Yesterday was possibly the most beautiful, perfect day all year and what a great way to kick off this year’s fiber festival, held at the Harford Fair Grounds at exit 217 off of I81.  These fairgrounds are wonderful to visit.  They are planted with wildflowers, there is ample parking, and real restrooms (not just port-a-potties).  This year there were so many vendors, it took two buildings to house all of the festivities.  While I was working the entrance gate yesterday, I noticed we had people come from up and down the east coast.  It is so much fun to watch this local effort grow year by year and I love reconnecting with the folks who come, either as visitors or as vendors, each year.  This is just a special gathering…not to be missed.

For the first time, I was able to watch the border collies herd their sheep.  These working dogs have such intensity and focus that I could “feel their vibe” even from a distance; certainly, the sheep they were herding weren’t going to put up any arguments!  All the commands were given with a whistle…I wish I could train the men in my household to be so obedient…sheesh.  One pop on the whistle and those dogs froze in their tracks…without taking their eyes of those sheep for a minute.  One dog was sent to herd the sheep back in.  He ran wide out around the sheep, and even before he came in close to the sheep, those sheep were running three abreast right where they were supposed to go.

There were dozens of angora rabbits for sale this year, two llamas came for their annual visit and two alpacas.  There are usually shetland sheep and some random goats as well, though I don’t remember seeing them this year.  With the livestock, all the yarn, and all the assorted other goodies (pottery, sweaters and ready knit items from alpaca, and more), this is a great family outing and very kid friendly.

There are classes to take; today there is a beginning sock class.  There are also all kinds of demonstrations…including sheep shearing.  Lunch is available and baked goods that are YUMMY in the main building…which is nice because it is close to where I do some of my volunteer work!  There is a drawing and also a silent auction…always something great to be found.  I found two balls of rainbow colored alpaca sock yarn,  two balls of alpaca from Times Remembered (my personal favorite vendor) for a shawl, some stitch markers and alpaca thick and cushy socks for my son and Uncle Dude.  There’s more but that is all I will confess to for the time being.

This is a local event that is MUST SEE! We all really believe in it and warmly welcome all visitors!

This year there were two contests:  a skein contest for the handspinners and a knit/crochet contest with scarves.  The scarf contest had six entries, and it was easy to see how much love went into each of the entries.  It is a wonderful thing to be able to share and benefit from other people’s creativity and expertise.  The winning entry this year was knit from a fine alpaca in tones of grey and brown in CREST OF THE WAVE; a timeless shetland lace pattern which is a variant of OLD SHALE (aka Feather and Fan).

The second place entry was a great stitch pattern from Barbara Walker volume 2…which according to Martha Wells is the best volume of that four volume stitch dictionary set ( I am still rather attached to volume one…so what do I know anyway?).

The other judge’s favorite was the angora lacey leaves scarf…I’m not sure if it was handspun; either way it was quite lovely.  Here is a photo of this one and photos of all the other entries.

Angora Lace Leaves Scarf

Dorothy Bosket's Prayer Shawl Stitch Scarf

Alpaca Seaman's Scarf

Fringed Basketweave Scarf in Wool

Please allow me a moment here to extend a special thank you to the judges who assisted this year, Kathy Rautenbach and Lisa Tizzoni.  It is always a delight to work with these two lovely ladies.  Thank you to JoAnn Squier, without whom these contests would not be possible, and also to Tammy, who helped put the entries together for us this year.  Kudos to everyone who participated.  Next year we will be having a mitten contest…and I will be publishing patterns and giving all kinds of helpful hints here in this blog to inspire you to create a great entry for next year’s festival!  😀

See You Again Next Year!

The Fiber Festival is open both Saturday and Sunday.  Most local people go both days…and why not?  Fresh air, sunshine and yarn.  What more could you ask for?  Take care and stop in this week to show me what you’ve been working on…remember, this is your artwork, so enjoy!xox m.e.