Hi, angora goats!

I haven’t done much knitting in the last few weeks, to be honest… which is problematic as a knitting blogger. Luckily, Maryland Sheep and Wool happened, so I can tell you all about that instead! This was only my second time at MDSW, but I had more fun this year, hands down, all thanks to a little advanced planning. I’m going to be a little long winded (and there’s lots of photos to share, of course) so check out my recap after the jump.

I spent the entirety of Saturday with my twitter and irl pal, Mizelissa. We left Baltimore quite early, and after stopping for necessary refreshments (giant cups of coffee), we were on the road. This time, I avoided I-70 altogether and hit no traffic whatsoever, although it was 8:30 in the morning, which might be explanation enough. The fairgrounds opened at 9am and we were off to scour the vendors for goodies. We spent our time exploring every single vendor at the festival, patting the heads of some incredibly cute sheep, eating sandwiches and snowballs, and chatting with bunches of really friendly knitters. Check out some of the amazing critters we met:

Hi, gorgeous yet uninterested karakul sheep!

Hi, extremely friendly sheep!

Hi, sheep that wanted to be my best friend!

Hi, slightly disgruntled baby alpacas!

This year, I had a $150 USD budget. I came with a list of several projects I was interested in knitting and yarns that each of these projects required. This helped to keep me on task with yarn shopping rather than exclaiming “OOH SHINY!” in every single booth and exceeding my budget. I also was in search of a yarn bowl, and any awesome notions that I couldn’t find in my regular LYS.

The reasonably-sized MDSW yarn haul

My apparent favorite at the festival this year (based solely on the amount of yarn I left their booth with) was Bartlettyarns from Maine. I bought a cone of their woolen sport weight tweedy yarn, which just looks like an heirloom waiting to happen. And one cone was the perfect amount for the Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers, which I’ll likely cast on when the weather cools down. I bought two additional skeins of the sport weight in red and grey for a Stripe Study Shawl by Veera Välimäki. I scored a hand-thrown yarn bowl, which I’ve wanted for ages. I was also rather enamored with the Solitude Wool booth, who spin breed specific yarns. This is where I got my splurge skein – an undyed grey Border Leicester sport weight. It is completely gorgeous.

Really, you can’t deny the gorgeousness.

We stuck around the fairgrounds until around 5:30, and then took a drive to the Columbia Sheraton, where the Fiber Crawl MDSW After Party was being hosted by Guido of the It’s a Purl, Man podcast. We had so much fun knitting, noshing, and chatting with some lovely knitters and crocheters. Even though I didn’t win any sweet raffle prizes (and seriously, they were incredible), I had a magnificent time and it was the perfect ending to a very woolly day.

All in all, I think I had an exceptional time for two main reasons: Firstly, I had an awesome wingman who knew my knitting taste, my crafting habits, and my realistic budget. Not to mention, she’s a pretty hilarious and clever gal to hang out with, no matter the circumstance. And second, I came with specific projects in mind so I wouldn’t get too overwhelmed by the yarn fumes, as I’m known to do. With these two secret weapons, I was setting myself up for a great MDSW.

Do you like going to knitting or sheep festivals? What are your favorite ones to attend? Do you like to arrive with a strategy in mind or prefer to see where the day takes you?

Happy knitting!!