Going to a Fiber Festival: Creating and Feeding an Addiction

If I liked spinning before, then after the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival I was obsessed. I had gotten it into my head that I wanted to go “just to see” what the spinning and fiber world was like.With the right attitude and the company of supportive- please read fellow fiber addict- friends, I became a full-fledged fiber fanatic.

I ventured up to Maryland because I missed the North Carolina fiber festival. My mother was in town and it just wasn’t possible. When I decided to go to Maryland Sheep&Wool, I didn’t know that it was one of the largest fiber festivals in the country. I also didn’t know what to expect. Combine to the two and I wound up completely mesmerized and overwhelmed and bouncing off the walls with excitement!!

Not knowing what I would want to buy, I brought up the possibility of angora bunnies- as a way to offset the cost of fiber and spinning supplies by selling their wool. Well…Kyle said no bunnies. At least not from the festival. This was more for practical reasons. We were still in our apartment and didn’t have the equipment or space. I also needed to be sure that I wasn’t allergic.

In these boxes are the raw fleeces I brought back! Haha :) Bunnies are soo much smaller.
In these boxes are the raw fleeces I brought back! Haha 🙂 Bunnies are soo much smaller.

I thought this was reasonable, and prudent. However, we didn’t realize how small bunnies are in comparison to fleeces!

Believe or not, this is limited spending. Within the first 30 seconds of entering the fair grounds I knew I needed to put guidelines on my spending. I didn’t buy anything until I came up with some sort of boundary.

What was the limitation I chose?    Nice-ness of the different breeds of sheep I met! Certain breeds of sheep seemed nicer overall than others. Of course a lot depends on whether the animal is a pet or flock member. But- I needed to start somewhere.

I chose Lincoln (every Lincoln I met was sooo sweet! I wish I had thought to take photos of the different breeds to share), Jacob, Leicester, and Shetland. (See my Show&Tell for pictures of these gorgeous fleeces!) So..why the vast number of boxes above? Well, I was given two 8lbs (-? I really couldn’t say how much they weighed. They were/are huge.) Corriedale fleeces.

I received the Corriedales after attending a lecture on how to start and shepard a flock of fiber sheep for hand spinners. They were used as examples of ‘problematic’ fleeces. However, the majority of each was just fine. I’ll detail these fleeces in a different post.

There were so many amazing things going on at the festival! Everyone should go! Even if you’re not a spinner or particularly interested in sheep it’s a blast. Below is a gallery of photos from the festival in all its splendor! A shear-to-shaw competition, baby alpacas, beautiful skies- all the things a fiber festival should have.

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