Today was the start of the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and bright and early(ish) we packed up the car with sandwiches, bottles of frozen water, the camera, and ourselves, and off we went down the highway toward the Howard County Fairground. It's a goodly drive down I-70, with lots of farms and grass and trees; and then, when the traffic starts getting a little more congested, you look to the right and see the smoke from the pit barbecues and you see lots of people milling around, and a big yellow sign saying "Sheep and Wool Festival".
This year there were an awful lot of folks wandering around with buttons with the Ravelry logo and their Ravatars; there were even fair few wearing Ravelry shirts. I only saw two people I recognized, but it was really, really neat to see all these people who, while I may have seen them last year and not had a clue who they were, have this addiction in common. I, alas, didn't find the Rabbit Building, so I didn't have a button, but I was able to pounce on a couple people and squeal, "Hey! I know you!" It was quite a bit of fun.
The set up doesn't really differ from one year to the next, though the main exhibits do: last year's was Navajo weavers, this year's is Renaissance textiles. There are lots of sheep breeders who come back every year, and vendors from all over the world who come to show their wares; I think the one who traveled farthest was from Wales. This year, too, there was a tent run by a group of SCA folks who attended the event in full garb, and all of them were doing something amazingly fibrous: knitting, weaving, and bobbin lace. They were nice enough to let me take a couple of pictures.
Speaking of pictures, I did actually take some... and managed to delete all but two before I got them uploaded to photobucket. The only two to survive my moment of mental density were one of someone's license plate--it was appropriately fibrous--and one of some of the ladies at the SCA tent. Check out that awesome umbrella! I left a message with M (K's mom) who has plans to go tomorrow, and asked if she'll take some pictures if she gets a chance....
So, without much fanfare, here's photographic evidence that I was at MSWF 2008. I'll take pictures of my purchases tomorrow so you can be green with envy; for now I'll just say I snagged a big ball of black Lincoln roving (very soft and yummy and hopefully enough for a cropped cardigan when I get around to spinning it) from Warrick Sheep and some gloriously blue bamboo roving in a colorway called Aegean. I've never spun anything but wool before, but since the ladies at the booth were kind enough to offer some suggestions it shouldn't be too hard if I remember to spin it pretty tightly. Since bamboo doesn't have scales the way protein fibers do, there's nothing much for it to stick to; this means you have to spin it almost to the point of overtwist, according to the ladies at Opalesscence.
Rachael: I saw a vendor from Lawrence, Kansas and it made me think of you. :P
Oh, and I got my hand kissed by a friendly sheep, which really made my day.