Saturday, May 12, 2007

Michigan Sheep & Wool Redux:

It's been a week since we went to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I've been thinking about what to post about this year's festival. One thing that says it all: I purchased 3 polymer clay sheep pins. That's it. No fiber, no books, no tools....nothing. Nada.

There were a lot of people there. There were a lot of knitting vendors there. Most of the garments in the exhibit were made with commercial yarn. Or, if they happened to be handspun, they were spun from commercially prepared fibers.

So I was not particularly impressed with this year's festival. In fact I was a bit disappointed. There are so many venues for knitters....conventions, workshops, retreats, camps, competitions, charity knitting.......(need I go on?) And though I am a knitter and have been since childhood, it seems this current generation of knitters are a bit too lemming-like for my taste.

Example: Early in the day, I noticed that if I stopped at a sales booth and looked at something (anything?!) intently, soon a small crowd gathered around me to see what I might be examining and some would even reach in front of me and grab what they thought was the object of interest. After I first noticed this, I tested it and stopped at a few spots just staring at nothing in particular. Each time a small crowd hemmed in and I ducked out and walked away.

There was only one place that this did not happen: The area where the raw fleeces were set up for sale after judging. The traffic in this area was so light that I spent the bulk of my browsing time in there: peeking in bags, fingering just a lock, examining the information on the judging tags, and dreaming about the possibilities inherent in the wool. Oh yes, and fighting off a serious seduction attempt by a 6 lb. bag of fine black/charcoal cormo fleece. It was so tempting, I had to keep chanting 70.3 this post to fend off my desire!

Sheep and wool festivals sprang up for those who raise wool and those who appreciate that raw material and make it into something useful. But it seems they are now turning into one more venue to cater to knitters. I'll parrot my friend Carol (blogless to my knowledge) and say, perhaps they should now call it the Maryland Sheep and Yarn Festival. The middle link seems to be dropping out.

So there are yarn snobs, and fiber snobs, and now it seems I have become a "festival snob".


  1. Ian and I were back in DC a couple of years ago at the "right" time so rented a car and drove up. We're spoiled by the Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon but just the same enjoyed the herding dog and shearing event. I wasn't impressed by the vendors but did end up buying a fleece directly from a shepherd. We loved the music that seemed to be a rather spontaneous event at a music tent kinda spot.

  2. I would have been disappointed too (though I've never been to the Maryland festival and wouldn't have known better). It would be the fleece I'd have gone for. Sounds like you brought your will power with you though. I wouldn't have been able to resist that Cormo fleece!

  3. irreverent, iconoclastic, ecléctic e liberty
    in Catalonia - Spain


  4. Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

    Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

    Biby Cletus

  5. I guess I'll join you in the festival snobbery. We'll see how Estes Park is this year. I am braced for the sort of changes you saw.


tie in the loose ends...