Maryland Sheep & Wool report: 2013

I’m back home, sunburned and happy. I had a glorious time at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and it was especially lovely to have a fiber-related day that had no “shoulds.” It was a stunningly gorgeous day: sunny but not hot, with a refreshing breeze. I can’t remember the last time the barns were such a comfortable temperature.



It’s hard to decide if the festival was more or less busy than years past. Here’s the traditional shot of the midway:


It felt like the barns were less crowded most of the time, but it also seemed like instead of there being a huge crowd of people in the morning that died down by 2 pm, the crowds were more evenly spread throughout the day.

I ran into many friends, from Knitty D to Robin to Renee to Lisa J. to Jody and Christy and more…..but I also feel like I missed many people I knew were going to be there (TERRY!!!!!!). I ran into many sheep, too

full frontal sheep

and every year I marvel at how faithful traveling companion Laura Grutzeck and her sweet sister Sasha have the magic touch with sheep whispering.

snuggly sheep

(They practically put these two to sleep!)  I saw lots of alpaca, too

alpaca 3

but for whatever reason, didn’t run into either bunnies or goats, although I’m sure both were there. I think I might have missed the entire segment of booths near the auction, for some strange reason, so maybe all the bunnies were there.

I was interested to see that they have tweaked the process for the Fleece Sale somewhat.

bag of roving

Instead of letting everyone in all at once to root around the tables full of fleeces, they let only a certain maximum number of people in at any one time, so that purchasers had more room to move around and haul the big bags of wool. I ended up picking up three fleeces to be processed, and if all goes well, they’ll be dyed up and ready for sale just as soon as I get them back from the processor. I love that some of the farmers tag their fleeces not only with the name of the farm, but also the name (and in some cases the birthdate) of the specific sheep from whence the fleece came. (I saw one fleece that apparently came from a sheep named “Tofu.”)

2 sheep

It seemed like many of the usual vendors were there but also some new faces, too. The area out in the field, near the dog trials, where they began adding booths in the last few years, seems to be continuing to grow and the organizers continued their savvy attempts to increase the number of ATM machines and portable potties. We even noted a vegan food option (tamales), although it would be nice if there were more food options that weren’t fried, or lamb, or fried lamb….

white alpaca

I’ll be back tomorrow with my traditional Gallery of Photos of Beautiful Things Including But Not Limited To Items from the Winner’s Exhibit.

4 Thoughts

  1. JoAnn Erfer says:

    The alpaca are so cute. Ted wanted to buy one (you need at least two) but after hearing the price, finding out each needs an acre and that Lower Merion would probably frown upon our choice of pets, changed his mind. Were there lamb kabobs, burgers, etc? That’s were the losers end up! We stopped going because of the crowds. Glad you had a perfect day.

  2. Marianne says:

    HolyMoly, that is one huge festival/show!

  3. Dee Sulenski says:

    Thanks for sharing, Carol. What a great memory of meeting you there, last year. I am doing very well and definitely looking forward to MSWF 2014–see you there!

  4. Sally says:

    Sorry I missed you! (I missed everyone; I’m never going by myself again.) I got sunburned too, but bought some pretty stuff.

Reply to Marianne