May 09, 2005
The Sheep! The Wool!
What a weekend! I learned quite a bit about myself - it's funny really. One of the things I learned is that I'm not a casual picture taker - there are a few pictures to be sure, but only when I thought I could get something that met my (very) high standards. (You should know, these are standards I set for myself, not anyone else. I have an ideal photograph in my brain that I'm constantly striving for - it's like that ideal story that never actually makes it to the page, even though it's sloshing around my brain ALL THE TIME!) The few pictures I have will have to wait anyway - I'm down in Philly until Thursday it seems and I won't be able to process them until I'm back. So this post is commentary only - feel free to skip it if you're totally sick of Maryland and anything having to do with Sheep or Wool.
Jen picked me up Friday afternoon and after a brief panic attack on my part, we were merrily along the NJ Turnpike. We hit minimal traffic and Jen successfully maneuvered us to the Sheraton Columbia. We were both pretty beat (thanks Jen for the newly pregnant and exhausted excuse - wouldn't want people to think I was a wuss ;-) ) so we climbed into our pjs and watched some TV (Gilmore Girls!) and chowed down on Keebler Iced Animal Crackers, Craisins (the cherry kind), almonds and anything else that wasn't bolted to the wall. No sooner could you say Gyro and we were hungry again. We headed out to the mall across the street and shopped a little bit (can you believe it?!? With all that wool to be bought?) and then headed over to a personal favorite, PF Changs. A 2.5 HOUR FREAKING WAIT! Take-out is our friend. Pay-per-view is another friend. Asleep by 12:00.
It's been a very long time (not sure I can remember the last time) that I shared a room with someone who wasn't my husband or my relative. Jen was a superlative roomate. She brought along great snacks, had cute PJs (with sheep on them!), didn't mind eating in and was an extremely quiet sleeper. I was blow drying my hair Saturday morning thinking just that - wow - I didn't even hear her breathe - when she said to me - "You're a really quiet sleeper." Hey Jen - maybe we should ditch those snorers we're currently sleeping with!
Saturday morning we were on our way about 8:40. We would've been to the festival by 9:00, except everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was also on their way. We stood in a slow caravan to an open field, parked the car and headed off. Jen was over the moon after the first lamb bleet - me, not so much. I'm not a real animal person, to be honest. I thought the sheep were interesting - made some funny noises, but mostly they gave me a headache as I was walking through the stalls. Is that sacrilege? I'm sorry, but I'm nothing if not honest.
So we walk down this big hill past some barns and then we're there - in the thick of it. When we arrived at 9:08, the line to buy t-shirts was like 45 minutes long. Apparently everything that anyone would want was gone by 9:15. I did manage to get a t-shirt that I'm very happy with. (I'm wearing it right now - third day in a row - how gross is that? I'm not taking it off until Rhinebeck.) I would've loved the oh so cute hoody that Lara took home, but that's what I get for dillydallying in the yarn barns.
The one thing that really overwhelmed me was the smell of lamb cooking. It was scrumptious! My husband is Greek - so lamb is comfort food in my extended family. In fact, just last weekend we had some exceptional lamb for Greek Easter (from Niman Ranch if you're interested.) Anyway, it all smelled wonderful - although I have to admit, carnivore that I am, it was kind of weird to have the lambs in the barn and the kebobs on the bbq right next door. Still, it didn't stop me from a fantastic lamb on a roll sandwich. Mmmmmm.
Apparently, I shop for yarn the same way I shop for everything else. I'm an in and out kind of girl. If I don't see it immediately, I'm gone. And I can scope a room in like 10 seconds and know if it's there or not. In my mind I KNEW what I was looking for - yarn that I couldn't find anywhere else. Handpainted. Super soft. Unique. Something special. Alright. You can stop laughing now.
