Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another Year, Another Festival....the 40th Anniversary!

It was glorious weather for this year's Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest. I mean perfect...60's, sunny and no breeze. It was 'bird chirping weather' indeed!

I have a commercial tent set up so I don't have to hassle  with that. Makes setting up soooo much easier. Bev and Anne helped unload my truck, trailer and Anne's van, set up and were a world of help. I failed to get photos of them or of my finished booth without a hundred people in it.

At 7:00 a.m. the hoards descended.


I had Anne and Claire under the tent with me and Michelle and Forrest taking money. 



I think they had a good time!

Louise, one of my favorite customers, knit this wonderful vest out of my Biggie yarn. She designed the pattern. I'm knitting one with sleeves.


 

Inspired by the colors of Ginger & Spice (the shop where Krista and I sell our vintage furniture), I came up with a softer palette than I usually do. A minty teal and pale peach. Looks like spring or summer to me! It's called 'Ginger & Spice' of course. I need to get it on the website but if you'd like to order it just send me an e-mail.



I had walls of yarn. I literally brought thousands of skeins.

Natural colored yarn from my sheep. They were sheared in April and I have yet to send the wool off. Soon though.



 I sold out of this yarn really fast. I had dyed so much of it, I thought it was enough. I could just dye 'Carnival' color and call it a day.

I'd been making felt pins in my 'down' time for awhile so had plenty to sell.




New for this show was the 'Very Braidy Cowl' that my neighbor, Audrey, knit up. She's an excellent knitter and has really helped me out. She raises Cormo sheep and her sheep are nice enough to graze right out my kitchen window.

It's knit with my Waltz yarn (50/50 alpaca/wool) in the color way Brandywine.

She also knit this Shawl Collared Cowl on Ravely out of Rhumba (organic merino wool) in the color way Pansy.

I got these buttons from Dimensions, my favorite buttons in the world. A mother/daughter team from Virginia Beach, the fire these clay buttons and each and every one is piece of art. 

These were very popular. The birds will really appreciate the colored yarn for their nests.

Getting ready for S&W was not all peaches and cream though. It rained for 3 days so I couldn't dry outside. And I had so much to dye. I had 8 burners going and for the first time, used the 2 racks in the oven too. I dyed hundreds of skeins in those few days. I had been dying for weeks and didn't leave it till the last minute but there's always so much more to dye. If it I don't dye, it just sits in my basement and that's just stupid. 

My house was taken over by racks of yarn and fans. I borrowed fans from my neighbors and turned them on high. It sounded like a windstorm inside. My boys hate the smell of wet wool but oh well. I like the smell of money.


 Luckily the weather got cool enough to turn the furnace on so I could rotate the yarn over to the radiators. Even though the yarn had been hanging for days in front of fans, it still wasn't dry but that heat dried it out in a half hour. When the boys came home they couldn't believe I had turned the heat up to 68 degrees! 68 degreres!!! How could I?! I told them some folks turn their heat DOWN to 68 degrees!

But the weather finally broke on Wednesday before S&W and I hurriedly put more yarn out to dry on the fence. I dries so quickly outdoors with the sun and a breeze.






 
Claire is my numero uno skeiner. She's just the best! But since we had so much skeining to do, I brought both my electric skeining machines over to her house so she could work at home in her spare time. She's home schooled and she got a lot done in between assignments. She even 'farmed' out some skeining to her sister, Grace, and her brother, Levi. I asked their parents if this was ok cuz they had a little sweat shop going on over there. They were totally fine with it. I even brought over racks and fans cuz they have a lot more room than I do. 

We had a marvelous day of working outdoors the day before loading up. Grace and my sidekick Anne and her daughter showed up so all 5 of us had a splendid time listening to music and handling fiber. The dogs even 'helped' out.

I'm always glad when the weekend is over, even though I have a great time there. I enjoy seeing so many of my long time customers and meeting new ones. It's so nice to hear how much they enjoy my yarns, my booth and my employees. Dancing Leaf Farm is a great little business and I'm lucky to have so many awesome people working with me and so many terrific customers who make it all worthwhile. All you customers out there, get to knitting so you can come buy some more next year! 

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