Sheep and Wool, Sheep and Wool! The Maryland festival is my own personal Christmas for the year, so even with a 10-week-old baby, we weren’t about to miss it if at all possible. We were all feeling well enough to attempt it, so on Friday up we packed and out we went. Upon reflection, it might not have been the best idea to go on our first road trip with a baby on the day of her first immunizations, but she handled herself like a champ, sleeping off any yuckiness she might have felt.
So much happened, and it was all a bit of a fly-by-night adventure. Pretty much the best I can do at this point, typing up a blog post while trying to bounce a baby to sleep in a wrap on an exercise ball, is to give it to you blow by blow in list format. Who doesn’t love lists?
1. I would have been happy to go home just for the festival, thoughtless thing that I am, but I should have foreseen that there is no taking a fresh baby within such close range of so many relatives without allowing them access. So Friday night we got a little visit with the clan. She had napped like a superstar in the car on the way down, waking in due course for feeds. Staying up to miss her last nap, then, was a bit of a treat, and she was smiley for everyone, if a bit spastic.
2. Morning #1 of Sheep and Wool, we awoke bright and early. Being well and truly locals, we took back roads to avoid traffic, got there early, and parked in a convenient spot so that we could walk back and forth to the car to feed the babe all day. (We got creative about bottles – the pastry stand is to be commended for their graciousness in repeatedly giving us cups of hot water. Their pastries are good too.) She actually stayed asleep when transferred from car to stroller (a first), and the rest of the time I just kept her in the wrap. She napped like a champ, leaving us free to shop, and woke up on schedule to feed in a predictable fashion. For those of you who will notice: we kept her well protected from the sun except for a few pictures!
3. The weather was the best I’ve ever seen it for Sheep and Wool; it’s the first year it’s been non-blazing-hot without being torrentially rainy. Everyone was out in their sweaters, at least in the shade, and for me it was perfect birkenstock-and-sock weather. Something in me kept me from trying on my January Socks until Naomi could wear her matching pair with me. They’re still a little big for her, but her harness keeps them on, so this was the perfect opportunity.
4. Shopping! Oh glorious shopping. That was how Mom and I spent our Saturday, navigating a stroller through the crowds, wandering the booths and dropping cash. We had to stop by Cloverhill first, of course, and check out the awesome display of Mom’s goods. (We did pretty well, all things considered.)
5. As happens sometimes, my purchases ended up somewhat themed. Primarily consisting in little bits of fiber that I can spin just for fun however I like, my purchases were in two categories: really loud reds and oranges, and gentle teal green stuff. With an outlier from Fiber Optics that was, well, an outlier. I bought some yarn as well, some in each category – both are long-term investments in a future project that I’m still not quite ready to talk about. Sometime in between the periods of “next year” and “someday.”
6. The one bit of Sheep and Wool that I absolutely cannot miss ever is the spin in. Not only is it the first chance I’ve had to spin in months, but it’s my annual hangout with Rivkah, and just being in a room with so many intense spinners is a bit heady. Without it my spinning career would probably languish, because I can’t seem to make it to any local spinning groups around here to keep me motivated.
Naomi did so well all day that Mom talked me into keeping her with us for the evening (I was going to drop her off home with Jared to be put to bed). She did well for a good long while, charming the handspun socks off everyone present, but had her evening meltdown right on schedule. Mom gave me a chance to spin, strollering her around the empty barns, and eventually I bounced her back to sleep in the wrap. I was trying to finish the silk hankie I started last year, and discovered that a sleeping baby will let me spin, and a not-sleeping baby will let me prepare fiber and make little nests of silk to spin from.
7. On Sunday we couldn’t quite get ourselves out of bed so early, and there weren’t so many crowds to fight for parking. So we managed to get there just in time to see the conclusion of the sheep-to-shawl competition. That was very cool, since we’d gotten to see the beginning last year. I love that every team wears costumes, and has a fancy display explaining their design choices. This is fiber nerdery at its finest. One day, folks, one day. I didn’t catch who won; does someone who was there want to tell me in the comments?
8. Jared got to visit his favorite spot at the fair: the Ameripaca tent, where there are always a few of the beasties there to talk to. And talk we did; we made those funny little honking noises they make, and confused the heck out of Mr. White Dreds in the back. He kept looking around and honking back as if to say, “Who’s talking? What did you just call my mother?” I quizzed the attendant on costs, and found out that if you get a gelding, they’re really cheaper to buy and keep than a medium-sized dog. Aside from the fact that they’re herd animals, so you can’t get just one, that’s a pretty good deal. I still haven’t worked through the 2 or 3 lbs of alpaca in my cedar chest, and would really rather get sheep, but far be it from me to resist any inclination towards farming or fiber animals shown my my husband.
7. We were so blessed to be allowed to do so much with Naomi. I am just grateful it went so well; it was a huge gift. As for Naomi’s verdict on her first Sheep and Wool experience? “You can put me in a wrap and walk me around a new exciting place all day anytime you want, mom.”