Last weekend we went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, as we do every year. It’s a long drive just to spend a few hours, but it’s always worth it, and this year was no exception.
It was a gorgeous day, and the kids actually got up fairly easily. They love going to this every year, although I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I give them $20 each and tell them to get lost until lunchtime! So we got out the door on time and stopped for gas.
Which was when I found I didn’t have my debit card.
I knew I’d had it the night before, because I’d bought groceries and had (thankfully) taken $200 in cash out of the ATM. Got the gas on my credit card and went back to the house to make sure I hadn’t stuffed it in my pants pocket. No joy. Tried calling the store to see if they had it, but they said if I’d left it in the ATM, the in-store bank would have it and they wouldn’t open until 9. So there went my money plans for the day. Which may have been a good thing. I have a low credit limit on my card, so I would only be able to go so wild, and I did have the $200 in my wallet, so we could still do our think. I was just upset that, if I had lost it, it would mean replacing it for the third time in three months. Frustrating.
So, 20 minutes late, we scooted down to Philly to grab Nikki, got lost in South Philly trying to get to the highway (I don’t know why I have such a hard time getting out of S. Philly. I only lived there for three years…) and finally got on 95. Pedal to the metal, baby. Well, at least for me. I was doing 80 a lot and still getting passed, so I don’t feel too bad about it, but I needed to make up that lost time. I know what the parking lines get like if you get there too late. Like, they close the off-ramp, the line gets so long. We took the northern route of the Baltimore loop (not sure why Google maps always tries to send me down through the city. Not happening, friend.) and hit the off ramp just as the line of traffic was starting to back up into the highway. We spent about 20 minutes in the line just to get into the fairground, but our parking spot wasn’t terrible. Loaded everyone up with water bottles, distributed spending money, and off we went!
The kids peeled off as soon as we got through the gates. I was on a mission, though. This year, come hell or high water, I was going home with something to process fiber on. I really wanted a blending board, but I know how much those suckers run ($185-230, depending on the maker). So first stop was the auction tent to see if there was anything there I wanted to try for. There was a beautiful Irish tower wheel that I coveted, but nothing that I HAD to have, so Nikki and I went off to shop instead.
Before we even got into the exhibition hall, though, I ran into my spinning teacher who was standing in the doorway waiting for someone. I haven’t seen Deb in almost two years, so I went up to her with an excited, “Hey, lady!” And she looked at me blankly. “Um, hey?” I knew what was happening. “It’s Steph.” Her whole face popped. “Oh my god, I didn’t recognize you!” Which honestly, is a gratifying reaction to my weight loss but a sad commentary on me keeping in touch with my friends. We caught up briefly, as she had to get somewhere, but it was so good to see her. I have to get up to Doylestown for one of their spinning days to see them.
After that it was shop, shop, shop. I hate to buy anything until I’ve seen everything, so Nikki usually makes the first purchases, and this year was no exception. But we were both there with a mission. She wanted a good spindle and fiber. Grabbed many business cards for places I wanted to go back to when it was time to spend. She found the Bosworth table, which, if you want a good spindle, yeah. And then we found a new vendor we have both fallen in love with. It’s The Whispering Woodturner, and they had the most gorgeous wooden knitting tools I’ve ever seen. Beautiful turned yarn bowls and darning eggs and these awesome gadgets they called a swirlette which is basically a lazy susan for your ball of yarn. And blending boards! Cheap, beautiful blending boards. $140 cheap. I should have grabbed one then and there, but I stuck by my plan. Now that I knew I was getting my board, I was on the lookout for things to use on it. I got a couple of cheap bags of dyed locks and two little packages of dyed roving blended with some sparkle for some pop on the board. Met up with the kids for lunch briefly, then off we went to actually damage our bank accounts. I went straight to the WW and found there was only one board left, a blond one with some interesting markings. Not as interesting as the cherry one I’d had my eye on, though. I asked the owner if they had any other boards, and he said no, that was their last one. “No, it’s MINE.” So yeah, I lucked out. As he was packing it up, he told me that it was ambrosia maple, meaning it’s wood from a maple tree that had been attacked by ambrosia beetles, which was what caused the interesting streaks in it. It really is a lovely piece, and I can’t wait to find the time to sit and play with it. Nikki got a swirlette from him and tried to buy a yarn bowl, but it was the one they were raffling off, so she was disappointed in that. That worked out in her favor, though, because our next stop was the Bosworth booth, where she bought not one but THREE spindles. My favorite is the one made of teak from a Buddhist temple destroyed in an earthquake. The timing was just too significant not to need that spindle. Then I got a lovely fiber batt and some mulberry silk from Wild Rabbit (I love their silks and am so glad they had their own booth this year!), and I got two skeins of tencel from Just Two of Us to make a sweater of some kind out of.
Which was when my credit card squawked.
So, I was done shopping. But it had been a great day, and I got everything I’d intended without bloating my stash. Hero got herself a Bunny Crossing sign, and Xander got a rabbit in a magician’s hat puppet, so everyone made out well. Our last purchase was two bags of tea cookies to eat on the road home, which the others rolled their eyes at when I bought them, but were moaning over as soon as they tried them. They were GOOD cookies.
Didn’t have too much traffic on the drive home, except after we dropped Nikki off and had to get around the city Science Festival. Tempting to stop, but we didn’t. I did stop at the grocery store to see about my card, but it was 5 and the bank closed at 3, so bag it. Went home, made dinner for the kids, and then I actually went out for my run. It wasn’t a bad one, either, considering how much time I’d spent on my feet that day!
The results of the day:
(Oh, and my card was locked up in the ATM safe and sounds. The tellers were very kind about getting it out for me. So no replacement! Woot!)