I was extremely lucky enough to travel to Maryland and attend the Maryland Sheep and Wool Show over the May 6th weekend. Hubby and I piled in the car (I unloaded all my cooking business equipment) with only a few items and headed for Maryland on Friday. I had visions dancing in my head of going to the fairgrounds early and watching everyone unload their walking knitting projects. Boy did I ever get that wrong!!
I love Ikea and the only time I seem to get a chance to get there is via any trip towards the DC area. So of course we had to stop. 1 1/2 hours later and $150 later, we hit the road. I was armed with my 2006 Maryland Sheep and Wool book going over every ad making notes of every place I wanted to hit first. I had gone to their web sites and just knew that visits to their booths first was a must. Once again I was wrong.
We got stuck in traffic around someplace after Potomac Mills. I started to knit out of frustration and then just gave up. While we were sitting in traffic, I spotted someone with a cattle trailer and low and behold there were sheep inside it. We were going just slow enough we rolled down the window and asked them what kind of sheep they had; St. Crouix (hair/meat) sheep. I told hubby that I knew they were on their way to the show. Later there was a split in the interstate; they went one way and we went the other. I was just so sure they were going to the show! Guess what. On Sunday when we went back, they were there with their hair sheep. What was the funniest part of it all, they live about 45 minutes from my house. What are the odds??
I know I have neglected both my blogs but I have been running day and night lately and there is barely time to do things around the house and forget knitting or spinning! I have taken on a third part-time job and I feel like I live where I work now. I have never worked so hard in my life!!
I have a ton of pictures from the MS&W show so let me go ahead and talk about them and post what I can before blogger cuts me off. Since hubby and I are looking into buying a small farm and owning some sheep, we looked at almost every breed at the show, hence all the pictures of sheep inside of all the colorful booths at the show. I have to say that I was totally overwhelmed but it was worth every moment of headaches that I had over that weekend. My head was spinning!
Okay here we go...
Since I am a pretty new knitter and spinner, I was very interested in knowing what the sheep looks like when others talk about their fleece and the texture of the yarn that comes from that fleece. My very first picture was of these cuties, Cashmere goats. I was never sure what cashmere was until I saw these babies. I wish I had gotten a close up but they were busy. Their wool, was like baby soft ringlets. I didn't look into the booth to price their wool but know that cashmere is not cheap, but after you feel it you will appreciate it. Too bad I can't put sound on here so you can hear them bleating. It was so funny. I think these goats were mostly babies and were for sale. Too bad I didn't come with a trailer...
One of the purposes of this show is to show sheep. The fair grounds were crawling with proud 4H kids and their parents who faithfully go to shows around the area to show their sheep. I had never seen any behind the scenes goings on with grooming the sheep for the ring. I was under the impression that the fleece on the sheep is left natural, but it is not. It is groomed so that the fleece looks even and smooth. Here is a sheep who is in a head harness so that the woman could groom the body without paying a bruising price. Here is another example of the head harness so that the sheep owner could primp the sheep for the ring. Sadly I did not get the breed of either sheep because I was more fasinated by the head harness at that moment, but who wouldn't love those faces??
The next portion of this will be pictures of different sheep. I can't tell you every breed because in all my excitement I just clicked pictures and didn't write down the breeds, but almost every picture I took were of sheep whose fleeces could be spun. Some were medium texture and some were coarse. I did get a lovely sample from a very friendly woman who told me all kinds of things about here sheep and what their fleece could be spun into. I was a fleece snob and now I think that I will be expanding what I spin. My using coarse wool is still under serious consideration. I am thinking that maybe I don't want to take the same path as other spinners in my guild. More to follow about that.
Meet Lipstick. I struck up a conversation with her owner while we were sitting in the bandstands watching everyone show their sheep. She told me they called her that because when she was born she had dark pigment on her lips that made her look like she was wearing lipstick. She also is wearing sheep eyeliner which she was also born with. A girl just can't go out in public without her makeup!
I could not resist this handsome fella. He had the nicest horns that I saw at the show. Some of the shepherd's called them, "handlebars". I am not sure, but I don't think that "handbars" try to butt you and knock you down...
I can see that this is going to be a long post so I will post more pictures of the sheep on a later date before Blogger cuts me off! Stay tuned. I have been spinning and trying to finish my sweater. I have posts for what kinds of roving and yarn I bought at the MS&W but honestly I have to dash. I hear the spinning wheel calling me...ttfn