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Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2012

June 7, 2012

I’m a very lucky person: I live within driving distance of both the New York State and the Maryland Sheep &Wool Festivals and, so, have been able to go to both for the past couple of years. This spring, Maryland was a multiple treat. First of all, I spent time with Deb Robson (who, among many other things co-authored The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook with Carol Ekarius), and I had the privilege of tagging along on Deb’s “barn tour.” Meeting the sheep and their shepherds in Deb’s company is truly special, as she shares her passion and extraordinary knowledge, especially of endangered breeds. When she describes each breed’s particular characteristics, it’s hard to detect any hint of why you wouldn’t want to take every single one home with you.

That’s Deb with the clipboard, starting the barn tour

I also had the pleasure of meeting and greeting Sue McFarland, who won the drawing for The Knitter’s Life List sweepstakes, which included a trip to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival for herself and a friend (her lucky friend is Kathy Wroblewski). Although we had thousands of entries from all over the country, Sue is from central Massachusetts, not far from us, where she is very active in the fiber community, especially as a weaver.


Sue with her Maryland Sheep & Wool bag, and Clara Parkes signing books behind my right shoulder

Between Deb’s barn talk and signing my book in the authors’ tent, I didn’t have a lot of time to be tempted by all the delicious fibers, colorful yarns, and intriguing tools that usually make a big dent in my funds, no matter how much I resolve ahead of time to be prudent. But I spent some time chatting with Nanne Kennedy, whose Seacolors yarns draw me into her booth at every festival. The mineral dyes Nanne uses are fixed with Maine Coast seawater, and she’s been developing a solar dyeing process that makes her yarns even more environmentally friendly. The hardest thing about that part of the day was deciding which three colors to choose for the vest I wanted to make — every one of them spoke to me.


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