Note: to walk through my festival experience without all of my excessive little side-notes, click through to my Flickr photoset.
On Friday afternoon, I kissed my little family goodbye, and, swallowing the lump in my throat, drove off to the airport. I have flown many times with my children, but my gosh! I haven't flown by myself since...since I was 17, I think. Woah! Any misgivings I felt at leaving my family dried up in an instant. What a simple thing travel is! Once you get past the business of security (which, with only my 2 carry-ons and no little ones to corral, was no stress at all), the whole trip was just one simple transition into the next. And I was able to knit or read as I saw fit for THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. AND WHILE WAITING AT THE GATE. And I didn't have to get out the playdough once, or start laying out snacks on the questionably clean seats, or keeping the baby from unzipping someone else's suitcase, or....well, as it turns out, one person traveling alone is just a laugh, comparatively.
Once I got to my hotel, I found the massive king-sized bed to be disconcertingly large for just me, and added to the crazy flips my brain was doing in the excitement for the festival, it took me quite a while to finally fall asleep.
On Saturday morning, I woke up whenever I felt like it (I was going to be there for both days of the festival, so no rush!), and -- almost before I knew it I was ready to go. BECAUSE I ONLY HAD TO WASH AND DRESS MYSELF.
A luxury I have not known in quite some time, I assure you.
The car line outside the festival was rather long, but it never bothered me a bit, because HOLY CRAP I WAS ALMOST AT THE MD SHEEP & WOOL FESTIVAL!!
At last, I arrived!
Everywhere I turned, there was much to much to see. Sheep being sheared:
Barnes full of sheep (which, well...I appreciate the sheep for what they give us. But I'm not really a fan of being in close proximity because I'm a pansy. The smell turns my stomach, especially when a group of them are put together in a hot barn. I repeat, I am a pansy.)
Droves of people:
And of course yarn, yarn, and more yarn:
Creatively Dyed booth
There was also some live music...can't remember the name of this particular band (can anyone help me here?), but it was a family, and they were quite good:
They had trained with Common Ground On The Hill. It's always great to see kids who can play skillfully.
Of course, at the top of my list of Things To See (and buy!), was...spindles and fiber.
Trindle top-whorl drop spindles by the Trindleman -- these are rather hard to come by if you don't find them at a festival. These were at the Gale's Art booth, amongst many lovely bumps of wool.
And tables of Golding RingSpindles. ~oh my heart~
Peavine Hollow Farm
Buckets and buckets of gorgeous kid mohair locks.
Dyed Border Leicester locks (can't remember vendor).
On Sunday, as I was making more leisurely rounds of the festival, I noticed someone running the cash register at Loop who looked familiar...
I'd never met Elizabeth/Eutrapelia in person before (blog), but it took us each about a half second to recognize each other. She's so sweet and kind in person, just as I had imagined her to be. Sometimes meeting someone you've only known online can be a little dicey, but in this case, it felt like I'd known her forever. As it turns out, Elizabeth just happens friends with Lexi Boeger/PluckyFluff. Not sure if you can tell from this shot, but I was just the tiniest bit starstruck. (Going on inside my head "OH MY GOSH, WHEN I FIRST READ "Intertwined", I CONSUMED IT WHOLE, YOU OPENED MY MIND, IT CHANGED THE WAY I SAW HANDSPUN, THE WAY I THOUGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, AND, AND, AND, AND".....that's when I'd run out of steam and forget what I was saying because it was too hot outside and Lexi is too famous for me to be talking to, and....well you can see why I just stood there and smiled like a crazy person.)
After the initial HOLY CRAP, THAT'S ACTUALLY YOU!, Elizabeth also introduced me to Steph (the owner/mastermind of Loop), and we watched Steph give a little demo on some of her (INSANE) carding techniques. Of course this lead to me immediately filling a large bag with fiber... (and more fiber...and yet more fiber...dudes, I'm going to be a carding maniac in the next few weeks, just you watch...)
Lexi was doing demos of the wheel she's just released with Majacraft, "Aura", and I went to watch her spin for a bit at the Carolina Homespun booth.
I didn't try it out myself (sort of distracted by...well, everything!), but it looked like a great wheel with limitless flexibility.
Elizabeth (because apparently, SHE KNOWS EVERYBODY), also introduced me to LaurenHaiken, and told me to be on the lookout for the Supernatural Red Bangs of K/HarmlessDrudge... You know, it's amazing who you bump into when you just know who you're looking for.
Here she is with her beautiful girls. They also introduced me to Naomi/Enting, so I managed to meet quite a few Ravelry/Spunky folk!
So, my friends, you're wondering what exactly I purchased after breathing wool fumes for 2 days straight?
Miraculously, this all fit in two carry ons. It's incredible how much fiber can compress if you really will it to. (Click through for detail notes over the pic on Flickr.)
The pr0n shots:
These three spindles have also now joined my (growing) spindle family:
(All already in use before I'd even left the festival.)
This is a Trindle from the Trindleman, and it spins beautifully despite it's strange Science Class looks. My children love it -- Max is particularly enthralled by it. I've found him just about to use it (as a battle ship or sword, doubtless) on several occasions in the past few days.
A supported ceramic spindle, handcrafted by a potter somehow connected to the Icelandic Sheep Breeders Mid Atlantic Co-op.
OK, obviously, we need a close up of that one:
And finally, a lightweight Golding RingSpindle. This one is a Purpleheart Tsunami, weighing in at .5 oz. (It's what I used to spin the mini-skein of laceweight silk up in the fiber pr0n shots.)
~sigh~ Such a great weekend. But truly...I was glad to get home on Sunday night. Despite the mess, the fuss, and the care my little guys bring to my days...I missed them. And Greg. A lot. And when Rhinebeck rolls around in 5 months, I just might be ready miss them all over again.