Posts Tagged ‘MDS&W’

Rethinking the Plans

Tapestry Mohair

Flying Goat TapestryI got four skeins of “Tapestry Mohair” yarn from Flying Goat Farm’s booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year. Long term readers may recall that I have a complicated relationship with mohair yarns in general, but I also have a weakness for locally produced fiber, and I just fell in love with the colors (I think I’ve been going on a brown-orange kick lately).

FGF tagNaturally, when I got home, I went to add my new prizes to my Ravelry stash page.  Unfortunately, this yarn hadn’t (and hasn’t) yet been entered.  I opened one skein enough to plop a ruler down by it and guestimate 12 WPI, which would make it sport weight yarn.

FGF WPIFair enough.  400 yards of sport weight mohair should make a really cute felted bag.  I did a pattern search, found a pattern for a no-sew felted bag, which called for worsted weight yarn but listed sport, figured it would work,  and popped it in my queue.

The Problem

This morning I decided it was time to at least skein, if not cast on, the project.  So I took out my trusty nostepinne…

The distance between segments is one inch, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t 12 WPI. 16 to 17 is more like it.  Which would make it light fingering to laceweight yarn.  The Ravelry database still hasn’t been updated.  I went to the Flying Goat website, and didn’t find a listing for the yarn, but there was a blog post which mentioned tapestry yarn.   What she describes certainly looks like what I have, and it’s a light fingering. So now I’m not at all sold on using the pattern, at least not as is.

The Solution

I realized I have to swatch and felt before I make up my mind.  I really don’t swatch as much as I should, so something that forces me to do it isn’t all bad.  It’s just a different process.


Yarn Diet

There are two large projects I’m considering once my self imposed summer yarn diet is over.  One is a cricket sweater for my husband (he’s a ‘universal’ sports fan, and the Peter Davidson is “his Doctor”), the other is the Aidez sweater for me.  I’ve already priced out the yarn for these projects at my LYS, and planned to use my accrued ‘frequent customer’ discount for both.

Craftsy currently has both these yarns on sale for 40% off.  I was very briefly tempted to break the diet, but when I compared the sale price to the LYS price with discount the totals (for each project) were within a dollar of each other – not counting shipping.  So I’ll stick with plan A.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light from This Knitted Life (3 July)


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Sheep and Wool Festival

Linked BorderI was only at the Festival for one day this year, but it was a very good day.  I had a lovely time.

I saw some marvelous knitting, as you can see from this really delightful linked border,  There were some absolutely fun shops, such as the yarn bus here.


There were also so many marvelous festival goers, the sheep to shawl competition, shearing and sheepdog demonstrations, and of course all the marvelous food vendors.

I have to admit, however, that I mostly go for

The Loot!

SWF loot

I got Hitch from Cooperative Press.

Flying Goat TapestryBrowns and Orange tapestry mohair from Flying Goat Farm.  I know, I know, Mohair and I have a problematic relationship, but I have a real weakness for local vendors at the S&W, it was just $5 a 100 yard skein and, besides, the colors are just so vibrant and amazing!

I’m thinking of a stranded hat here, with the orange just popping out.

Spinaway Farms BoucleThis wasn’t the only mohair bargain which suckered me in.  Early Sunday afternoon, the proprieter of Spinaway Farms booth must have seen me coming, because he put up a sign declaring all his boucle yarns at 50% off.  I scored 200 yards of mohair boucle for $6.  How could I walk past that?  The website isn’t operational yet, and he hasn’t got an entry in the Ravelry database yet, so this years festival is presumably one of his first venues.  Very exciting.

Montdale MohairI also bought a wonderful skein of worsted weight yarn from The Cavey Family Sheep and Wool company.  It’s 80% Montdale, 20% mohair (yes, I know, it’s a trend) and died orange with “Gaywood Wattle Bark”.  It’s about two shades darker than the Swanns Island fingering I got last month, I’m thinking co-ordinating hat and shawl.  They Cavey Family also doesn’t have a Ravelry presence, or even a web site.  She said she has a shop in her home, hours by appointment.  If you’re going near New Windsor Maryland you might want to give her a call at 410.635.2459.  Tell her I’m the woman who said she’ll enter something from this in next years contest, and that I said hi.

BOTI yarnLast, but not least, I picked up some yarn to knit a replacement “Bigger on the Inside” shawl. (It’s a sad story, I must have left it at a restaurant on the way from here to Ohio last year, when I was getting the younger child from school.) This is from Ashton Studio Arts, whose online store is currently down, but also has an Etsy shop,   This is another shop in the home.  I actually drove by there once and couldn’t find the place, because it’s not only in state, it’s a short drive from my home.

So, yeah, I scored lots and lots of good loot.

The Competitions

I entered three items in the skein and garment competition this year, and won a ribbon for each.  I have to admit, I’m walking about six feet off the ground right now.


