last year, i went to my first ever fiber festival,
maryland sheep and wool festival ’10.
i knit my hotpants for a lark,
because all the talk of what to make/wear to the festival, well,
i thought people were a little nuts about it.

suddenly it was time for mdsw ’11,
and i had to decide if it was time to iron the hotpants,
or retire them.

i had to ask myself,
am i too old for this shit?
is it time for a little dignity?
or is this a tradition i should embrace?

ultimately,
i said fuck it.
who cares?!

i spent a lot of time on them,
and it hurt my hands to knit them.
(aran weight cotton on 5’s + cables. never again.)
i mean, there are only so many places one can wear handknit hotpants.
as long as my ass isn’t saggy, i’m wearing ‘em!
and if nothing else, they’re über comfy.

of course i realize that wearing them will garner some attention,
and people are going to snap a couple surreptitious pics.
these are some of the pics i could get my hands on:

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there was obviously a lot of kinnearing,
and several people stopped me to ask for a photo,
which i am always happy to do if i can get a copy.
but two encounters really stand out.

the first is when a little boy, adam,
came up to me to ask about the hotpants.
apparently, he’s a little knitters, and he recognized me from ravelry.
this little bugger was totally fearless, asking all kinds pertinent questions.
at first i just answered his queries, talking like i would to any knitter,
until i realized that he looked like he was alone.

“where’s your mother?!” i asked, a little worried and incredulous.
that’s when little adam’s entourage rolled up.
really nice family, totally awesome.
and adam kept right on talking the whole time.
(thanks for the pic guys!)

the other is the “in search of hotpants” tee shirt.
meg and her mother, karen, made and wore the shirt (respectively),
and then made it one of their festival goals to find me.
now that is dedication if i ever saw it.

all in all,
the hotpants and i had a lovely time.
i’m still thinking of retiring them,
or perhaps knitting a new pair.
maybe when i’m thirty.

twenty six in hotpants may be acceptable.
i still have a little crazy youth on my side.
but an anonymous bulge at thirty?
not quite so classy.

either way,
i’ll see you next year, bitches!

i feel like everyone who blogs about a fiber festival
covers three basic things:
sheep,
their haul,
and famous people.
(i saw clara parkes coming out of the bathroom,
and am 99% sure i saw anna zilboorg.
can anyone confirm that one?)

but how many pictures of cute sheep can one look at
before you realize you’re bored out of your skull?
so on sunday, the last day of the festival,
i decided to photograph something different,
something i saw all around the fairgrounds this year:

men.

specifically bearded men.
they seemed to be everywhere,
which is lucky since, at least to me,
facial hair is very sexy.

it took tremendous energy to overcome my shyness,
and ask total strangers if i could take a picture of them.
so for about every five beards i saw,
i asked one for a photo.

and now without further ado,
i give you, the bear(d)s of maryland sheep and wool!

this was my first beard of the day. his wife, a shy raveler, sent him over to ask if i was the infamous “hotpants” from the ravelry forum. he asked to take my photo so i thought it was only right to ask for his.
(his accent was wicked cool as well).
immeditately after, this guy rolled up. you gotta respect a dude who can commit to that kind of length. i could never grow my beard that long. plus, you may notice he is smoking in this photo, which of course makes him extra cool. what? you never knew smoking makes you cool?
well, it does.
then we have kilty mcbeard as i like to call him. i’d seen him the day before, and when i decided to undertake this project, i hoped he’d be there sunday as well. he gets kudos for his whole ensemble, from the leather hat, to the cabled vest, to the utilikilt. there were a lot of guys in utilikilts at the festival, but many of them weren’t flattering. his was the right color and length. seriously guys, your utilikilts are too long! you need to shorten them up or else you look like 6th grade catholic school girls. definitely not hot.
i had this man in mind as well when i decided to shoot some beards, if for no other reason than he is exactly one of my good friend’s type (you know who you are, buster). i’ve forgotten his name, but i believe he is the proprietor of the trawitz sheepskin products booth. while from afar he’s very imposing, he was willing to model his sheepy hat, which is frankly a little hilarious.

he may be able to snap my not-so-little ass in half,but i think that smile deserves a second shot for sure.

i almost missed this beard. i was standing on the main drag, and one of my friends yelled “beard!” i immediately stopped him with my, “excuse me sir” line, only to realize it was my fibery friend tammy‘s husband, who i had just talked to the day before. he accused me of using his image for nefarious reasons. someone help me think of one. i wouldn’t want to disappoint.

here we have a beard in motion. i caught this guy in passing in the main barn. he may have a confederate flag pin on his hat (boo!), but his hat/suspenders/pocket protector combo makes this beard worth noting.

i saw this little guy, walking around with his pretty girl, holding hands, clearly in love. rather than make me vomit, it touched me, and gave me the courage to ask for his photo.apparently, i’m going soft in my old age.

the final beard i captured belongs to the the sanguine gryphon‘s cute male worker bee. i have to admit he was my festival crush, and i made sure i told everyone to hit up their booth to take a peek. to me, he looks like stephen west‘s older, beefier brother, and believe me, this photo doesn’t do him justice. i did ask to take his photo, but even on the last day, he was too busy to strike a pose. so i did what any good knitting blogger would do.i kinneared him.

there is of course my beard,
meager though it may be.

it had a lovely time at the festival.

and because it’s obligatory,

this is my haul:
jennie the potter yarn bowl (victory is mine!),
a crochet hook roll up.
and some bugga!.
nothing too outrageous,
but these four little guys still put me over budget.

see you next year!

