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A Saturday afternoon, May 2016: another hard-knitting Upper West Side mom and I drove down to Maryland. On Sunday morning, we hit the parking lot just as the gates were opening for the second day of the famed Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

Spoiler alert: I had a great time.

As a veteran Rhinebeck pilgrim, I found it deliciously weird to be having such a Rhinebeck-y day in May, instead of October. But it was, essentially, the same wonderful kind of day.

There were sheep.


And little kids who keep sheep.


These two girls were determined not to be constrained by stupid pink ropes.


Hashtag #team604.


No pan flutes, but this group was good.


In the Main Exhibition Hall, I stopped by the Modern Daily Rug Hooking Guild booth—seeing as how we’re practically cousins. I had a fascinating conversation with a lady who was hooking an exquisite botanical-themed rug using very narrow strips of dyed fabric. I had never seen such finely shaded work.


This is just the purples. (Note the purple shirt.)

As we said goodbye, I asked her name. “Violet.”

Every year Violet has a rug in the Maryland State Fair. “Do you have a lot of ribbons?” I asked.  She smiled; I think I know the answer.

There were so many great vendors, indoors and out. I got in the zone and just looked and looked and looked. (And maybe bought a little.)

In the lower corral, I was very taken with Good Karma Farm‘s breezy tent, where owners Amy and Jim Grant were keeping busy. Amy was selling the beautiful yarn they mill and dye from the wool of their own flock and other locally-aquired fleeces, while Jim was stationed at his circular sock machine. I overheard him telling a guy that he could knit him a custom pair of socks in 45 minutes if he wanted.


WHOA. Sox while-u-wait? Sign me up!  I picked out a skein and ordered up a pair of ladies size 8 socks, with Jim’s special double-faced cuff on the back of the leg.

It was fun to watch Jim work. There was much I did not understand. After the second sock, Jim worked a row of Kitchener on the top of the foot, above where he had turned the toe. (A turned toe! I know! Since I don’t knit socks, I can’t explain this any better.) For lots of steampunk sock knitting videos, go to the Erlbacher Gearhart knitting machine site.

Here are my socks, which fit well even though they looked too long laying flat. I love the cuff on the back—a handy grab bar.


See the turned toe? This is what it looked like before Jim did his Kitchenering:


As we headed back toward the car, we met up with Lynn Zwerling, the force of nature behind the Knitting Behind Bars program that you wrote about.


Sitting and laughing with Lynn and her fellow members of the Columbia Sip n Knit (and using their swift to wind my Road Yarn) was the highlight of the festival for me. I definitely picked up on the “no problem, no drama” vibe of these knitters. This is what knitting is all about.


“Big Lady went to Maryland and all I got was this Good Shepherd Dog Coat.”


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