Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival--A Fun Weekend

I've been off knitting socks on my circular sock machine trying to get ahead of my sock yarn stash. I did a pretty good job of it. Another reason for cranking out socks nonstop was to get my Legare machine revved up for a demonstration I was to take part in at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past Saturday. What a blast I had there this weekend!!

I arrived before the public opening on Saturday morning and was allowed to park near a door at the Main Exhibition Hall because I had my sock machine to unload later in the day. I spent the whole morning shopping the Festival. Unfortunately my favorite sock yarn vendor, Koigu, was not there this year. Many people make sure to get there early just for the Koigu mill ends at half price. Mine wasn't the only face showing disbelief and disappointment when learning of Koigu's absence.

I recovered quickly and immediately set out to see who else might have sock yarn of interest. However, I have such a sock yarn stash I limited myself to sock yarn bargains--of which I found few. In fact, I bought yarn for only one pair of socks to hand knit and a couple of cones for sock machine knitting. My main yarn purchases of the weekend were a sweater kit, Pastel Stars, from Philosopher's Wool and 12 skeins of a bargain cotton blend yarn from Little Barn that might one day become a ruana from the pattern in Sally Melville's Knit Stitch.

The MidAtlantic Region Sockknitters (MARS) sock machine demonstration in which I was to participate was scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Main Exhibition Hall. Having parked at the wrong end of the building it took me a while to maneuver my equipment through the throngs of shoppers in the aisles and arrive at the demo area. Some of the group was already cranking. I got there just in time to unpack, unwrap, set up and start where many interested people could see the whole operation from beginning (pulling a machine out of a carrier) to end (making a stockinette sock with ribbed cuff).

Here I am standing to give someone else a chance to crank.

She gets the feel of it.

Barb (peach blouse) oversees a cranking.

Barb and Gregory (in black) answer questions.

As the day winds down, Stephanie (brown print blouse) answers questions with a smile.

Joyce works on her machine. Notice her stand and color coordinated packing boxes. The stand is a work of art made from a stained bar stool and colorful Formica. The shelves come off for packing and transporting. The two machines are transported attached to the shelves in the crates. It's all her design and she made them all herself. Compact, colorful, attractive. Fabulous!

The demonstration was a huge success. There were many people interested in the sock machines, men and women, and a surprising (to me) number of those people have machines. Many of them have not gotten as far as making a sock or even getting a decent tube. Some have hardly touched their machine since they got it. They were glad to find us there and thrilled to see a sock made.

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2007 was a wonderful weekend for me even without Koigu. Our circular sock machine demonstration was the icing on the cake. I witnessed only one incident of displeasure the whole weekend. I captured it in a photograph.

"B-a-a-a-aaa. I don't want my leg hair combed!"

The Sock Lady