Monday, May 31, 2010

Rain, Rain and More Rain...

At the end of April we went off to the sunny East Coast to visit family, friends and the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  The festival was first on the list of stops.  This was our third time at the festival and each year it just gets bigger and bigger.  The first time we went was in the late 90s, then again 2006 (I think). 

We left the hotel early and arrived just 2 miles for the fairgrounds at 9am -- that's when we hit the traffic backup.  The next 2 miles took 40 minutes and the regular parking lot (huge, huge grassy field) was nearly full when we pulled in.  The crowds were massive.  I headed to the big barn first, hoping the crowds would be slow in getting there...oh, how wrong I was.  There was just no getting away from the crowds.  Lots and lots of wonderful vendors but many of the booths were too crowded to get into and had long check out lines.  And that pretty much describes my whole experience at the festival.

I did have an awesome lamb burger and I bought one book and two skeins of yarn from Dancing Leaf Farm...didn't need that extra bag I had packed. I talked to vendors that I know from other shows and nobody drove their baby stroller of my feet. Did I mention it was hot?  By 2 I was ready to quite and my pack pony (Ralph) was ready to.  The traffic back up to get into the parking lot was even longer...I heard that it was 6 miles long out on the Interstate and I believe it. 

My advice if you are thinking about going -- plan to get to the fairgrounds by 8:30.  Even though it isn't suppose to start until 10, the vendors were already selling.  One vendor told me he sold the most between 8 and 10am on Saturday morning (actually almost sold out).  Take your own water.  We picked up a cheap cooler at Costco the day before and had plenty of cold water at the car (which required a hike back to the car).  Take a pack pony, errr...husband, who can stand in line to pay while you shop on.  Be prepared for massive crowds, print the vendor list off ahead of time and map out your shopping plan.  Be patient!

From there we headed east to Ohio to visit dear friends and see a new baby.  We spent lots of time admiring the baby, visiting the Clevelanad Art Museum (nice) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Went to a flea market and found a big box of double pointed knitting needles for $4. Oh, did I mention the chocolate facotry?  Yum!

After 4 days in Ohio, we went south to Southwest Virginia to visit Ralph family.  I arrived with strep meds and spent most of the VA stay eating ice cream, hanging out in the motel room and knitting three baby hats.  Ralph had a great visit with his brothers and old friends, unencumbered by a wife.  We stayed in Abingdon, which is a nice small town, lots and lots of antique shops and a good yarn shop (I had to drag myself over there every few days for more baby hat yarn).

Back home, it's been raining.  In fact I think it has rained just about everyday since we got home! Right now its coming down in buckets.  I know we live in the PNW -- but enough already!  Even this morning Daisey had second thought about leaving the covered part of the patio -- she just sat there looking at the wet grass. I know she was thinking "Really -- you want me to go out in this?"

I have gotten some weaving done -- two scarves and have new warps on both Fanny and Zooey. Ripped off a warp on Zooey that just wasn't working out.  I finish my Pics to Picks project and will posted the photos and process later this week.  The scarves I finished both used knitting yarns from my stash.  The warp on Fanny now is random yarns from knitting projects in the '90s.  The warp on Zooey is an experiment with Satin weaves -- more on that later.

And now some photos.  In the wee stack are three car seat/stroller blankets for that new baby in Ohio and the other photos are the two scarves.  The little blankets have a cotton warp and washable wool wefts. They are about 20-18" wide and 28" long.

In April I took a really great class on weaving back to front, so I will have to blog about that later.  It was taught by Sue Willingham, a Vashon Island, WA weaver/teacher.  She is an amazing instructor.