There is sure to be wool. Even an over-abundance of wool.

Early yesterday morning, I boarded a bus bound for the one and only Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. My excitement was at a fevered pitch after reading blog posts about what to do.

I had made my lists, I had highlighted some vendors that I deemed “must see”, and I had a map of the festival.

However, I really had no idea of what to expect at all. I was delusional in thinking that I would have time to lunch with new friends, see everything I wanted to see, and have a leisurely amount of time to complete everything.

First off, I have been to fiber festivals before but I had absolutely no idea of the volume of people who would be at the Howard County Fairgrounds – much less that they would all be in Miss Bab’s booth looking for exactly what was on my list! Yet let me tell you about Fiber Folk – they are a kind and gentle lot. There was no pushing, no shoving, no grabbing – but rather, people who helped each other find things. These are not the “Black Friday” masses in any way, shape, or form – even standing in the LONG line to pay there was no irritation or even any grumbling. Thank you fans of Miss Bab’s for renewing my faith in humankind – at least the segment of humankind that knits – I am proud to call you ‘my people’! I managed to snag a couple of treasures from Miss Bab’s and got my day off to a good start.

From there I left my friends standing patiently in line and scurried over to see if there was anything at all left at Into the Whirled – the Fiber Gods were good to me because there was indeed a batt that just needed to come home with me. Bonus points were scored in that there was no line and a few minutes to talk with Mr. and Mrs. ITW.

One of the major highlights of my day was this – not only that I finished my Vodka Limeade Sweater that I knit with Sheepspot Clun Forest, the weather cooperated nicely and I could WEAR the sweater to the festival. Now, imagine my incredible delight in being able to meet the yarn creator and dyer while wearing my sweater at the festival! Sasha is lovelier than I could ever imagine – if you do not know what she is trying to do with fiber, you should. It is not hard, go here, and sign up for her newsletters. Your knitting will thank you. Moreover, if you are a spinner be on the lookout for her “finds” from Maryland coming soon to her website.

There was an “I Spy Jacey” moment.

I was fortunate – as were all the other festival goers – that this was Briar Rose Fiber’s Inauguration to Maryland. Chris is lovely as ever as are her yarns and I got a good share of them – enough to knit my next sweater and something special for one of Hunter Hammersen’s brilliant designs. Bonus points for introducing my friends to the joy that is Briar Rose.

There were somethings, sadly, that I missed:

  • I was too late for a mug from Jennie.
  • I did not have enough time to amble slowly through every nook and cranny of the Howard County Fairgrounds.
  • I did not have enough time with newfound friends.
  • I did not leave with a fleece, which I am regretting horribly.

I ended my day with an amazing stop at the Cooperative Press booth – Shannon had teased us on social media that she had dyed yarn for a special pattern. I figured that by the time I got there, it would all be gone – but again – the Fiber Gods were kind and there was a skein left and it came home with me. How lovely to meet this incredible woman – she is warm, gracious, and incredibly gifted. Meeting her more than made up for the things I missed.

In the end, there is so much more about what the experience of the festival really is – where there are sheep there is sure to be wool and an over-abundance of people who love them. For me – perhaps the very best part was spending time with people who share a passion for sheep and wool and seeing happy smiling faces everywhere I looked.

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