When we last spoke, I was in the process of telling you about my adventures at Maryland Sheep and Wool. If you missed part 1 of the recap, go here, I’ll wait… Now on to part 2 …
Hyped up from two days of classes, the Avengers movie, and some delicious sushi, Scott and I rose bright and early Saturday morning. I had already warned him that I wanted to get to the fairgrounds before the festival started because there was some special Miss Babs yarn I had my heart set on. So we checked out of our hotel and headed over to the fairgrounds.
We lucked out and got a fairly close parking spot when we arrived around 8:15. There was a slight hiccup when I realized I had left my wallet in the car, but thankfully I became aware of this before we even entered the gate, so my wonderful hubby trekked back to the car to retrieve it for me.
Since we had the advantage of being on the fairgrounds the two days prior with classes, we already had the lay of the land and were able to maneuver through the early morning crowds directly to the Miss Babs booth in the back of the Main Exhibition Hall. Now let me just say, I had read reports on Ravelry and other blogs about how crowded her booth is at MDSW and that people flock there first thing – but it still didn’t prepare me for the insanity that was happening when we arrived. I had a small moment of panic, but then jumped into the fray to snag a skein of the special Maryland colorway and, the real prize, a set of her one of a kind gradient A Play on the Chesapeake Bay. Scott went to stand in the already long line to hold our spot while I browsed the Yowza and the Sojourn sport.
I thought the outside of the booth was crazy, but when I actually ventured into the booth itself, it was nuts! You could barely move or breathe, much less see the yarn. I grabbed the 3 skeins of Sojourn that I wanted for a 3 Color Cashmere Cowl and joined Scott in line, foregoing the Yowza. There are so many colorways of Yowza that I wanted to be able to take my time and find the perfect ones, so I decided that I’d just wait on that and buy some online.
Once 9:00 hit and they were able to check people out, we paid up and got out of there pretty quickly. The Miss Babs team was amazing – so friendly and helpful even in the midst of the chaos. I enjoyed watching them go back and forth from the booth to their truck to bring out even more stock so that the shelves were never empty. It was also funny to watch people who were standing in line get out of line to follow someone as they returned with a full bag of new yarn to put out.
After the Miss Babs craziness, we took a few minutes to catch our breath and walk around the main exhibition hall. I stopped by the Signature Needle Arts booth to try out their needles and then spent the rest of the day (and let’s be honest, have continued even now) daydreaming about and coveting a set of their needles. Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist! My next stop was Gale’s Art because I’ve been wanting one of her sock blanks ever since seeing it on Susan B. Anderson’s podcast. I found a beautiful one in orange and purple tones with leaves stenciled on it. Can’t wait to cast this on!
We spent the rest of the morning browsing more vendors, petting adorable sheep, and eating some yummy food. I picked up some lovely yak yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch, a spindle from Carolina Homespun, and some fiber from Into the Whirled.
I’m proud to say that other than the Bijou Basin Ranch, everything I bought was on the shopping list I made before the festival. The spindle and fiber were one thing I particularly wanted to pick up since I want to learn to spin. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to really have a spinning demonstration or hands-on practice while I was there. We spoke with one of the spinners in the fiber arts demonstration area, and she showed us how to spin on a spindle, but I didn’t actually get a lesson per se. Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been watching some online videos from Abby Franquemont and even bought the Spindling Craftsy class, so I’m planning to start learning how to spin soon.
After most of my shopping was done, we spent some time in the barn where they were doing fiber arts demonstrations, watching the circular knitting machines, spinners, and a group spinning Angora bunny fiber directly from the bunny! Scott was particularly fascinated by the circular knitting machines and spent some time chatting with that group. To end the day, we watched the sheep dog trial demonstration. As a kid growing up on my grandparents’ cattle farm, I had a lot of experience with Border Collies being used to herd cattle. It was really interesting to watch them with the sheep and their handlers. Such beautiful dogs!
Since we were driving home that evening, we decided to call it an early day and head out. It just so happened that the path we took out of the fairgrounds took us around the back of the main exhibition hall where the Miss Babs booth was. And miracle of miracles, it wasn’t that crowded! I was not about to waste this opportunity! So I checked in with Scott to make sure he was okay with hanging around for a little bit longer and headed over to the shelves of Yowza. I ended up with these two lovely skeins in Joan of Arc and Funny Papers. These are destined to become Yowza Weight It Shawls. It was the perfect end to the festival and we headed home high on yarn fumes and full of exciting plans for future knitting!