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.