Sheep and Wool Dreams

Well, it's almost here - only three days away. The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival, some say the biggest in the country, is my idea of nirvana. Last year I bought my first wheel there. When I was worrying a little out loud about my husband's thoughts on this expenditure, the kind gentleman from Carolina Homespun who sold me my wheel said, "Well, tell him at least you didn't buy a business! Morgaine bought this business right here 5 years ago."

The bad news is that I didn't get into the 3 day spinning class with "JMac" (Judith McKenzie McCuin). Hopefully, next year. I will go to her free set up a production dye studio class on Sunday. By the way, Gryphon is organizing a meet up for knit bloggers and all other fibery freak type people for Sat and Sun at 1:00 on the grass by the main pavillion. Do come.

Now, you may have noticed that I'm not exactly the planning type. I've been to MDSW for a couple of years now, and this time, I'm prepared to make the most of it. I've been saving my little bits of money here and there from cash yarn sales and lessons and i have some things in mind.

First, I'm looking for a fleece or two. I'm interested in Cormo (at Gryphon's last Spin-In, I handled some of the softest, bounciest combed cormo top from Stony Mountain Fiber. It belonged to Alice Lohr of The Drafting Zone in Bowie, MD Look for them at MDSW also; very yummy stuff, I understand.)

Appropos of nothing, this is the single-ply yarn I spun at the Spin In, from my own hand-painted domestic wool blend.

This colorway was an end of the day color that I called Moonstone. A lovely yarn, completely different from its "parent" roving. Pretty cool how that happens. Makes me smile.

At MDSW, I'd like to at least see a Shetland and a Merino fleece. Probably my greatest love is Blue-faced Leicester. Of course, such a fleece would require a new equipment acquisition:) One needs to comb BFL, to do it justice, due to the long staple length. I've been eyeing wool combs for a bit and will check them out there. Although, depending on how much money I spend, I may have any fleeces I buy processed elsewhere. Probably time to do a cost analysis, but why ruin a perfectly good record?

I'm very interested in recycled sari silk. And I'm intrigued by spinning hemp, so I'm looking for hemp top. I'm in love with the yarn Hempathy by Elspeth Lavold, and I wonder what handspun hemp yarn will be like. I'll be handing lots of wool/silk blends to get a feel for what that's like and, of course, I'll be checking out everyone's hand-dyed fiber and yarn. There should be plenty there as hand-dyed is all the rage:)

Also, I searching for a tweedy yarn similar to Rowan Scottish Tweed for a sweater design I have in my head. For kitty(or Knitty, if you prefer!) submissions, you have to knit the whole item before you submit, and as my portfolio is not so long yet, I'm going have to have to fund the yarn purchase my self. All this to say, no designing with Rowan yarns yet!

I had hoped to have my pink and brown sweater finished, in case the weather is cool, but that clearly is not going to happen. Although the second sleeve (on the correct size needles) is well under way. It's just that I have to re-knit most of the front and then re-do the the neck - I'm planning to alter it a bit anyway, so it's not a complete waste. Fortunately, I do have a few hand- knit tank tops that I really enjoy wearing.

Another very fun thing about this weekend is that Gryphon and Lia are coming Friday for Sheepy sleepover (it's LONG drive from easton to the Howard County fairgrounds). Don't tell the girlie but I've asked Gryphon to give her a spinning lesson (I didn't teach her to ride her bike either, but we'll talk about that another time). As I've had Gryphon's drum carder far too long, in my opinion, I've set this weekend as a deadline to finish carding Pinhead. There's plenty of lovely clean fleece now - I've just declared my self finished with washing.

And I've made some decent progress.

Fascinating how it keeps growing and growing as you pull ore out of the box. It's like the Magic Fleece, or the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, or Strega Nona's Magic Pasta Pot. And by the way, i've figured out what to do with the fleece I felted.

I'll stick it back in the old greasy box with a towel and, voila! The best kitty bed ever.

Finally, I leave you with a picture of Poppy with his grand-dog Emmy and his own dog Scout. The usually lovely husband's always lovely dad, who came with the also very lovely Grammy to babysit last night. Yay Grammy and Poppy!