What I Got


Another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival has come and gone. This year, the weather could not have been more perfect. It was just cool enough for those that wanted to wear the sweaters and shawls that they had knit could do so without dying from heatstroke, and it was sunny the entire weekend. People thought I was a little underdressed (I was in t-shirt and shorts), but I work in a freezer-like environment, so my personal thermostat is a bit off at this point.

While I still got plenty of fiber this year, it is nowhere near the amount that I have purchased in past years. This is mainly due to not having gotten to working with what I have purchased in past years, and I didn’t see a point in just adding to the queue if I didn’t already have a project in mind for it, or if I already had something extremely similar waiting for me at home. So I did not get a fleece this year, nor did I get any large bumps of Romney and mohair.

That is not to say that I came home empty handed.


On Saturday, my first purchases was at Kimber’s Fiber Optic booth. She has started applying her gradients to yarn as Paintbox Gradients, and she had those that she has already released at the booth. I picked up Bitter Lime to Rose and Copper to Verdigris on Kashmir sock yarn. Each little skein is 30 yards, for a total of 450 yards for each colorway.


I then stopped by Jennifer’s Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth for yarn to make a cardigan. As I already mentioned, I work in a freezer-like environment, so I have decided that I am going to make myself a cardigan to wear at work. This yarn is Brigantia, a DK weight that is 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. The skeins are arranged as shown because I am planning on a stripe across the chest. I am going to be using one of Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Book of Handy… patterns for the cardigan, though I have not entirely decided which one.


On Sunday, I went back to Fiber Optic to pick up Bitter Lime to Rose in the merino/silk to spin. For some reason, I always miss this on the pre-orders, so I picked it up at the festival, since it has all of my favorite colors in one place!


I also picked up a bullseye bump from Loop. The colorway is Sand Dollar, and the fiber is merino, tussah silk, and bamboo. I have seen these around for awhile and always wanted to try one. I currently have it on the wheel, and will give you a report on it later.

Finally, on Sunday, I picked up my entries.


The shawl got a first place, though it was moved from shawl to scarf, which is fine by me.


And my blanket, that has been a poorly kept secret, also got a first in its category: blankets made with at least 50% wool. I will tell you more about this next time.

Copyright 2013 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

This Christmas


Well, another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (or as Mr. Penney likes to refer to it, “My Christmas”) has come and gone. I helped with the set up of the skein and garment competition again this year. It seems to be taking them longer and longer to get the judging done, which means setting up the show is starting later and later.

Mr. Penney went with me the first day. What was only supposed to be two hour turned out to be four hours, but Mr. Penney was a trooper and even carried my bag! I did get to see a lot of people that day, including Roseann!

Here is the first day’s loot.

Not too bad, huh? Well, I did go back Sunday to see the vendors that were just too busy on Saturday to even make it into their booths and also to get my entry from the skein and garment competition. Well, restraint kind of went out the door.

Yeah, I am kind of stocked for a while (like I wasn’t before).

BTW, my entry in the skein and garment competition got a first place. My class was handspun and handwoven blankets, afghans, shawls, and scarves. I didn’t get a good picture of it in the competition, but here it is resting comfortably in my chair.

Next time, I will got into how I made it and how the color interaction class that I took with Su Butler affected it.

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

The Weekend


Ah yes. Another year, another Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. What a time. The day before the festival, I helped one of the vendors, Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks, set up her booth. She had an armada of helpers, most of whom I recognized from years past when visiting her booth. Myself and one other person were the new faces.

Set up only took a three hours, and we were done. She had things pretty well organized, as expected for doing this festival and a number of others for a few years now. As a thank you, I got a little something-something, which you will see later when I show my haul. Yes, this little piggy went to market!

Later that day, I went back to help set up the skein and garment competition after the judging. As a special bonus, Mr. Penney came along to help out. After seeing the goings on with the set up, I think Mr. Penney is really wanting to provide his organizational skills to the task. Either that, or never come back again. One or the other.

Finally came Saturday, the opening day of the festival, and I took a half day course with Charlene Schurch on new toe-up heels for socks.

This is what we made. Don’t worry, it is not supposed to fit anyone. And I would be worried if it did fit someone. The heel at the bottom is the reverse French heel and the heel towards the top is the unwrapped short row heel. It was a great class, and if you have the chance to take a class from Charlene, I would advise you to do it.

After class, I met up with my friend Bonnie and we grabbed a little lunch and went on our way, shopping. Oh, and did I shop. Look for me on an upcoming episode of Hoarders! I’ll just tell you which booth I purchased what you see below. If you really want to know what it is, I should have it up on my stash page on ravelry soon. Also, the name of the photos will give you a pretty good idea of what the yarn and/or fiber is.

First, Spirit Trail Fiberworks, some purchased, some being the thank you from Jennifer.