Playing to the Judges doll cowl – fourth place ribbon in “Knitting for Dolls and Bears” category.  The judges really liked it, but thought that it should have been blocked.

Vexing Socks – fourth place in the “Socks – Commercial Yarn” category.  The judges liked the design.  Thought that the fairl isle technique was good, but that the top was stretched out, and that they showed signs of being worn.  Should have been washed out and blocked.

Tam of Rassillon – first place in the “Garment with more than one color of commercial yarn” category.  The judges liked the color and the finish, and said it had a beautiful hand.

So, yay!  Go me.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the Expression Fiber Arts April giveaway, the Messenger Bag from Lisa Bogart or the Merletta from This Knitted Life.

I entered the May giveaway from Lisa Bogart – a cute scissors fob (30 May).

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K is for Knitting (no surprise here)

This one is more or less a catch up post WIPs and Queue.

Current Projects

I’m almost halfway through the knit on, beaded border for the Belle Greene shawl.  I’ve slowed down quite a bit, because my LYS tells me that the blocking wires might not come in for a month or more.  Normally that wouldn’t be a thing, but I can’t enter it in next years MD S&W contest if I finish it before this years festival.  So I’m slowing down a bit.

Blue Short Rows

Just starting to turn the heel on my TARDIS socks.  It’s another no-wrap short row method, one which uses 1/2 the stitches rather than 2/3 of them like the Sweet Tomato Heel does.  I’m liking it so far, but we’ll see how it looks when done.

Laminated FootprintI finally got around to laminating the footprint, because I was carrying it around in the project bag.  That’s now safely back, tucked  into the Cat Bohrdi book I’ve got the chart all printed out, so ready to go.

Not a knitting project, but for the sake of completion I’ll mention that the pocket market bag is coming along nicely.  I should be running out of the blue just about the right time.  Worst case,  the mesh will be one round short…


I haven’t started on the Cthulhu dice bag yet.  I’m delaying because I think I migTiger Lilly Swans Islandht incorporate some leftover Atomic Limon from the Belle Greene shawl…  The next project after that will be either the beaded cuff kit from Laura Nelkin, or a shawl in some Swans Island fingering weight merino.  I’ve got the second Very Busy Monkey Scientist collection, and there are a couple of those which would look wonderful in Tigerlilly colorway.

Sheep and Wool Projects

Doll CowlEven though it looks like Belle Greene won’t make it to S&W this year, I’ve got a couple of others which will.  This little guy is basically playing to the judges.  The featured yarn this year (eligible for a special prize) is Leicester Longwool, and I had just enough stashed to make this little doll cowl.  Since there’s also a special prize designated for knitting for dolls and bears it seemed like a good plan.

Naturally, I will enter the Vexing Socks.   Yes, I did finish them.  There will be another post focusing on them later this week. I know it’s not amazing workmanship, but I’m really proud of the design.  Tam of Rassilon

I’ll also be entering the Tam of Rassillon, which is made of Maryland wool from Blue Faced Leicester sheep.  It’s not the breed of the year, but they don’t announce that very far in advance…

So that leaves three entries rather than four.  I’m OK with that.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Moogleyblog Fiber Artsy giveaway, or the Made of Change crochet hook giveaway, or the Stana’s Critters giveaway.

I entered the Fiber Flux $50 Knit Picks gift card giveaway (19 April).  A drawing for a $100 Darn Good Yarn gift certificate (30 April).  The Red Heart Dream Yarn Package from All Free Crochet  (including reflective and bulky yarns) (4 May).  The Ficstitches Crochet Kit giveaway on Mooglyblog (16 April).  Finally, a bottle of maple syrup and a skein of yarn from Vermont Grand View farm (today).

Whew!  That’s a lot of giveaways.

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Current Projects

So I finished the Win Either Way cowl.

Inside Out 2

I am really happy with the finished product but, yes, it’s definitely a love/hate relationship with the yarn.  Still, I think this yarn and stitch pattern might make an appearance again when I finally make my Cthulhu dice bag.

Next WIP is a small handbag I’m making to take to the live Welcome to Nightvale performance.  I have tickets to the March 28th show (and I’m really looking forward to it).  If I have time, I might have to come up with additional tentacular accessories to make, and I’m planning to wear my purple dress…

Missed Projects

Since there was a lot of time I wasn’t blogging, I figure I’ll just hit a few of them every post or so until I’ve covered the highlights.   First up, the Tam of Rassillon – Tam of Rassilon

This is, of course, based on the Time Lords’ Seal of Rassillon from Doctor Who.  I knit a fair amount of this while listening to audio drama from Big Finish Productions.