We hit Brooks Farm early in the day, so there wasn't a line to buy anything. Not only was their yarn possibly the nicest I saw all day, but they were by far the nicest vendors. Funny, accomodating, polite - even at 5PM on Saturday with their stock half gone. Kudos to you! In the morning, I bought five skeins of Four Play - four for me, and one for a SP4 Angel gift. I'm planning on making a shawl that I saw hanging in the booth - it's from The Purl Stitch book. Ingenious pattern - four rows of garter stitch on size 6 needles, two rows stockinette on size 10s - repeat until end. So simple, yet so elegant.
After walking around the festival for eight hours and hitting almost every booth twice, I managed to find myself back at Brooks Farm. I hit them up for 1500 yds of Duet. Lara and Chelsea were my handy enablers on that purchase. Thanks girls! This yarn might be my favorite purchase of the day.
I made almost all of my purchases before the 12:30 knitblogger meet-up. I kid you not. Besides the Brooks Farm, my main purchase was some gorgeous 55% mohair, 45% merino from FireSong - the colors are amazing. Rusts, oranges, and an amazing gray/blue running through. I hope a photograh can capture it. I bought 1380 yds. I'm hoping for a cardigan.
I made some gift purchases at the Peace Fleece booth - some handpainted needles and the Everday Cardigan pattern for myself. And more gift purchases at Cloverleaf Farms. I also bought something special for Vicki - it was the first purchase of my day and has nothing to do with wool or sheep or spinning or knitting. Imagine that! But it called out to me, "Vicki, Vicki, buy this for Vicki!" So how could I resist.
I have to admit, by the end of the day I had just a twinge of buyer's remorse (it seems like I kept buying the same colors over and over) and I would've loved to have lived like Jenny - she felt like she couldn't buy anything without a project in mind to go along with it. Words to live by. Also, as with any shopping experience, the less crowds the better. I also had this feeling like if I didn't buy it RIGHT THIS SECOND I'd never see it again. There was an urgency to the whole day that didn't bode well for keeping track of your purchases. I'll be smarter next time.
Walking around was quite the experience - one minute I'm completely engrossed in the yarn, the next minute I'm searching the crowds for familiar faces. The blogger meet-up was a great success and continued on throughout the day. I met Carrie, High Energy Jenny, Anne Marie, Lara, Chelsea, Sarah, Sarah, Dana, Joy, Kaitlyn, Christine, Anmiryam, Eilene, and about a million others - I'm sorry I don't remember everyone's name - but I do remember Donna's incredible Calmer Mariah. I've been dreaming about it. Really.) Lots and lots of fun - everyone!
Carolyn and I met up briefly and she gave me a yarn gift - so appropriate! - for knowing what/who FFFB were. Thank you Carolyn! I feel like I didn't get a chance to thank you right - and we barely had time to talk. And Norma was there! Norma gave me the biggest hugs of the day - except for maybe Lolly - but I'm blowing Norma's cover. She acts all tough on her blog - throwing around the Fbomb all day long - but she is the sweetest! A total sweetheart - the biggest smile each time I ran into her. And Norma, your hair looked to me to be the perfect shade of blonde. ;-)
Some of my favorite moments of the day:
- Wandering around with Carrie - especially in the sheep barns. We were standing next to this one sheep who had an especially deep bleet - I mean bottom of the barrel James Earl Jones bleet. I was saying to her, "Hey - this sheep has a really deep..." And then BLEET. (Read it like an incredibly fat man belching a six pack.) Carrie about jumped into the stall next to her. Very, very funny.
- Standing in line for lamb meat with Lara and Chelsea. That Lara is a hoot and a half. I had such a fun time with both girls. Just so nice - totally the people you want to stand in line with while waiting for lamb. Or deciding what color Brooks Farm looks best.
- Getting a call from no-voice Lolly while roaming the fairgrounds and saying - where are you? where are you? and walking right into her! I'm so glad we got to hook up! I know it was a rough weekend for you and I'm grateful I got the chance to give you a hug! Hope you're feeling better.
- Sitting on the grass swapping stories with other bloggers, eating lamb. Oh yeah. The Harlot was close by as well.
- Checking out the dog shepharding demonstration with Jen and Carrie. (Really it was sitting around on the grass chatting afterward....)
