Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May what?

I looked at the calendar today and realized it is May 17th.  May is already over half over?  I have no idea where the time is going.  Oh wait, yes, yes, I do.   

May 7-8 was the 38th annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I spent a fantastic Sunday afternoon wandering around the fairgrounds and visiting adorable sheepies.  This was my fifth year attending MDSW, and I’m fairly certain I can point to this festival as my downfall in all fiber-related obsessions.  After this year’s festival, I thought back to previous years, and it was fascinating to me how much has changed in those five years.  My first year, I had only been knitting a few months.  I remember coming home with bunches of Tilli Tomas silk and my first Malabrigo skeins.  I had no concept of hand-painted yarn or indie dyers, and I don’t even remember seeing fiber or spinning instruments.  It just didn’t register. The next couple years were all about the sock yarn, and even though last year I brought home a spindle and some fiber, I still went mainly for the yarn.

This year was different.  I saw yarn and even picked up and inspected a few skeins, but this year was not about yarn.  In fact, the only yarn I came home with was yarn I produced myself.

On a spur-of-the-moment impulse, I sent in that colorful skein of yarn that I wrote about in my last post.  I entered it in the novice spinning class.  Seeing that first place ribbon was a really nice start to my day.  At the end of the judges’ comments was the note:  “keep spinning”.  That might have been more encouragement than I needed.  I may not have purchased yarn, but I did come home fully prepared to make lots of my own.  The fiber haul:

You can see I was so eager to start spinning my new fiber that I finished a skein even before I gathered the purchases together for the picture.  Why so eager?  Well, I also brought home this:

Oops.  Okay, not really. This was a completely planned purchase.  I’m terrible about making decisions.  Terrible.  Especially big decisions that cost a lot of money, but I headed to the festival with my main purpose being to shop for a spinning wheel.  After trying a few, I was struck with the overwhelming urge to slow down, not rush into anything, and do more research.  I sighed to myself, disappointed that I was going to let my indecision get the best of me.   As I continued to hem and haw over a wheel purchase, I did start making fiber purchases.  By mid-afternoon, I decided I had more fiber than I was going to want to spin on spindles.  So I told myself the wheel was practically a necessity.  And of course, the judges had said to "keep spinning".  I browsed some more and eavesdropped on wheel conversations and finally settled on the Lendrum double-treadle that I had been testing at Carolina Homespun.  It wasn’t long before I was lugging a big box out to my car.

I’m happy to say, I’m thrilled with the purchase.  The wheel assembled in five minutes and within another five, I was spinning.  I’ve barely stopped since.  That would be where May has gone.  Well, spinning and a good bit of swim, bike, run training.  The Columbia Triathlon is this weekend!

And just because no MDSW post is complete without animal pictures, here's a really cute alpaca. 

I already can't wait until next year.


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