courtesy of Joselyn). Here's what I chose:
That gorgeous hook was a real find, I forget what the vendor told me but it's made from some wood that has a very exotic name (sounded Hawaiian to me) and is a small production that I've never seen or heard of before. The hook itself is strong as well as beautiful and the finish on the wood is absolutely perfect. If they hadn't been $25 I would have bought more than one!
The two balls of wool you see above aren't the whole haul, I bought enough of each to make a sweater for myself. On the left is the bulky weight Cestari fine Merino yarn in a berry color, and on the right the aran weight Superfine Merino in a stunning pale turquoise. I'm planning a little jacket in the burgundy and a pullover in the turquoise.
That's it! My humble haul. The only other thing I bought (besides food) was a pair of sheep slippers to give my Mom. It's kind of sad!
Come to think of it, my first Maryland trip ended with my buying only one ball of Morehouse Merino . . . I think I've come to the conclusion that this show isn't the best for me, but I can see that if I was interested in spinning this would have been a really expensive weekend! As it is I almost bought some roving because it was just so gorgeous, but I've tried spinning and didn't like it much (I know, horrible of me to admit!) plus I don't want to add any hobbies to the list that involve a whole new stash, I'd have to move out to make room . . .
Overall the best part of the trip had to be the weather: it was a bit cold because it was so windy, but the sun was out and it felt good to be out in it! And of course the company of my friends; nothing beats 8 hours in the car with some girlfriends talking about everything and anything!