Next, Fiber Optic, which, to my and apparently their own surprise, had their own booth this year. Apparently, they were asked on Saturday morning if they could replace one of the vendors that dropped out at the last minute.

And, then came Sanguine Gryphon.

Next up, Cloverhill’s booth, which had Wullenstudio, Dragonfly Fibers, and many others.

I finally joined the club this year and made a purchase from Brooks Farm to knit a sweater. (Actually, I had made a purchase of mohair from them many years ago, of which I made my nieces scarves.)

And my regular purchase of Romney and mohair blend from the Barefoot Spinner.

What you don’t see here is the Romney x Corriedale fleece that I purchased at Triple R Farm because it immediately went to Zeilingers to be processed.

What happened to the Romney fleece that I purchased last year from Triple R Farm?

I went back to the festival Sunday afternoon to pick up my entry. More on that the next time.

Copyright 2011 by G. P. Donohue for textillian.com

Like You’ll Never See Me Again


Ok. I know I said that I wasn’t going to do this; but I figured that if I didn’t show you the stuff that I got at Sheep and Wool, you may never see it at the rate I move.

But first, let me tell you what my philosophy is when shopping the festival: “Shop like you may never see it again!” As you may have guessed from that statement, I am not one that goes into these things with a budget. My thought is that the festival is my only chance to actually see, and in some cases, buy, the yarn and fiber from some vendors. There are a lot of independent dyers and farms that are at the festival, and in some cases, MSWF is the only festival that they do. I rarely get things at the festival that I could get at my LYS or from a general Internet retailer. (This wasn’t always true, as when I first started going to the festival, there were no Internet retailers. But that was over 20 years ago.)

In any case, this is my haul: Continue reading



What a great time! On Friday, I helped with displaying the entries for the skein and garment competition at the MSWF. Let me tell you, there is quite a bit that goes into that, and the fact that we were able to get everything done with so few people in a little over three hours is quite remarkable. The sad thing is that, even though I was up close and personal with many of the items, the job at hand kept me (and everyone else working on displaying the entries) from really taking in the work we were displaying. Consideration has to be given to how the entries placed in the competition, what area is available for display, etc., etc., so even though I got to handle the entries, unlike the general public, I really didn’t get to view them.

As some of you may have already heard, the sweater got a third place in its class and the handwoven, handspun scarf got a first place in its class. (Nevermind that the scarf was the only entry in its class. No, really. Even though there is only one entry in a class doesn’t mean that the entry has to receive first, or a prize at all, if the judges do not see fit for it.) Actually, the comments on the scarf were especially encouraging. I will go into it, along with pictures of the scarf, in another post.

But here is the best part: Continue reading

I’m So Excited


I am excited about two things. First, look at this:

Empty loom

Do you know what this mean? The scarf is off the loom. Actually, it is not just off the loom (which happened Tuesday,) but it is completely finished, fringe with a blanket twist (those of you at meetup didn’t get to see that part) and all because of excitement #2.

I entered the scarf and Mr. Penney’s sweater in the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this morning. I really can’t say that I was getting all excited about the festival this year, maybe because of fretting over whether I would get the scarf done in time. But now that the scarf is done and the rat race is over, I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it! I’m about to lose control… well, you know the rest.

Hope to see you at the festival!

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival: the report

I was going to try to work this entry to the tune of “My Favorite Things,” but I am no lyricist.

It was a great day this past Saturday, as it was the beginning of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Cue “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The festival was the most crowded that I have ever seen it. A drive that normally takes Mr. Penney and I less than ten minutes to make, took over a half hour; and the parking lot was nearly full when we arrived at 10:30 AM.

You would think that the collection that I have built up from years (becoming decades) of going to MSWF that I wouldn’t feel the compunction to buy anything new, and yet new projects raced through my head as I saw the fleeces, rovings, and yarns that were available. Here is what I got on Saturday:

Mr. Penney ably carried my bags through this, although I got the distinct feeling that he was growing tired of the whole thing after about an hour.

I did get to see some friends (not counting vendors,) as well. The one that I have not seen in a while is Roseann, from my Chesapeake Fibre Arts Guild (CFAG, unfortunately) days. She has been living in VA for a while now, but still does the pilgrimage every year. We actually got to talk this year, as opposed to last year where we were carried off in opposite directions by the crushing tide. It was good to catch up and exchange blog addresses.

Some final thoughts and observations:

  • Is there some kind of traffic pattern that is supposed to be observed when walking through things like this? I ask because I always seem to get stuck behind people that are not moving as fast as I would like them to move. In general, people just seem to be oblivious to the “oncoming traffic.”
  • Obesity seems like it is an issue with the fiber population. I say this as I continue to inch up in pant sizes.
  • Why can’t I just play with fiber for a living? Oh that’s right. Money. Dang!