I made the trip to MD Sheep and Wool again this year. Got to spend some quality time with my friend Steven. This picture of a cute man in a kilt is in homage to Steven's Bear(d)s of MD Sheep and Wool study.
My purpose for being here again this year was to help Ozark Carding Mill in the booth and sell the Unicorn Fibre Wash products. Gail and Jim White are my first Fiber Festival Friends, and I learn a lot about fiber and spinning just by being near Gail. Some of the perks of being a vendor at the show are: get in Friday to preview the entire show during vendor set-up, special stalls for vendors only in the ladies room, vendor discount on some purchases (I stayed within budget and stuck to items on my list--made it seem like I really needed all of the things I bought that way,) and easy access parking when you get to go through the vendor gate and park right behind the main building. The picture with the umbrellas is from when Steven and I first went to the wrong Thai restaurant. The right one did not have the umbrellas, but it did have wonderful food.
I went home from Maryland a little tired, and stayed home only for one day. Then I was off to Carlisle, PA for the long-anticipated spinning and knitting retreat. Ever since Beth Smith (of Spinning Loft, in Howell, MI) told me about it, last year, I knew I had to be there. I put it in my calendar and then kind of forgot about it (until it was time to pay and stuff.) The Pheasant Field Bed and Breakfast was a great setting. In the mornings, we spun for lace yarn. I was not the fastest, or the best, or even the funniest spinner there. Although I got a few good laughs. I was able to spin finer and more consistently than I ever have before, partly from the magic of being near Beth, who is the boss of me in many ways, and partly from making wheel adjustments and slowing down a little. I still have issues with too much twist in both my singles and my plying, but I will keep practicing, and I have a firm commitment to making sample skeins and swatching.
In the afternoons, ANNE HANSON (she rules!) taught us advanced lace knitting, and I worked on techniques and started the Pine and Ivy shawl. I really struggled with it in the class and had to start over about 5 times! Now that I am home, I am working on it, a few rows a day, first thing in the mornings and it is totally fine.
Anne Hanson is an incredible designer, teacher, knitter, and spinner. One of the best things I took away from her teaching is the importance of making good decisions about yarn and pattern for a project. It's more than just the weight of the yarn and gauge. Like a lot of creative people, Anne is good at a lot of different things. She is also very funny. She is a terrific blogger, and she did some nice posts on the retreat. Check out her blog and Beth's too. Bottom line: if you were thinking of going on this retreat and didn't, too bad for you--you missed a great time.