**tomorrow, an epilogue or hotpants strikes back.

mdsw preview

May 7, 2011

i’m still a little weak,
and my knitting mojo is m.i.a.
but this weekend, i’m shedding my invalid shell,
and heading out into the world for real real.

that’s right bitches.
this shut-in is at the maryland sheep and wool festival.i packed light. i’m very proud.

i’m traveling with my fibery pal, andrea,
yarn rep and all around hilarious lady.
we had so much fun together at rhinebeck,
that is only made sense to come to maryland together.

the best part about this particular trip
is the fact that andrea is working the festival.
this meant i got to go in today with the rest of the vendors,
and have a peek around before anyone else.
jealous?

while she was setting up,
i took a stroll around the fairgrounds.
i remember last year was so hot and awful,
i never got a good look at the different sheepsees.
so i made a point, with so few people around,
to take in some of their epic wooly cuteness.

there were sleepy sheeps

horny sheeps

devil sheeps

regal sheeps

ghost sheeps

and a whole lot of naked sheepses.

i also previewed all the vendors booths (jealous?)
here are my notes on some of my faves.

the fold needs no introduction. it is where the epic line begins to get your hands on the highly coveted socks that rock. while i too get hard for the socks that rock, i go to the fold for fiber optic yarns and fiber. there’s just something extra special about fiber optic’s stuff. i am drawn to them, their fiber especially. they have a quality.

miss babs was a mob scene last year, and rightly so. their yarn was wicked awesome. this year, peering into their clean looking booth, i didn’t feel the same pull. i’m sure when i see the hordes shoving each other to get the last skein of a given color, i’ll feel it again. and then cut a bitch for the skein.

seeing harriet of autumn house farm brought a smile to my heart. i remember last year, seeing her swamped, sweat pouring off her forehead, a booth full of hot, cranky customers. that woman held it together with a degree of poise i’ll never have. and i challenge anyone to display and communicate the level of passion that woman has for the fiber arts. she’s on another level that one.
and her setup is kick ass, too

spirit trail fiber works has some of the most beautiful yarn, both in color and base, that i have ever seen. but honestly, their booth is a straight up mess. it’s far to cramped. with no one else there, i don’t think i could have fit in their booth. buy their yarn, but be prepared for some claustrophobia (and to throw some elbows).

oh jennie the potter. i’ve tried for a year now, both at maryland and rhinebeck, to get my hands on one of your yarn bowls. today, i saw a variety sitting there in all their glory. one will be mine tomorrow. or else.

and finally, the sanguine gryphon. a late addition to the festival. you will be my first stop. not only because i must have more bugga!, but because i must flirt with the ginger bear(d) i saw helping you set up. seriously ladies. he’s wicked cute. nice touch.

there is another vendor i want to talk about,
a vendor that i met for the first time,
and i left pleasantly surprised.
i’m not really one for needle cases, mostly because they’re either too soft to hold up/protect my needles, or are just straight up poorly made. however! the cases and bags at the crippen works booth are both unique in look, but unique in the fact that they look like they could hold up to the type of abuse we knitters put our notions through.go there. say hi to katharyn.
buy some needle cases.
tell her i sent you.

it won’t get you a discount or anything.
i just told her i’d blog her.

it was sort of surreal, being back here. i can’t believe it’s been a year already. last year at maryland was my first fiber festival, and even through the extreme heat and otherworldly sunburn, i had an amazing time. coming back a year later and under such different conditions . . . it’s an uncanny feeling. everything is so familiar. i remember where everything is, even when vendors are in a different place. and yet, you can feel the passage of time in the place. it’s like seeing someone you haven’t in a while, and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s changed.

all i know is i’ve met an old friend again.
and i can’t wait to spend two more days with her.

see you tomorrow bitches!
look for the guy in the stolen/borrowed/gifted sunglasses

do you think it’ll be warm enough for shorts?

i hope so!

well folks, i’m home and well.

and tired.

and a little crispy.

the weather in maryland was exceptionally sunny and hot.
the result? my fair skin is a bit brown in some places,
pink in many others.

as with many of my big life events, i’m finding it difficult to accurately describe the weekend. (i need to start carrying a dictaphone with me or something)

plus i have two final papers to finish this week so i kinda need to conserve some of my writing mojo. but as always, i’ll do my best.
here goes:

it’s the middle of the night and i can’t sleep.
i’m totally stoked for tomorrow and my mind won’t shut up.
so of course, i edited my “i’m with hotpants” blog post, and did a mini photo shoot.