I used the Blue Faced Leicester I picked up from the Feederbrook Farm booth of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last year.  It’s one of the pieces I plan to enter in the festival’s contest this year.  The picture isn’t quite true to color, so maybe I’ll be able to post a better one sometime.  On the other hand, the blue really is that variegated and the green that pure.  Somehow the dye absorption was blocked by the way the skeins were tied for the blue yarn and not the green. This was my first time working with BFL and I like it a lot.  I really like the way it works on this piece, and it made it much easier for me to decide which should be the background color and which the featured.  I enjoyed the pattern as well, it was a quick and easy knit.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the $1000 giveaway from Expression Fiber Arts, the yarn and poncho giveaway from Crochet Ever After or the tote from AllFreeKnitting.

Since the last post I entered the Expression Fiber Arts  March giveaway for $1200 worth of yarn. (March 31).  I also entered Interweave’s National Craft Month Giveaway (7 individual giveaways) (March 9). Anastacia Knits Designs has a crochet pattern giveaway.

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My Newest Obsession

As I said in my previous post about the Sheep and Wool Festival,  I adore my new Nostepinne.


I find it absolutely beautiful (though not the most beautiful one the Baltimore Area Woodturners booth sold), I went for the ‘pretty’ ones first (honestly, the clean curves needed make all of them really lovely).  Dark wood always attracts me (I adore cocobola), so I went for the cedar first.  I enjoyed the demo (where we learned how to wind a center pull ball) but the tool was a little bit awkward in my hand.  I picked up another, and another, until I finally found one which felt right in my hand…ImageHonestly, I just didn’t want to put this baby down, the handle is just shaped so perfectly.  It also has grooves spaced exactly an inch apart, so it doubles as a (really big) WPI (wraps per inch) tool.

I’ve tried to find out what I could about the history of it.  Although I’ve found some assertions that it is a ‘centuries old’ device, most of that seems to be cool little bits of folklore and such.  Even Sven the Merchant, who makes cool recreations of textile supplies for a living can’t seem to get a solid date on these.  I can’t seem to get anything solid before mid 19th century, but that seems awfully late…  On the other hand, they’re so simple in function, almost any smooth stick would work, so many of them could have doubled in function as distaffs or spindles easily enough…

Current WIP

ImageDespite the above, I haven’t been obsessively measuring and balling my Sheep and Wool acquisitions.  Instead, I’ve cast on the Begonia Swirl shawl with the Carina dyed yarn from Bohemia Fibers.  So far I’m really loving it, but there’s  voice in the back of my head which warns that this yarn might be too noisy for this pattern.  Will go a bit further and then take some more pictures and see.

Even if it works, I might want to switch to a solid lace weight for the border.  Or not.  The Ravelry Project Gallery for the Swirl has a number of variegated yarns, and they seem to work surprisingly well with the pattern.  Still, I know I have a tendency to go overboard with these things…  We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.


Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I haven’t heard anything about the giveaways from the Musk Ox blog, and I didn’t win the April yarn box giveaway.

I did join the Sweater Babe pinterest giveaway.  (May 25).  Yes, this means I’ve started playing with Pinterest.  I was curious to see what Collen did with the Yellow Hen Pinterest board, then the younger child showed me what she’s done with hers…  So far I’m using it mostly as a tool to collect bookmarks for my next NaNo project (yes, even though I never even started to edit the last one… I know, I know…) and as a temporary holding place for links for the blog or Facebook.  It’s potentially a deadly time sink, but we’ll see how it goes.

Another Expression Fiber Arts giveaway, this one for $100 gift certificate. (May 18th)




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I live in Howard County, Maryland, but I’d never even heard of the Sheep and Wool Festival until after I’d joined Ravelry.  Even then, as close as it is to my home, it was a few more years before I decided I really ought to go, and then there were a couple of times when I had one of those “oh, dear, that was last weekend” moments. So I’ve only been to a handful of them.

Sometimes I’ve dragged the family along.  They bear up to it with good grace.  After all, there’s plenty to see and do even if you’re not there to devour the yarn.  Even so, they always want to leave well before I do.  I’ve gone with my knitterly sister, but she, unfortunately, has trouble with the crowds.  This year the plan was to go with a friend, but she was recovering from strep and really not up to it. So, this year, I went solo.

It was not a mistake.

Everyone is friendly.  There was never a time when I couldn’t turn to the person who just happened to be standing next to me and share my delight at some new find, and I really enjoy being able to linger as long as I wanted to over new things.

I dropped off the projects I mentioned in last month’s post on Friday morning.  There was not traffic at all getting down, and only a few cars in the lot.  The yarn bombing was already in place, though.

I was just there for a couple of hours on Saturday morning. I left home in time to get there when it opened, but realized I’d left my ‘mad money’ at home, turned around got it and came back.  That extra forty minutes was the difference between ‘this has slowed traffic a bit’ to ‘you have got to be kidding me’ density, and I ended up being directed to satellite parking.  There was a shuttle which went from the edge of the parking lot to the front gate.

