Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011, Day 1

I’m rather late with this, I know…but I had a lot of administrative work to do after this one, as you’ll see…

The first day of MDSW, Saturday, is my day at the festival. I go on my own, so I can get there as early as I’d like, stay as long I want, and shop to my heart’s content without hearing any whining. Well, except for from the occasional fellow shopper who was unable to deal with things inherent in a large, heavily attended fiber/animal festival. I still snicker when I remember the woman who was coming in the gate as I was headed out to drop my latest purchases in the truck; she wrinkled up her nose in disgusted and complained to her friend, “It smells like…animals!”

But none of them were my problem; I could (and did!) walk away, and they were very much the exception amongst the people I interacted with. My first day at the festival was an unqualified success.

I left the house very early, just before 6 am. I needed to stop for fuel and to visit an ATM, and the fairgrounds are an hour and a half away…in good traffic. I’d gotten there shortly before the festival opened at 9 am last year, and I remembered the loooooong back up on MD-32. This time I wanted to avoid the back up and park closely enough that I could take purchases out to the truck as needed. It was rather a nice drive–I got to watch the sunrise and didn’t have to deal with any traffic at all–this time when I opted for I-395 to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, it was just to enjoy the prettier drive than to avoid the crazy traffic. I did get nervous when Wesley (my GPS) directed me up to I-270 instead of around I-495…and then when suddenly I ended up on Maryland back roads. But he was just bringing me in from the other direction (which was encouraged this year, apparently, to cut down on congestion), and I was pulling in to park well before the 9 am opening. 1 hour and 45 minutes before, to be exact.

Needless to say, there were plenty of spots just before the gate, so I pulled in to one and pulled out my crochet. The woman in the car to my left was finishing breakfast while she waited; the woman to the right was knitting. We exchanged waves and knowing smiles and settled in to wait.

30 minutes later, I realized that just about everyone else who’d arrived early were heading through the gates, and they didn’t look like they were here to work. So I figured, what the hey? I’d head in too, and then I could get the lay of the land before the crowds arrived. I also got to watch set up, which was a lot of fun.

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (1)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (6)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (18)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (19)

Of course, just because the festival hadn’t opened yet, didn’t mean that people weren’t shopping–or at least scoping out their first purchases.

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (16)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (14)
(Yes, they were headed out of the fairgrounds with these, about 8 am.)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (15)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (23)
(I had to ask what this line was all about–the booth that sold Socks That Rock was inside.)

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (24)
(The crowd was more than 5 deep around The Sanguine Gryphon’s booth–first time participants in MDSW. This picture was taken right after the security guards had made sure everything was orderly and moved off.)

Not that I blamed any of my fellow festival goers–I’d already scoped out my first stop.

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (5) edit

But I did at least wait until the announcement was made that the festival was open before I started scooping up yarn from Cloverhill Yarn Shop.

MDSW 2011 Cloverhill Yarn Shop

Not all of that was Three Irish Girls yarn; I also picked up some Neighborhood Fiber Co. and some cool yarn made from fabric strips from an etsy store called GnomeGarden.

One thing I didn’t buy but was very interested in was this:

MDSW 2011 Day 1 (25)

One of my patterns! I didn’t realize that Cloverhill Yarn Shop was carrying Three Irish Girls patterns and would have then at the festival, but I had to have my picture taken with a copy of Diamond in the Sky.

Then, of course, there was more shopping.

MDSW 2011 haul (3)

Not quite as sizable a pile as I ended up with after the DC Metro Yarn Crawl, but still significant, right? I braved that crazy crowd at The Sanguine Gryphon (the line to get in their tiny booth wasn’t quite as long, but the line to pay stretched well down the aisle):

MDSW 2011 Sanguine Gryphon

After that, I decided to let the crazy die down a bit at Miss Babs’ booth before heading in:

MDSW 2011 Miss Babs

I ended up with these ribbon yarns pretty much by default at Tess’ Designer Yarns; I’d had different yarns picked out, but by the time I found the price of them in the brochure (prices aren’t on the skeins or posted anywhere), I couldn’t find a booth worker to cut a skein off for me (they’re tied together). Fortunately, these were just lying on a table…and I really liked them:

MDSW 2011 Tess' Designer Yarns

I made my first purchase of some Creatively Dyed yarn; I’ve heard raves about her for years, and I really wanted some of the speckled yarn. It took a lot of digging to find multiple skeins of the same colorways in a worsted weight, but I think it was worth the effort:

MDSW 2011 Creatively Dyed

I also bought more than yarn, of course. You know I can’t say no to buttons, right? Two of the first booths I scoped out were Koko Noelle

MDSW 2011 Koko Noelle (1)

…and Moving Mud:

MDSW 2011 Moving Mud

Funny story: 2 of my knitting friends were walking past the Moving Mud booth, and one joked, “Hey, look, a button booth. Where’s Jen?” His wife pointed at me, hands full of buttons. “Uh, she’s right there.”

The blame for this purchase lies squarely with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot; I certainly wouldn’t have considered buying mawatas (silk hankies) to knit with if she hadn’t showed me how to do it. (Heck, I wouldn’t even have known what they were or what to do with them.) The ones in the upper left corner are from New England Felting Supply; the others are from Marlene’s Felting Madness. I mentioned to the woman I was chatting with at the New England Felting Supply booth that I was planning to knit with them; she’d never heard of such a thing (most customers apparently felt or spin with them) and asked me to send her pictures of whatever I did.

silk hankies

And I couldn’t resist the goods at Turnstyles:

MDSW 2011 Turnstyles

By that point I’d made a couple trips back to the truck to drop off items, and I decided that was enough for one day. Most of the yarn, like my yarn crawl purchases, were destined for future designs, and I think I’ve got enough planned projects to last me a while. Now I just had to get them all organized…

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5 Responses to Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011, Day 1

  1. Christine says:

    That is so awesome, I am in the Sanguine Gryphon line picture. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  2. Wendy says:

    You really got quite a haul! Wish I’d seen the Three Irish Girls….oh, well.

  3. […] The Magpie Knitter Getting from "Ooh, shiny!" to a design Skip to content AboutFree PatternsFor Sale PatternsErrata ← Maryland Sheep and Wool 2011, Day 1 […]

  4. […] off the east coast. And although one of my favorite parts of fiber festivals is buying the yarn (Exhibit A), another one is definitely the chance to meet in person all of the friends I’ve made online. […]