after which i questioned my sanity, put late night vegas poker on the tv, spread out in my king sized bed, and hugged all six of my downy pillows.

sleep came soon after.

later that same morning . . .

we started out early and beat the traffic.

i left my friends at the fold/socks that rock line, making a bee line for. . .

the fleeces!

now, i’m not a spinner.
but as this was my first fiber festival,
i had this romantic notion that i would own the grand champion fleece.
so i waited in my own line, and put in a stupidly aggressive bid.

i also had what i feel is a pretty realistic fear that i actually wouldn’t win, so i purchased “ike’s” fleece, a border leicester/lincoln/corriedale mix ram from shepherd’s hey farm in comus, maryland.
it’s beautiful and would easily make my black sweater dreams come true.

i then braved the heat, saw some baby sheeps,

and proceeded to buy some lovelies.
not too many though.
i had to be sure i could pay for my fleece if i won.

by noon we were all pooped.

(note the custom “i’m with hotpants” tees made by annette)

unfortunately, i had to wait around ’till 3 to see if i won the silent auction.
so i wandered around some more,

saw some more sheepy things,
drank my weight in lemonade and root beer floats,
and headed to the “big barn” at 2:40 ish.

when i arrived, the gossip amongst the volunteers was that a mysterious man was lurking. last year, he swooped in a bought all the winning fleeces at the last minute.

i was obviously concerned.

when he moseyed into view, the ladies quietly pointed him out.
his wife clearly wanted my fleece,
what with it being an uncoated black merino that won best in show.

the volunteers galvanized their power behind me,
handing me a pen to write in a last minute bid if i needed,
and heckled the couple, warning them of my ire should they try to outbid me.

i gave the interlopers my absolute best evil eye.
those who have met it’s gaze can testify to it’s sauron-like power.
(the few that have survived that is)

with two minutes two go,
it was reported to me that the wife said,
“if he wants to pay that much for it, he can have it.”
my stupidly aggressive bid did the trick, and i walked away with my grand champion fleece. by christmas, expect to see me in gorgeous black sweater of my own making.

i then headed back to the hotel to crash, and sooth sunburned scalp.
after a beautiful thai dinner,
and my first lesson in spindle spinning,
i proceeded to the maryland sheep and wool after party which was conveniently held in my hotel.

when i found out that the epic pakistani wedding also being held in our hotel bumped the after party outside into the parking lot, i should have taken it as a sign that things wouldn’t end well.

here’s the good of it:
there were crazy good prizes,
and i was with my friends.


(anna apparently got some good gossip)

but there were some serious issues:
there were not enough chairs,
or enough light to knit or drool over peoples hand knits.
so we were left to wait,

and wait,

and wait,

and wait some more for the raffle.

and guido, bless him, had pretty much no skills as an emcee
beyond mad geeky enthusiasm
which may have worked against him really.

and of course they did the raffle in two parts meaning,
(god help me)
we had to wait another hour to see if we’d paid for more than and evening of sitting in the dark with our friends with only the hope of a coconut shrimp and fruit skewer to warm out spirits.

of course i didn’t win.
but two of my friends did.
i took my bitter, pouting, sunburn to bed.

the next day,
after a leisurely breakfast in bed,
we made our way back at a more respectable hour to make sure we hadn’t overlooked anything we had to have.

somehow,
i resisted the cashmere,
but left with a gorgeous golding spindle

i don’t spin.

with that crazy purchase, i knew i needed to head home.

and here i am, back in pittsburgh with a pretty impressive haul.

(excuse the unnatural light please in this photo)

did i mention i got some sun?

it’s been a pretty rough week here at bitches get stitches.
i don’t really want to get into too much detail here.
or any detail really.

i’ll just say this:
i’m behind in everything,
my mother is my hero, shouldering the weight of a family crisis,
and my trip to maryland couldn’t have come at a better time.
(or worse depending on how you look at it)

part of my being behind (in everything)
means i didn’t get to set up a proper photo shoot for my gams.

so i brought my trusty tripod,
and took this shot in my hotel room.

(though the tripod made anna wonder if i were making knitting porn)

i will be wearing my shorts to the fairgrounds tomorrow
and my friends will be wearing t-shirts that read, “i’m with hotpants.”
somehow, my dignity remains intact.

anyway, hope to see some of you there.
if you see us, say hi.

till then,
good night bitches!

bottoms up!

April 20, 2010

in ten days, i’ll be headed to the maryland sheep and wool festival.
this will be my first fiber arts festival and i am totally stoked.
(my life is so small. please don’t judge me)

while it’s not as big as rhinebeck,
it’s supposed to be a pretty big deal.

for a while now, i’ve been hearing people (especially certain coworkers) talking about what they’ll be wearing to maryland.
apparently, wearing an exceptional hand knit is key.

i thought it was all about sheep and shopping.
evidently, it’s a “see and be seen” kinda thing too.

so i decided to make these bad boys by craig hunter.
i recently came upon his work on the internets and absolutely love his aesthetic.

so,

do you think i’ll get noticed?

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