September 14, 2018
This festival has got it all! Lambs just born, sheep shearing demos, a sheep herding dog competition, costume and lead line junior events, a fleece sale, sheep to shawl competition, make it with wool competition, silent auction, sheep milk ice cream, and as always - a fabulous selection of vendors in the marketplace! There were even a couple of fiber mills present where you could drop off fleeces to be processed. Whether you like to prepare freshly shorn fleece or craft from finished yarn, there’s plenty for you to enjoy at this festival. The weather was perfect, and the company was fabulous!
My favorite thing from this festival was hands down the just born lambs. On Friday afternoon I saw 2 lambs who were only a couple of hours old. They were still trying to figure out how to get milk from mama. It was both adorable and hilarious! They both kept trying to suck mom’s front armpits. Then one tried the other lambs ear for a bit. When I watched the lambs again later that day and throughout the weekend they had obviously gotten the hang of it. The University of Wisconsin's Agricultural Department has a class where they teach how to plan to get the sheep pregnant naturally with timing so that the lambs are born during the WSWF. This year there was a black lamb born on the way to the festival, two born Friday, and two born Sunday! There is also a youth program where the kids and teens take it in shifts to monitor the ewes and lambs.
I stayed after the market on Saturday to see the Junior Costume and Lead Line competitions. These took place after the Best of Show for the Sheep Competition so we also caught the "tail" end of that! 😉It was fascinating to see the different breads of sheep. This one pair of boys was particularly determined to do a good job!
There was only one costume but it was ADORABLE. Oh my goodness, so much cute!! The boy was around five and his sister and cousin in the cheerleading outfits were only two. At one point the sheep slipped out of her lead line and it took three adults to catch her and settle her down. Everyone was absolutely fine, but it did make my heart skip a few beats!
After the costumes there was Lead Line. This event has kids wearing something made with wool and leading their sheep around the arena. Some had help to make their outfits, and others had relatives make them. The boy in red sewed his own vest with the help of his aunt! He was quite dapper.
Next up was the Sheep to Shawl contest! Competitors started out with just a freshly shorn fleece and a pre-warped loom. The goal of course was to see how large and complex a piece could be carded, spun, and woven in a set time during the weekend! Looking forward to watching this team event again at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in just a few weeks - will I see you there?
I was particularly blessed at this event to have a stellar team of helpers! My friend Debbie was my main travel companion (and booth babe, as she puts it 🤭). Carmella, one of my Ravelry Group mods, lives near enough and drove in to enjoy the event - as well as to help out Saturday and Sunday.
The best surprise of the weekend was Sheila turning up! She is a fan and friend who has knit more of my patterns than anyone else. She is also one of my go to people if I want an extra sample knit. To my delight she had her Ways to Grow Shawl on her, and it was just so stunning that I had to put it on straight away! Keep an eye out on my social media for a release date on this piece - I can't wait to expand my newest, Reading Rainbow-inspired collection!
I had a few wonderful specials for this event, including beads that only travel to shows with me. These "Rare Breeds" are a unique find, and a great reason to stop by and say hello when you're at an event! As always, there was a secret code phrase to win a free gift with any purchase...did you know what it was this time around? 🎁
The highlight of my selection for this weekend was a trip to the seaside with Abalone! These beachy treasures seemed like just the thing to wrap up summer and bring some lovely memories into the cooler months. The silver version is available here!
Stunning String Studio was gracious enough to send me some speedy yarn mail for this event, and the kits that came out of it were truly well...stunning! I've designed two patterns so far with their wonderfully soft yarns, and I can't wait to start on another. Check out Suavest Ease Hooked and Intrepid Ardor over on Ravelry!
On Sunday I played a little hookie (shh...it's our secret!) and had the chance to explore the festival. I got to visit a few fabulous indie dyers and find some beautiful yarn and pin pairings. Keep an eye out on my social media over the next few weeks for more pics, but I'll share a few highlights with you right now!
First up, my wonderful booth neighbor-Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill!
They provided a lovely background of colorways for one side of my booth, and you know a shawl pin is jewelry for your yarn! This red is a bit outside my comfort zone but really appealed to me. Check them out here!
Knitting Notions had a stunning Sapphire colorway that was just begging to be photographed with my September Birthstone pin. I'm looking forward to seeing her again at A Wool Gathering and Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest!
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Sun Valley Fibers is a local dyer from Wisconsin. She had quite a few fun pairings for my Dunalastair Shawl!
It's always delightful to see Kathleen from Mode Knit Yarn. This time I was particularly drawn to her variegated colorways. This pastel, yet bright rainbow was fascinating...and you know exactly what I had to pair it with!
Fiber Optic made an excellent showing at the festival - stunning, vivid colors everywhere! Her new unified gradient cakes were begging for photos. The Scottish Thistle and Dr. Who were what jumped into my hands first. I love supporting a fellow Ohio Artisan, though I'm sad that I won’t get to see her gorgeous yarns again until DFW Fiber Fest!
Zero yarn this time! The last of my top picks are fun finds that I can't wait to try out. The sheep milk lotion from Maple Hill Farm is amazing! It absorbs quickly and leaves your skin super soft. The triangle bag is from Kitchen Counter Crafter. The unicorns were screaming my name pretty loud! Lastly, I came across hand-dyed, felted wool scraps from In The Wool. I love the idea of hand appliqueing wool butterflies to a bag...or I might just turn them into a scarf!
To wrap things up for today, I wanted to sneak in a pic from my one hour vacation at the South Bend Chocolate Company. What a way to end the trip and kick off the road trip home! What are your favorite places to stop while travelling to and from shows?
Wondering where to find me next? Head on over to my Events page here!
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