Posted by: jinniver | May 6, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool 2010, part 2

So, if you read Part 1, you might have been left with the impression that my MDSW experience ended at 9:20 am Saturday at the Cloverhill Yarn Shop booth, and the only yarn I bought was Three Irish Girls.  Oh, not so…

At that booth, I ran into a friend from the Three Irish Girls group on Ravelry, Lyn.  We’d known the other was going to be there, but I don’t think either of us expected to run into each other that easily.  She was just about to head out to the hospitality tent set up by Columbia Sip ‘n Knit right outside the gate, so once I was done with my purchasing I headed out there to join her.  There were a few more ladies there as well, so I dumped out my yarn on the table to be admired by all.

“Have you been to Brooks Farm yet?” I was asked.

I had to admit I’d never heard of Brooks Farm, and Lyn was adamant that I had to go right now and check them out.  I respond to that kind of urgency by moving quickly and pulling my wallet out as I go.

I could have spent every dime I had left right then and there.  The colors were glorious and I loved the way they had the yarn displayed; it was like walking through rainbows (very carefully, and saying “Excuse me” every foot or so).  But I was very good–I limited myself to just another 5 skeins.  I found a gorgeous wool, silk, and mohair blend, Riata, and finally settled on a deep blue with a bit of green running through it for me:

Brooks Farm Yarn Riata blue and green

It had been pretty warm when I first got to the fairgrounds, but by this point it was hot and sticky. I was having a bit of trouble enjoying the feel of all that wool, so when I saw a great wool/bamboo blend that was cool to the touch, I knew I needed some of that Willow for Lexie.  I spent quite a bit of time standing there dithering between several great colors, but finally settled on a blue/green and a pink:

Brooks Farm Yarn Willow blue and green

Brooks Farm Yarn Willow pink

Since I was already back in that part of the fairgrounds, I decided to look around and see what else was there.  There was another booth nearby that had a pretty sizable crowd…but what drew me over where some on the samples hanging outside.  There was the cutest little dress that appeared to be drawing the mothers of little girls in like moths to a flame.  Unfortunately, none of us could find any indication of what the pattern was or what yarn it had been knit with, so I finally found someone to ask–she was handing out price lists.  Price lists?

Turns out none of the yarn at Tess’ Designer Yarns had prices marked on it, so you had to figure out what yarn you were looking at and then find the price on the list.  I also learned that all of the patterns were available online (which is fine, and I actually prefer PDF downloads to hard copies)…which would have been more helpful if the name of the pattern were marked.  And I didn’t know what yarn to buy without the pattern.  So I was about to leave when I saw a great rainbow dyed skein with enough yardage to make a nice little sweater for Lexie.  I had to have the Superwash Merino:

Tess' Designer Yarns Superwash Merino Rainbow

(Unfortunately, I never did find the pattern on their website–it might have been the one with no picture, but with no picture I wasn’t going to buy it to find out.  Nor did they have enough information on the pattern; I had no idea what the sizes might be or what yarn it was knit in, so I crossed them off my list for future purchases.)

That was the last yarn I bought on Saturday; the rest of my time there I spent looking around and meeting up with friends:  Bonnie, a friend from the NASCAR group whom I’d met the first time at Rhinebeck; and Trish, a local friend whom I’d met at the Bowie knitters meet-up.  We had a great time catching up as we headed around different parts of the festival, but I ended up having to leave sooner than I’d planned.  Despite generous application of sunscreen, my arms were turning pink (around the freckles) and the heat was just getting worse.  So I decided to call it a day a bit early.

On Sunday, my focus shifted from buying yarn (no, really!) to seeing some of the sights, because I had Steve and the kids along.  We knew it would be a short stay, because we couldn’t expect a 5-year-old or 2-year-old to wander for hours.  So we headed straight for the main attraction:  the sheep.

MDSW 2010 (6)

There were a couple people set up to do some handshearing and Jeffrey was fascinated.

MDSW 2010 (2)

MDSW 2010 (1)

(Yep, that’s my boy in his Kyle Busch t-shirt. Jeffrey was quite thrilled that his favorite driver had won the race the day before, so when Daddy suggested the shirt, Jeffrey was all over it.)

Then we stopped by the tent where a group had a great spinning and weaving display set up.  Since we’d just watched sheep get sheared, I tried to explain to Jeffrey how Mommy’s yarn started as fleece on a sheep, then was cut off, cleaned and spun up.  I think he was more interested just in watching the ladies work.