- The ride home with Jen - going over the day, planning for Rhinebeck - having her meet my babies. I'm so glad you got to see them! Aren't they the cutest?!? Could you totally feel the love?
There wasn't much I didn't love, love, love!
Things I learned for Rhinebeck:
I won't be spending the same money on yarn. I will have projects in mind. I will stay for the whole festival. I will socialize more (dinners, after hours parties - since I won't be worrying about the shopping, I can sleep in!) I will (try to) take more pictures. I will eat more lamb. Seriously. It was damn good lamb.
There was some kind of bad news. No matter how safe I tried to be, I couldn't help but catch it - I mean there were knitbloggers every where! It was probably airborne. Yeah. You know it. I caught The Clap. Pictures to come. It's not pretty (it's actually gorgeous!)
Posted by Cara at May 9, 2005 01:22 AM
Topics: Maryland Sheep & Wool
Congrats on the pregnancy! And I am sorry I missed you.
Posted by: Kathleen at May 10, 2005 06:38 AM
It sounds like you had a fantastic MSWF experience. And I take it you enjoyed the lamb? ;-)
I find the feeding frenzy aspect of these things to be overwhelming, which is kind of why I didn't mind going on Sunday, although I knew a lot of the stock would be gone by then.
Posted by: Cassie at May 10, 2005 06:55 AM
It was such a pleasure getting to read about your MS&W experience! It brought me right there with you.
I'm sorry you've caught the Clap. I'm afflicted as well. I think I'll get over it by watching a few more Buffy reruns and knitting.
Posted by: Kate at May 10, 2005 07:23 AM
You lived up to your responsibilities! I almost feel as if I've been there.
Thanks for the Brook Farm link; I've got a knit on the summer list for which that would be the perfect yarn.
Posted by: Colleen at May 10, 2005 07:25 AM
The Clap? Can you get antibiotics for that?
Glad you had a great time.
Posted by: Juno at May 10, 2005 08:45 AM
yay yay yay! Great post! And oh, the Brooks Farm. I really don't think I saw anything else that I loved so much. And you were smart to get there before the crowds closed in.
Rhinebeck? Is it close?
Posted by: Carrie at May 10, 2005 08:59 AM
P.S. Meeting you and Jen was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend!
Posted by: Carrie at May 10, 2005 08:59 AM
Sorry, were my hugs overwhelming? I was just so excited to meet you! :) We only got about 10 minutes together total, but it was SO great to meet you... I know we will meet up again soon.
Sounds like you had a great time--so glad you did... now where are those pictures? I know you had your awesome camera with you?
Take care, C.
Posted by: Lolly at May 10, 2005 09:18 AM
I'm with you on the Brooks Farm yarn. All of the fiber blends are great and all of the colors are stunning. It took forever to make a final choice.
Good to meet you, sounds like you had a great time! Hope you are having a lovely time here in Philly.
Posted by: anmiryam at May 10, 2005 09:34 AM
Oh, Cara, thank you, thank you, thank you! I just love this stuff -- prickly ol' Norma's really just a cupcake, huh? I love it!
Your description of the shopping mood reminded me a lot of what it's like at an auction 'til you figure it out and get used to it. It's so easy to get caught up in the spirit (going, going, gone!).
And I have to say, you've piqued my curiosity. Have a wonderful visit with those goslings!!
Posted by: Vicki at May 10, 2005 09:38 AM
hey! it was great seeing you, even if it was briefly... that's the problem with big groups like that. it's like - hey let's meet up! uh, now what? lol... seriously, brooks farms was THE BEST booth there. i spent all of my yarn money there (and thensome! OY!). i can't wait for rhinebeck! shall we set up a countdown now? (^_^)
i, unfortunately, caught the clap again. it happened at the harlot event. i was just too embarrassed to tell anybody. i think the proximity of knitbloggers makes it run rampant!
