Last year, Maryland Sheep & Wool was my first festival. I had heard about how large it was, but I had no real idea of what I was in for. I planned the trip in terms of how to take my then two and a half year old along with my mother, but I didn’t plan for what I would buy. I didn’t even budget. I figured I would be fine…
Though I still love what I came home with last year, this year, I knew better. I knew that at every turn I would see beautiful things. I needed to know what I did and did not need, because I knew I would always want it all. Over the course of this year, I am also attempting to only make yarn and fiber purchases while at festivals and retreats. I may not have what some consider an enormous stash; I can still decide to cast on a new project any given day and have plenty of options. I decided I would go in with a list of vendors who wouldn’t be at the retreat I am attending in July and with a short list of sweaters I would like to knit and DO NOT have the yarn for. This way, I would look at all the lovelies with purpose. I created a definite focus, which I almost stuck to.
We arrived a bit before 8:30 am and though “gates” didn’t open until 9 am… we followed the stream of people right into the fairgrounds. Since I was trying to reign in my purchases this year, we didn’t rush to certain vendors in hopes of beating the crowds. Instead, we strolled through the grounds methodically and leisurely. Until we reached the Jacob Sheep Conservancy booth where I promptly fell in love with a 3 lb 7 oz fleece. That’s right. Before the festival was officially open, I purchased a fleece. Which of course didn’t fit in the stroller we brought to push around M and my purchases for the day. Luckily, my mother is amazing and took the fleece back to the car while M and I watched some sheep judging.
Then the journey continued. M had spotted some amazingly adorable (and seemingly well-priced) lambs for sale toward the front gate on our way in, so we back-tracked a bit so that she could bond with some, only to leave us both heart-broken when we had to leave them behind…
I later found my sweater-quantity of yarn at the Uncommon Threads booth, where I picked up several skeins of my first-ever madelinetosh tosh dk. I’ve been waiting too long. I fell in love with the chocolatey browns mixed with the subtle pops of blue.
Along the way, we, I mean, M fell in love with more wonderfully soft and friendly animals. As a reward for her good behavior, considering the circumstances, I bought her the softest alpaca-panda on earth!
Eventually, we made our way to the Main Exhibition Hall where M gladly helped pick out a few Loop Bullseye Bumps as well as some Spontaneous Spinning Cloud to use for core spinning. She also managed to impress the wonderful folks at the Into The Whirled booth and scored herself an extra button… which I will eventually give her when she’s not so accident-prone.
Between the mindful purchases, the awesome experiences and the amazing people I met, I feel that I was able to enjoy this year’s festival so much more! Plus, I got to pretend I was driving a fire truck… what could be better? 😉