Monday, May 09, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool - Part I: The People

 I hope you get to visit the Maryland festival sometime if you haven't, because it is like no other - in size, scope, and tradition.  This was my ninth visit, and I'm finally getting over walking around perpetually gobsmacked by the sensory overload.  Our relationship is now as comfortable as an old shoe, but a shoe that never fails to bring joy.  The part I have come to love the best, is spending time with old fiber buddies, and meeting new ones who feel like instant old friends.


Several of us Jacob sheep folks have been sharing this booth for the Conservancy for years.  We love our Old Home Week.  And we have our booth set-up and tear-down worked out to the last detail.


Not bad for an organization whose active members live in five or six states and have to coordinate tables, shelves, floor mats, chairs, etc.   Couldn't do this without the internet to hold us together in between festivals.


Every year folks return to peruse the staples in our booth:  Jacob pelts, raw fleeces, roving in every configuration you can imagine, yarn and finished items.  We get a kick out of how the different fiber stages (like roving this year) seem to dominate some years while others languish.  Who knew?


This year we got to hook up with our pal, Susie Gibbs, and her farm's "aunties'" meet-up.  These gals hang out on the JMF group site on Ravelry, which has well over 1000 members.  These ladies know how to chat.  Susie will be releasing her new commercial yarn line (not from her sheep) which will be available at yarn stores around the country this fall.  These are some of the most luscious commercial blends I've eve had my hands in, all put up in generous sized balls.  No scrawny projects here.  I am pretty sure that Jacob's Reward Farm will be the local source for her yarns here in our area - more news as we work out the details.


Susie's farm community has made me and JRF such an integral part of their group that I'm constantly humbled and grateful.  These ladies really care about one another.


I love catching up with our sweet friends Amy (Susie's neighbor and right hand pal) and Jenny (the unbelievable Administrator of Everything), who helped get Vanni and Tella to Texas, and Susie's farm hand, Caroline, who is absolutely as sweet as shoofly pie.


 Even our customers become friends.  Remember Joyce from last year, who was recovering from cancer?  They told her it would kill her, but it didn't.  She was back to get more roving to spin for her self-imposed physical therapy.  Thanks for letting us see how great you're doing, Joyce!


Here's why I really went to Maryland this year - not to sell stuff, but because folks wanted another shot at the drop spindle.  We assembled on the hill both Saturday and Sunday, and spun till we were very happy indeed.


Jim is so determined.  He came to both meet-ups and worked until the light bulb went on and then he proceeded with confidence.


Our friend Gail came by to help out and also to provide a bunch of fiber for the newbies to practice on.  Thanks so much, "Luckydog!"  You were such a lovely teacher's assistant!


You're getting it!


Our JMF pal, Lisa, made the crossover, and now is a shareholder at BOTH CSA fiber farms!  Whoohoo!  You're hard core, my friend!


I got to visit a bit with our friend Julie from Virginia, at MD once again as a member of a local "Sheep to Shawl" team who participated in the Festival's competition.  So, Julie - who won?


And a very special new friend, Sheila Bosworth of Journey Wheel fame, jumped in with us in our quest to teach the newcomers to spin.  She donated practice fiber, and a gorgeous drop spindle for a drawing after our meet-up on Saturday.  This year, we again got to talking a bit of genealogy, and she offered to do more research on our shared Beardsley family history.  Yep.  I'm Sheila Beardslee Bosworth's cousin, of sorts, and we could know exactly how close we are, soon.

The sheep are awesome at Maryland (and I'll show you a bunch of those tomorrow) and the fiber and yarn will blow your mind, but it's the people that keep us coming back again and again.  The people, yes, and the GYROS

3 comments:

  1. Great pictures Cindy! We all had a great time.

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  2. So, so jealous!!! We just couldn't make it this year. Looked like you had a fabulous time!
    Blessings,
    Lisa

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  3. GYROS!!!!!!! I am so jealous..... Lol, jk! I do love gyros... Scarborough Faire had some good ones. Anyways, I am glad you had a great time! Looking forward to your next post.

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