Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Maryland Sheep & Wool Roundup

Ah, Maryland Sheep and Wool. Marvelous animals, gorgeous yarns, and kindred fiber-minded spirits.

The highlight for me was meeting Nanney Kennedy of Seacolors yarns . She's a dynamo, who raises her own sheep and solar dyes her yarns, with seawater as a mordant (get a wonderful glimpse into her world with this little video). I was so excited to meet her because I'd been reading about her farm and dyeing in Shear Spirit, a new book that profiles life on ten US fiber farms.

It's a beautiful book, and I want to talk about it for a moment because it was kind of a theme for who I talked to at the wool festival. I got to meet and praise the photographer, Gale Zucker, who captured the farmers and animals in such a magical way. I didn't get to meet the author, Joan Tapper, but I would've sought her out if I'd had more time; her writing is rich and natural, and she has a wonderful way of drawing out the stories of these farms.

I've been savoring the book over the last couple of weeks, reading a few pages with my morning coffee and fantasizing about living such an authentic, rural, creative life. Makes me want to pack up, move back to Vermont, and find myself some alpacas and angora goats! Seriously! Look at their Shear Spirit blog and see if you don't start fantasizing too.

Anyways, after reading about Nanney in the book, I was incredibly excited to happen upon her at the wool fest. We had a great conversation about green knitting. I had to run off to the Ravelry meetup and, unfortunately, ran out of time before I could come back and buy some of her amazing yarn. I'll be back in New England for a good part of the summer, though, and I hope to make a pilgrimage to Maine to find her and her yarn there.

The other dyer that I'd read about in Shear Spirit and met at the festival was Jody McKenzie of Botanical Shades. She is a natural dyer who partnered with Tregelly's Fiber Farm in Massachusetts, although she's now moved to Maine. I bought some gorgeous naturally-dyed mohair locks from her, which were my sole purchase of the festival.

The only downside to the day is that I didn't leave nearly enough time to see it all. I'd completely underestimated the scale of the festival and its subsequent traffic, lines, and slow-moving crowds. The main casualty of this was the Ravelry Meetup. I showed up right on time to see Jess and Casey come in, where they were treated like rock stars (cameras, applause!).

(if you look hard, you can see them entering towards the left)

Since it was crowded and hard to circulate right then, I decided that I'd come back a bit later. But by the time I got back, hardly anyone was there and they were out of buttons. Drat! Next time I'll leave more time and strategize more carefully. I'm already planning for next year!


Knit Witch said...

Thanks for the tip on the book! I will definitely check it out!

alisa said...

quite the event indeed!

Christine said...

Welcome back and Congrats!

You won my blog contest. Send me an email @ clumsygrrl @ gmail . com and give me an address to send your prize to you at. Im going to incorporate knitting and spinning prizes... so you'll get a bit of both.

Looks like you had a lot of fun at the festival. I hope to make it out there one day.