Monday, May 07, 2007

Mary's Excellent Adventure - Part 3

Whew! What a wonderful, whirlwind weekend! The experiment was a success -- my adventure was definitely excellent!

If you've been following along, you've already read my accounts of Friday and Saturday. Sunday, I came back to the Howard County Fairgrounds for more fibery fun.

After the anticipation and rush and press of Saturday, I decided to take my sweet-old time Sunday morning. I didn't set an alarm, and fully expected to sleep in until 9:30 am or so, as tired as I was Saturday night. But I woke up at 7:30, thinking about how I'd forgotten to mention in Saturday's post that I'd also seen my friend Bess and her Spirit Trail buddies. So I hopped out of bed to edit that post, and lo and behold, Bess had already commented on it, no doubt noticing my unintentional omission. (Sorry 'bout that, Bess! It's fixed now!)

Anyway, after puttering around the hotel room, checking email, reading a few blogs, packing, eating breakfast and showering, (still taking my sweet time), I checked out and was on my way to the fairgrounds around 10 am. This time, I didn't care what time I arrived or if my parking place was farther away. I felt refreshed, renewed, invigorated, and was up for a longer walk to and from the car.

Sunday dawned cool and breezy and absolutely gorgeous. I could not have ordered better weather. Some folks might have thought it a bit too chilly, and/or a bit too windy. I thought it was absolutely perfect -- even better than Saturday's cool, overcast but slightly humid weather. Of course, it all depends on how warmly one is dressed.

As soon as I stepped out my car, I knew it was time for a wardrobe change. I had worn my green tencel jumper, but had walked no more than ten yards from the car when I knew the cool breeze was going to make dress-wearing uncomfortable. So I very carefully shimmied on some sweatpants and a sweatjacket, took off the jumper, pulled my hair into a ponytail and threw on last year's MS&W hat, and was on my way. Not that anyone cares what I was wearing -- I'm writing this more for my own benefit -- to remember next year what I did this year. [Note to self: Crocs (my Sunday footwear) with socks are more comfortable than my current pair of tennis shoes (my Saturday footwear).] [Another note to self: wearing sunscreen is a great idea after last year's sunburn, but remember to reapply after a few hours -- I still got a little pink on my nose and neck and chest.]

Just like last year, the crowds were MUCH more tolerable on Sunday than Saturday -- it was like an entirely different event, and I felt happy and inspired (rather than pushed and exhausted) all day long. You could actually get into booths, and people weren't bumping into you right and left. I find the constant bumping-into exhausting. I always try to apologize to people if I bump into them, yet it amazes me how few other people are as polite in large crowds. One woman walked by me and actually knocked items out of my hand, but didn't even stop or slow down. The other exhausting element of a large crowd is the slow-moving-ness of it. I'd much rather walk faster, with longer strides, but when caught in the main building or a barn behind tons of people who move randomly and stop constantly, you're forced to walk at a slow shuffle, which, on hard concrete, quickly takes a toll on one's joints. (Or at least mine.) Ibuprofen take me away!

Here's a glimpse at the crowds:

On Sunday, I was actually able to get inside The Fold's booth, and lo and behold, they still had some Socks That Rock left. They had a few hanks of their heavyweight merino sock yarn in a handful of colorways, also some of the merino/tencel blend, and some of their dyed roving. Definitely better than last year, when it was all gone in an hour. I didn't buy any this year -- I can buy it from the BMFA website, if the mood strikes, but right now I've got a ton of sock yarn and I'm not knitting socks! I would have liked to have seen their cotton sock yarn which they call "Sock Candy", but I didn't see any.

Anyway, enough whining about the crowds or gushing about the weather. I mentioned being inspired on Sunday. One of the best parts of the event, in my opinion, is getting to see the entries in the Skein & Garment Competition. Here's one item from it that I just really loved:

I am a sucker for color
I took a ton of pictures of that competition, plus a ton more of various inspiring items in vendors' booths, and of course, lots of fibery-animal pictures. Too many pictures for this here blog post, but for those of you who would like to see more, I invite you to view my MS&W 2007 Flickr photoset. (May I suggest viewing them via "Detail view", if you want to see photo titles and descriptions, or via "Slideshow", if you'd rather just flip through them quickly -- be sure to set the speed to your preference.)

