I tend to lose some of my knitting motivation as spring weather forces the mercury up, but the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival usually kicks me back into gear. Since I posted some motivational photos last year, I was going to skip documenting this round, but in the end the adorable faces were too hard to resist. (Regular readers know I have had this problem before.)
Sheep counting sheep
You talkin’ to me?
Who’s the boss? (click to enlarge images)
This year I kept my spending to a minimum by skipping the $164-a-skein arctic qiviut I fell in lust with. Thankfully my hands got too sticky after a confrontation with a red velvet funnel cake (!!) and I had to regroup before feeling up any more yarn. I still managed to come home with supplies for a summer project I’m looking forward to getting started on, however.
Do you stay motivated to work on cold-weather craft projects once the weather heats up? I think a few baby goats running around my back yard might help. Shhhh, don’t tell Brian…
Have you any wool?
A damp and foggy morning could not dissuade my neighbor and I from heading to the Howard County Fairgrounds to check out the Maryland Alpacas and Fleece Festival. While I was successful in not drooling (too much!) on the amazing fibers for sale, it was impossible not to fall in love with the adorable alpacas penned in between many of the vendors. One owner very generously spent time chatting with us about the growth of his business. If I was still a kid, I would definitely be pulling on your sleeve and telling you all about how I wanted to raise alpacas when I grew up; being an adult, I’m having some trouble not doing the same thing.
I mean, can you resist these eyes?
Fleece for sale.
Vendors at the Maryland Alpacas and Fleece Festival
Angora rabbit demonstration
Flax spinning demonstration
As a child, Labor Day was synonymous in my mind with the day before I was launched into another school year. Usually, wandering through the animal barns and staring wide-eyed at the midway attractions of the county fair provided a welcome distraction. (I still haven’t been able to get that mermaid in a jar out of my mind.) Now the date carries less stress-induced fanfare, but the nearby Maryland State Fair scratches my itchy nostalgic bent.
The only thing missing is the cafeteria with its rows of sliced lemon meringue pie and fresh-cut tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese. These whippersnappers with their deep-fried Twinkies. Why, in my day…
Anyway, with the sun beating down hot enough to melt us all into the asphalt, I grabbed my camera and tried to capture a little piece of another summer closing up shop.
My favorite midway game of all time! (I was not a very competitive child.)
For as much as I love appreciating the work of people with serious farming experience and thriving businesses, I also grasp that I am not one of them. Realistically, I probably never will be (though I reserve the right to backyard garden and daydream). Regardless, no number of dollars spent at five-star department stores will magically hide that knowledge gap.
However, I take no shame in appreciating the efforts of others. On an average weekend, that’s just a trip to the farmers’ market, but last Sunday the neighbors and I piled in the car to check out the vendors and animals at the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Thankfully, it was a beautiful, light jacket kind of day (when it’s 85°F, it’s really hard for me to get enthusiastic about yarn and knitting projects), and we spent five hours exploring the amazing wares for sale and appreciating the many varieties of sheep and goats (and cooing over the babies).
I was particularly taken by the beautiful wood in the looms, spindles, and even the furniture for sale (so much so that I failed to snap a picture). It was definitely a day of DIY inspiration. I’m going to try and learn some basic spinning skills this year and perhaps make some purchases next time.