MDSW 2010 (3)

MDSW 2010 (4)

We walked around a bit more, but mostly it was Lexie interested in what we were seeing at this point–Jeffrey was about ready to go.  But before we did, Lexie and I went into one of the sheep barns.  She was a bit scared of the sheep–they are rather big and loud from a 2-year-old’s perspective–but she really enjoyed seeing them all and even relaxed enough to pet one of the sheep with me.  He clearly expected it, seeing as he was standing with his front feet on the botton rail, shoving his head out at anyone who walked past.  We also saw some cute little baby goats that Lexie adored.

MDSW 2010 (5)

At this point Jeffrey was definitely ready to go, but we had to do some shopping.  Remember how I said that I’d gotten Lexie orange yarn and Jeffrey blue to break out of their usual color rut?  Well, Jeffrey fell in love with the orange…and unfortunately I only got 2 skeins of it, not enough for a sweater for him.  We had stopped by the Cloverhill Yarn booth very first thing (and like Saturday, we arrived as the festival was opening, to avoid the traffic and minimize the heat) in a very forlorn hope that they might have just one more skein…but by this point their Three Irish Girls stock was reduced to a couple skeins of Wexford.  So I’d promised Jeffrey we’d go some place where he could pick out some yarn of his very own.  So we headed to Brooks Farm.

The minute we walked into the booth and I indicated some nice worsted weight wool, Jeffrey grabbed the first skein hanging there.  “I’ll take this!” he said.

“Jeffrey, you haven’t seen all the colors yet,” I pointed out.  Plus, the yarn was mostly green, which is the color he wanted to get away from.  It took some coaxing, but I finally got him to look at all of the colors of the Solana that were available…and his eyes lit up when he saw the reds.  There were several shades available, but he eventually settled on a bright red with some deeper red running through it.

Brooks Farm Yarn Solana Red

I picked up 2 skeins and started towards the register, thinking we were done, and then I heard Jeffrey yell, “Mommy, wait!”  I turned around and saw him holding a skein of shaded pink in his hands.  “This is for Lexie!” he enthused.

I was going to point out that I’d already bought plenty of yarn for Lexie the day before, but before I could say a word, he’d handed the yarn to his little sister, who grabbed it with a look sort of like this:

MDSW 2010 (9)

What kind of mom says no to that face?  Or tells her son that we’re not getting the yarn he personally picked out for his little sister?

Brooks Farm Yarn Solana Pink

I didn’t have a chance.

MDSW 2010 (8)

We left after that–so Jeffrey wouldn’t find any more yarn that was just perfect for his sister, if for no other reason!–and I came home to tally up the damage.

MDSW haul 2010
Top row: Tess’ Designer Yarns Superwash Merino in Rainbow
Second row (l to r): Brooks Farm Solana in Pink (2), Brooks Farm Riata in Blue/green (3) Brooks Farm Solana in Red (2)
Third row (l to r): Brooks Farm Willow in Blue/green, Three Irish Girls Wexford in Georgia Peach (5), Three Irish Girls Roslea Organic in Curagao (3), Brooks Farm Willow in Pink
Bottom row (l to r): Three Irish Girls Roslea Organic Rainbow Bright sampler pack (2 sets), Three Irish Girls Roslea Organic in Mimosa (2)

This is why, while I might be ready to it all again this weekend, my wallet isn’t. So I guess I just better start planning (and saving) now for next year.



  1. So glad you found Brooks Farm! I made my February Lady with Willow and love it! 🙂

  2. Maybe you should get a paper route, or do the change jar thing ; )

  3. Oh how beautiful it all looks spread out on the green green grass that way!
    I did the reverse of you… I looked at animals on Saturday and shopped on Sunday (mostly).
    And I’m pretty sure that was the sheep to sahwl you saw there…

  4. I do love Brooks Farm, I’ve been at MDS&W for the past 3 years, and I buy at least a skein or two from them every festival.

  5. The baby goats? That was Kid Hollow Farm–and I bought some of their fiber. 🙂 And all that spinning and weaving? I know how to do that (and have the equipment to do it with), but apparently I missed those ladies. And with all the cash I spent there? I didn’t buy a single bit of yarn–it was all fiber and one spindle….

  6. How fun!! Seems like an awesome weekend!!!


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