Sheep and Wool

Posted by on Sunday, May 14th, 2006

This has been really hard to write, because there is simply too much to say.  Each day really was several days long.

Every year, I go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival to help out at the Tuatha booth.  In theory, demonstrating Iron-Age wool-, leather-, and flax-working techniques and discussing Hallstatt, La Tene, and later ancient artistic styles allows me to give my friends a hand at the booth, teach some interesting things to the public, and protect my wallet a bit from the huge ball of temptation that is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

This year was a bit different.  I was fragged from having to work like mad to meet a crazy deadline at my new job on the Thursday before the Sheep and Wool festival, and by the general upswing in work for my own festival, PCF.  By Thursday afternoon, I was downright punchy, what with the ten-hour days and the not enough sleep.  And then Thursday night I got a visit from my muse at about 3:00 a.m., and she wouldn’t rest until I was in my studio, pen in hand, writing, well, something that may have once been part of the lexicon but went astray.  The new myth-poem isn’t done yet, but let’s just say I was either visited by genius, or I’m engaged in true hubris.  And then the beltway was closed on Saturday morning while I was driving to the festival, so, yeah,  I was punchy when I showed up.   I read Mary a snippet of the new piece, and she seemed to like it, so I was all bouncy, the way I get when I think I’ve spewed out some words that are worth keeping, and maybe even saying more than once, in public, possibly into a microphone.  And then:

That’s, whew, that’s what made me twice as bouncy.  The man in the next booth came over to see if I had, in fact, a tail that is a spring.  Never been asked that before, me.  Brooke gave it to my Saturday morning, on behalf of Tinsmith.  Mary polished it.  It’s full of bugs.  It’s huge.  Seriously huge.  The size of my palm.  I’ve been selling Tinsmith CDs at their gigs for a while now.  I do it because I like their music, and because I love Brooke and Mary, and because it just makes sense to me–you help your friends, you know?  It’s what you do.  And they’ve tried to pay me a bunch of times, and I always refuse.  Well, I guess they showed me, huh?  I’m gobsmacked.

Anyway, I didn’t end up doing a whole lot of demos on Saturday.  My brain was all a-sizzle, and I had money burning a hole in my, er, no pockets–here sir, please take this money and give me something for it!  Yes!  Hickory stools!  I need two.  Have you seen this?  It’s full of bugs!  Where are you going?

(I love these stools, and the guy who makes them is a hoot.  And a great fiddler.  I’ve been trying to buy some for years, but I’m always too late.  Now I have two and, er, I have no idea where to put them.  )

And then I got back to the booth with some small furniture and the largest eclair in the world, or maybe it was ice-cream for breakfast, and Mary said a tall blond was looking for me.  And I wondered . . . Is Juno a tall blond?  I mean, she knows I’m dressed like a freak, but I don’t think I know what she looks like.  I should sit still!  Ooh, crap, I’m incapable of sitting still.  . . . And all sorts of friends were dropping by, and there was chatter and snacking and oohing and aahing over their purchases and some sketchy plans to buy everything at the entire festival.

So that’s what I was like for the first several hours.  Etaine also had a hearing of the new bit of verse, and she didn’t call for a good smiting, so I think it has promise.  And Jill giggled a lot when she heard it, and I think she out-bounced me.  So, you know, it may make a debut on a stage next month.  Sheeeww, no smiting.

And then I snuck over to the Knitters Review lunch, which was a hoot.   I met a bunch of people I’d only known from the forums, and I saw some of my local knitter pals, and I was driven to distraction by jealousy for all of their delicious woolen bits and bobs.  I saw Clara and Amy and Anita and Jayme and her sis Jennifer and Carol and e_looped and Vi and Ms. Glickafar and Purlewe and Naomi and all sorts of folks.  Forgive me if I left you out, my brain was sizzling, after all.

And then there was a tall blond woman at the booth, and it was Juno, and she’s as great in person as she is online.  And the amber at the Tuatha booth sucked her in while I had to deal with some emergency Celtic Festival business (I swear, it’s like a child sometimes, that festival). And Juno was with Rachel H.  and Cassianna and the Village Knittiot and Mr. Knittiot.  So I played hookey and we found what was left of the delicious cormo from Ohio, which Etaine’s sis Michelle had scored.  It will be spun up on Juno’s new wheel, which we then went to meet.  It’s gorgeous.  I got to spin on it a bit, and I’m too short for it, I think.  I love it anyway.  A huge crowd formed around Juno and that wheel.  It’s a work of art.  It’s treadle is more elegant than many whole wheels I’ve seen.

And I got some felt-food:

Which has a great destiny, oh yes, and it will meet that destiny on the Potomac Delta.
And a tiny bit of sockyarn:

Because wet-felting on the Metro may land me in jail, and a girl needs a hobby.

And then we all just sat in the shade between the barns, chatting.  It was wonderful.  I was finally still, and I was with folks I had just met, and I could bear stillness with, well, folks I’d just met.  Gorgeous.  Rest.  Interchange and colloquy and conversation .  .  . you see where I’m going.