Posted by: joy at May 10, 2005 10:18 AM
Hey - it was great to meet you! I have a very cute picture of us from the grassy knoll (where your head doesn't look twice as big as mine ;) )
People - if you enter a contest on Cara's blog, I know what one of the prizes will be and it's FABULOUS!
Countdown to Rhinebeck!
Posted by: Sarah at May 10, 2005 10:18 AM
Fabulous entry my dear - I felt like I was there. Have fun with the kiddies!
Posted by: Wendy at May 10, 2005 10:24 AM
Cara, even though you're trying to blow my cover, it was still great to meet you. I'm glad my hair did not startle you. (I got a lot of it cut off earlier in the week because I couldn't tolerate it anymore). I got such a kick out of the cacophony of sheep voices at the end of the day. They seemed PISSED. "We've had enough of this crap. Let us out of here!"
Posted by: Norma at May 10, 2005 10:56 AM
Sounds like you had a blast. Look forward to seeing the pictures. I'm planning to go to New Hampshire S&W this weekend -- I have to agree that the thought of admiring sheep and then eating lamb sounds somewhat funny!! But, hey, I'm open to it . . .
Posted by: Kathy at May 10, 2005 02:12 PM
It was fun, Cara, and you captured it well in your post. And yes, your babies are beautiful and charming. Dave asked me after we dropped you off how come our nieces and nephews don't adore us the way yours do - it's b/c you are superauntie, that's for sure. Have a safe trip back home on Thursday!
Posted by: Jen at May 10, 2005 04:58 PM
Great recap and I'm so glad you finally caught the Clap! I tend to buy the same colors over and over, too. It's what we like, right? You'll have a great time at Rhinebeck, too and now you'll 'know the ropes'.
Posted by: margene at May 10, 2005 05:19 PM
Ha ha, the Clap. You finally caught it! It'll be one of the fastest and nicest projects you ever did, too.
Am lovin' all the MDSW news. Haven't toured the blogs in a while but I know there will be a lot of posts and pictures on it.
Posted by: MJ at May 10, 2005 07:40 PM
Hi Cara - sounds like you had a great time. I sure do wish I could have made the Saturday meet-up, but I was only there on Sunday. Is there a knitters meet up in Phila this week?? I'd love to say hi if you're still around!
Posted by: Jackie at May 10, 2005 07:41 PM
Can you please kick me for being a dork?
Posted by: Kathleen at May 10, 2005 08:05 PM
Great post...and I'm with you on the bleating. We went to a "cabane à sucre" (a sugar shack, in US-speak) and petted some sheep, and Twinkletoes informed me that sheep are "in fact, very annoying and loud animals." But they are quite tasty and according to her, good with ketchup...
So, did you say you're pregnant? if so, congratulations, mazel tov, wahoo, you go girl...if not, well, you did a lot, you were tired, anyone would be... ;-)
I haven't even met Norma and she's not prickly at all. Just...vocal :-)
Posted by: Lee Ann at May 10, 2005 08:50 PM
Hi Cara! Nice to meetcha this weekend.
Posted by: claudia at May 10, 2005 09:09 PM
It was truly great to meet you this weekend! I hadn't really read your blog before, so I didn't "know" you, but you didn't hold that against me. I just kept saying to Carrie and others with me, wow, Cara is cool. :-) I would have loved to get to know you better in a less insane environment, but for now, I'll just have to settle for reading the blog.
Posted by: sarah b. at May 10, 2005 09:27 PM
I've shamelessly eaten been seen eating lamb while tending to that same lamb's family. Yeah, I'm horrid. My one rule about lamb is that my boyfriend isn't allowed to tell me WHO I'm eating. Even that would be too much for me and, believe me, when it comes to food (especially meat) there isn't much that is too much for me.
Glad you had such a great time! I'm definitely going to have to drag the girls to Rhinebeck.
Posted by: Carma at May 11, 2005 03:56 PM
wow, sounds like you had a great time! rhinebeck, rhinebeck...
brooks farm yarn! woo hoo! i am thinking about getting some four play or duet for clapotis myself...
Posted by: mrspilkington at May 11, 2005 09:42 PM