Speaking of animals, here's a lovely lady on her way to being judged:

...right next to the Pit Lamb barbecue:

I had a pit lamb sandwich for lunch, and enjoyed every bite, without a twinge of guilt. I have no problem with lamb being sold as food at the same event where they're shown as livestock. I love lamb, whether cuddly, warm & cute on my lap, or warm on my plate. I suppose I'd make a good farmer's wife.

After my lamb lunch, I walked over to the Sheep-to-Shawl competition area. The actual competition was already over, but they hadn't yet awarded prizes or auctioned them off. I had a feeling I'd run into friends there, and sure enough, there was Nancy & Patsy enjoying the sunshine:

I sat with them for a bit and then the prizes were awarded. The auctioneer is wearing a blanket which has a wonderful story surrounding it:

I have a better picture of the blanket out on Flickr, and the story is in that picture's description, and also in the next two pictures, here and here. It's a tear-jerker!

Here are the shawls woven in this year's Sheep-to-Shawl competion -- all completed, from sheap-shearing to spinning to loom-weaving, in three hours time:

Left: Second place winner
Right: First place winner


The second place shawl was my favorite, because I just love those colors:

I didn't stay to see how much they auctioned off for, but if it was anything like last year, they probably went for about $500 a piece.

Down in the main building, I ran into Indigo Muse's Tanya, shopping with her fellow Roanoke-area friends. It was nice to chat with her for a bit. I missed Jane's phone call earlier in the day, but spoke to her just as she was leaving -- it just wasn't in the cards for us to hang out, I guess, and that's okay. I had a lovely time all-by-myself. (Don't I sound like a little kid? Look mommy -- I tied my shoes. All. By. Myself!)

Also on Sunday, I finally managed to get into the MS&W merchandise barn:

...and bought some swag, which, will be revealed along with all my purchases, in tomorrow's final post about the weekend. I hate to drag this out any more than necessary, but I've already spent enough time and energy writing today's post and organizing the pictures and the videos.

Videos, you say? Why yes, there are videos! This is a multi-media report!

Another nice thing about Sunday -- because of the smaller crowds, one is actually able to get up close to the various musicians playing. And so I thought that those who were not able to attend would enjoy getting just a tiny taste of the sights and sounds of the weekend. So, here are three short (12 seconds or less) videos for your viewing and listening pleasure:

(Feedblitz subscribers go here to view embedded videos.)

After I'd seen and bought everything I wanted to see and buy, I left around 3 pm on Sunday, and as I stood at my car and looked back towards the tents at the fairgrounds, this was the lovely Sunday sky that greeted me:

And as I pulled out of the parking lot, I was greeted by yet another pastoral scene:

And I headed on down the road:

Once on the Beltway, I passed by Cinderella's Castle:

And made my way to I-95 South, which was backed up, as usual, around Fairfax. But armed with my trusty GPS receiver, I took the next exit and drove around the backup, down Route 1, for the next 20 miles. After I'd had enough stop-and-go, 35 mph traffic, I hopped back on I-95 and headed home, armed with my trusty fuzzbuster, at a considerably faster rate of speed. I made it home in three hours, and passed miles and miles of back-up on I-95 North, most likely race traffic. And I thanked God for my love of fiber rather than Nascar!

Tomorrow: the Big Reveal!


Nikki said...

I can't wait to see all the loot!!!

and ya know, you can love fiber and NASCAR (but I still hate 'race traffic' :) )

Linda said...

Thank you Mary! I enjoyed your account of the days and look forward to seeing your loot AND hearing more tomorrow night. Loved all the photos, too. - made up (a little) for my not being able to do. ...Linda

Amie said...

LOL - one of my dear friends is dead center of your crowd shot (in the red cardigan)

Glad you had a good time!

Coleen said...

Amie sent me over here - too funny that I'm in the middle of that picture!

Having a Knit Fitt said...

Thanks for your detailed posts. I am really enjoying them.

Robin said...

Great posts, Mary!! My loot is still in the back of the car. I'll unload it tomorrow when I get home. It will all seem new again to me! If I go next year, I'm going to think about making Sunday the day to visit.

Robin said...

Whadda get...Whadda get????

Great post...looks like you had a fantastic time!