But I knew I’d left Tuatha ages before, so I eventually went back to see if Brooke or Mary needed a break.  And Mary called on me to blow my (long-horn cattle) horn many many times.  Really, that may have been the activity that most filled the weekend.  That darn horn.  It turns me into a dancing monkey.  I had to call on Jill as a relief-hornblower,  there were so many calls for the horn.  Late Saturday afternoon, we learned that boy scouts will respond in droves if they hear the horn, but rather than offering assistance to the woman blowing the horn, they will ask to
a) have the horn or
b) play the horn  or
c) know where I got the horn, and upon learning it is far away and inaccessible to boy scouts
d) ask over and over and over if they can “please please PLEEEEEEEEZE have the horn.   Or” (whisper whisper) “buy it for  . . .” (mutter, turn in unison towards the chatty scout, look in their pockets, and count) “buy it for $7.21.  Please.  Oh come on,  please, lady.  Drat.”

There may have been a wormhole involved, what with the lead boyscout saying “drat.”  I can’t decide if it was funny or if that lead scout was painfully sarcastic.  Wait, no, it was both funny and painfully sarcastic.  Guard your daughters.

Sunday morning was for shopping.  I had to buy at least three presents at Sheep and Wool:
A birthday present for my Step-dad, who is a wood guy:

Check: spalted ash box from Enchanted Forest.

A mother’s day present for my mother-in-law, who is a quilter:

Check and check: a magnetic pin-holder and a gorgeous seam ripper.  There’s a chance I got one of each for myself, but I’m not admitting anything at this point.  Just, um, draw your own conclusions.

And a mother’s day present for my Mom, which I knew Tuatha would provide:

Che-he-he-heck.  A lovely piece of stained glass, from the hands of Mary O.  The center panel is particularly great, but tough to photograph–it’s etched on one side with some New-grange inspired spirals and on the other with a swirly moon.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  This will be hard to hand over. When you expose your loved ones to your favorite artists and artisans, you dig yourself a deep comfy hole, I tell you.

And then I got down to brass tacks.  Two Golding spindles, the little,

And the big:

Soap, for a fun project with the girls on the Western Shore next weekend:

Some mohair roving and locks, for the best present I may ever make anyone:

Wow, I hope I can pull this off.

A tiny bit of spinning fiber:

A touch of Lincoln, for that big special felt project.

And a cherry nostepinne:

Mad.  Mad, I say.  I’ve never bought so much in so short a period of time.  Except maybe when we bought our house–the house is bigger I guess, but it didn’t involve so many bags.

So then Sunday afternoon I hung out with friends and relaxed and spun.  It was a fantastic weekend.  I don’t think I can wait another whole year to do it again.

P.S.    As I unloaded the car Sunday night, I forgot to close the door to my studio.  I heard a rustling noise, and turned to see my 8 pound pint-lion dragging the entire bag of Lincoln roving down the stairs.  When he got it to the bottom of the steps, he opened it up, climbed inside, and started huffing

He put up a real fight when I took it away.

And then he just stood guard.  In his own kitteny way, he was saying “All I wanted was a Pepsi, just a Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me. “

Yarrow is a wool thief.  And an addict.  I live in fear.  What if he gets Speedwell hooked too?  What if they get a taste for llamas?

Filed in Celtic,felting,knitting,spinning | 7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Sheep and Wool”

  1. Junoon 15 May 2006 at 2:07 pm 1

    I was totally going to buy that stained glass – I loved the swirly moon thing. But then I saw the necklace and that was that. But still…funny.

  2. Aeson 16 May 2006 at 9:03 am 2

    Why do the spindles have rice in them?

  3. laneaon 16 May 2006 at 11:21 am 3

    Because I can spin rice, Aes. Can’t you? : )
    They’re standing up in a little bowl of rice so they’re easier to photograph, because I have yet to grow a third hand and the pets are no help.
    I woke up sarcastic today for the 11,680th day in a row.

  4. lellaon 17 May 2006 at 2:31 am 4

    You are so entertaining. Off the Charts!


    Thanks so much Lanea, for being you and for blogging. Gul! What can I say:

    ” and there was chatter and snacking and oohing and aahing over their purchases and some sketchy plans to buy everything at the entire festival.”

    That boy scouts and the horn thing is fabulous. And I’m so glad that you didn’t get a smoting, neither. nee nee!

  5. mapgirlon 18 May 2006 at 11:27 am 5

    Nice haul from MDSW. All of you ppl make me wish I went, but I’m so glad I didn’t. My pocketbook and WIP’s thank me too. I gotta get a move on my WIPs and show them some TLC.

    Good seeing you this week. 🙂

  6. Teyanion 19 May 2006 at 12:15 am 6

    looks like a fabulous time was had – great stash enhancements!

  7. The Purloined Letteron 19 May 2006 at 2:49 pm 7

    I love Tinsmith! My 7yo son plays their newest at least once a day, and I gave an older CD to my brother for the holidays and he is spreading their name all over South Carolina. Do you know if they will be at the Celtic Festival? (And will you? I’ll stop by to say hi!)

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