Back in February, I turned 40. My parents wanted to do something extra-special for my birthday present. They came up with the perfect idea: all travel expenses to Maryland Sheep and Wool for me and my friends Stacy and Beth! We had an awesome time!
I chose to knit the Birch Leaf Shawl (Ravelry pattern link) because I was looking for a travel project. My sister is in her final year of medical school. My parents and I were flying from Florida to Baltimore to attend Match Day, which is when fourth year medical students find out where they will be doing their residency. I needed a knitting project to take on the trip. My personal criteria for travel knitting are:
- The pattern should be easy to memorize so I don’t have to look at it all the time.
- The project should be easy to pick up and put down, even if I am in the middle of a row.
- The project should take long enough to knit that I will not finish it before I get home.
- The project should require only one or two skeins of yarn.
In addition, I was looking for a project that would fit into one of the HPKCHC prompts for March. The Ancient Runes prompt was about Celtic runes and their connection to trees. One possibility was to craft a a project that represented one of the trees connected to the Celtic runes. Birch trees were on the list.
I’ve known how to knit for more than 20 years, but I only learned to crochet last year. I tried to teach myself crochet at the same time I taught myself to knit, but never quite got it right. So last year, my friend Stacy taught me how to crochet. In that year, I’ve crocheted dishcloths. That’s all. I wanted to expand my crochet skills, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I discovered that the Ravenclaws are planning a Blanket Square Term for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC). I decided to jump on the bandwagon.
Week 2 of Fiber Event Goodness! I knew the Florida Sheep, Wool, and Herding Dog Festival would be a very different event than the others I am attending or have attended. The other events were all organized by fiber-crafting people for fiber-crafting people. The Florida Sheep, Wool, and Herding Dog Festival is organized by the Meat Sheep Alliance of Florida. I knew fiber was definitely part of the event — the Festival’s website included a list of workshops and identified a “Fiber and Creative Arts Pavilion” — but I wasn’t sure how big of a part. The website did not include a list of fiber vendors, so I assumed none would be there. I assumed the event would be mostly about the sheep, and that was great! Since I was going to big fiber-shopping events on the weekends before and after, just seeing sheep sounded awesome.
You know how people say, “That kid has a face only a mama could love?” That’s how I feel about my first handspun yarn. I’m excited — I spun that!!!! It’s awesome! I MADE YARN. It feels like a superpower. Secretly, though, I know it isn’t very pretty. Here’s a preview:
My spinning wheel arrived. I bought the wheel on Friday at The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana. Susan told me that by ordering it on Friday, I should have it on Monday. All day, I was distracted, waiting for the wheel to arrive. FedEx and UPS deliver to my house late in the day. I rarely get packages before 5:oo pm, and at busy times of the year (December), I’ve gotten packages delivered as late as 9:00 pm. Still, I paced around the house. I randomly peeked out the window at my front stoop, just in case I missed the sound of the doorbell ringing. Finally, at 6:10 pm, the doorbell rang. My wheel had arrived!!!
I don’t go to a lot of Fiber Events. As far as I know, there are only two (now three, but I’ll get to that) fiber events that take place near me: Distaff Days in early January and The Florida Fiber In in mid-September. I have not made it to Distaff Days yet because I’m often away for the holidays the first weekend of January. I have been to The Florida Fiber In twice. The third event is the Florida Sheep, Wool, and Herding Dog Festival, which is a new event, held for the third time this year. I have not been to that event before, because I did not learn about it until after the second time it was held.
This year is an exception to the few fiber events pattern. I am actually attending fiber events three weekends in a row. The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana was the first, held April 18 & 19. Second is the Florida Sheep, Wool, and Herding Dog Festival held April 25-27. Third is Maryland Sheep and Wool on May 3 & 4.