There’s no charge for entry, but I made a $5 donation at the entrance.  I figure the vendors probably don’t cover the full cost of the fair, considering the amount of effort that goes into it.

My first purchases were some wonderful cranberry and horseradish chevre and some goat gouda from Caprikorn Farms. The chevre later received the 18 year old’s approval, but she found the gouda a bit too sharp.  I also got some colbere and tomae from Shepherd’s Manor Creamery.  My taster hasn’t sampled the tomae yet, but the colbere also received top marks.

ImageAfterwards I got a nice skein of Malabrigo worsted (I’ve been regretting missing my chance since last year).

It’s a lovely variegated yarn, and I’ve been thinking about trying intentional pooling for a while, so I’m thinking it might be nice for a handbag, possibly felted.  I’ve heard so many podcasters raving over their yarns, I really just wanted to see what all the fuss is about.

I also got a skein of undyed sport weight Yak fiber from Bijou Basin Ranch. I’m not sure what it wants to become, but I think it might end up playing with the buffalo sport I got from the qiviut blog contest a couple of years ago.

I went back yesterday (Sunday) morning.  This time I timed it much better, arriving there minutes after the festival gates opened.  I parked about a hundred yards from the spot where the shuttle stops at the main entrance.

I made another donation going in.  I did hear one visitor wanting to know ‘what the five dollars goes to’…?  I don’t know how she thinks the world works.  True, there is some volunteerism going on.  A boy scout troupe directs people to park and a local knitting group puts up a hospitality tent, for example.  Even so, there are a lot of labor and resources pouring into this.  If the Maryland Sheep Breeder’s Association actually makes a profit at the end of it all, I don’t have a problem with that, and I’m not sure why someone who attends the festival would*.

ImageFrom this point on it’s all sort of a happy blur.  I had to choose between sheepdog and shearing demos, because they were scheduled against each other, and I had a class which meant I could only see one.  I watched the herding, and it was truly wonderful.  I had a lamb burger (sold by the boy scout troupe which does the parking.  someone told me this fundraiser is the only one they do each year).  It was tremendously good, and not too crazy expensive for festival food.

I ended up with all kinds of awesome swag –

The lovely green and blue yarn comes from Feederbrook Farm.   It’s organically dyed DK weight Blue Faced Leicester, which I’m thinking will have to become a shawl at some point.  The suggestive looking wooden implement is a nostipinne from Mark Supik & Co. It’s a traditional tool for ball winding and oh, does it feel like it was made for my hand!  This one is actually a bit longer than I’d like, but I’ll find a way to make it work for me, because the handle is awesome.

You can’t see the sticky note, but the copy of Grounded was autographed by Heather Ordover of Craftlit. She was there the day before (This is the second or third time I’ve just missed her at events like this.  Hopefully she’ll keep coming down occasionally after she moves to Pennsylvania.)

I just had time for one more random purchase before my one class this festival.  A workshop on modular knitting by Jolie Elder.  As with all the classes I’ve taken at Sheep and Wool this one has lots of little pieces of information and philosophy which will be working their way into my knitting in general.  It was really terrific to watch as several of my fellow students had their own ‘lightbulb moments’ about the importance of selvedge treatments, or how different decreases really make a tremendous difference…  I just wish my friend Jill had been able to come along.

So that was it, except for hopping back to the bingo hall to pick up my socks and bag.


Oh, yeah.  It was a good weekend.

* If someone has a problem with the association and their aims, then showing up to the event is hypocritical.

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The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up.  Last year at the festival I bought a beautiful skein of Dark Horse Leicester Longwool from Hill Farm, specifically because I wanted to make something with native Maryland wool to enter in this year’s competition.


I was thinking of holding it together with some Queensland Collection Soft Comfort Mohair, and was planning on knitting Tubey by Cassi Rovetti, published inKnitty.  Well, I got it home and swatched and, lovely as it was, decided it would be a bit itchy for a tube top.  So, instead I knit a felted, cabled tote bag.  I used a bead I’d picked up from an Ocean City shop as a button.  The pattern is by Amanda Silvera, and it’s the Braided Cable Handle Tote. I think it’s fabulous, and will be proud to enter it in this year’s festival.


My other entry will be After Summer Merrily socks, and I’ll post about them later.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

One of today’s giveaways (yarn and a Namaste bag from Expression Fiber Arts, drawing April 30) asked me to state three things which make me happy.  I came up with

What makes me happy?
The people I love and who love me.
Learning new things, especially things which make my ‘brain all ‘splody like’.
Making things.

Craftlit’s April giveaway is for Knitted Mitts and Mittens.  Also closes April 30.  The mereknits blog’s “Chocolate Yarn” giveaway (closes April 10).  The Musk Ox blood is giving away Qiviut!!!  Drawing April 30.

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