Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was the reason for this trip. I spent the first day and a half in Maryland sightseeing and hiking (see previous two posts). The Festival was on Saturday and Sunday. I think I have enough photos here for a dozen posts, but I’ll try to limit myself to just a few. This post is devoted to the sheep. One of the cool things about this show is that there are examples of several rare sheep that may not be entered but are on display. DSC_0523            Scottish Blackface.DSC_0594                  Lincoln Longwool.DSC_0656            Kerry Hill.

DSC_0664       Leicester Longwool.DSC_0670                Tunis.

DSC_0658           Herdwick.

DSC_0672            Hog Island.DSC_0674            Clun Forest.DSC_0685              Shropshire.DSC_0692              Border Leicester.IMG_6760                And of course, Jacob. This is not my ram. This one had never been shorn.IMG_6718               My sheep were shorn in February which put them at a disadvantage at this show.IMG_6794            This is Jolene and Saffron waiting for the show.IMG_6846            Andy, who drove the sheep filled trailer out here, offered to show one of the ewes.IMG_6859                                                   He is an experienced showman, but I’ll bet this is the first Jacob he has shown.

IMG_6850                                                  My sheep place in the middle. The ram, Serrano, placed 4th out of 7 or 8. Jolene was 3rd and Saffron was 7th in a class of about 10.IMG_6864                     I hung around the Fine Natural Colored Wool show in case Andy needed help. This is one of Terri M’s fleeces. Color like a Jacob, but much finer.IMG_6886                 Look who was also on display. Making their debut, these are 50% Valais Black Nose sheep, the first generation in a breed-up program with the goal of producing almost 100% purebred sheep.


IMG_6897           Elegant and cute at the same time!IMG_6869                  Seen in the parking lot!

More from the festival in the next post.



MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 4

On Sunday, the second day of MDSW, we got up early because we wanted to be at the show in time to watch the start of the Sheep to Shawl contest.


There was another long line but that was for cash payment. We had tickets and could walk right through on the left.


We were interested in the start of the contest because, unlike all the other contests I’ve seen, this one began with a team member shearing the sheep. This sheep shearer was on a team called Hair Spray…


…and there are the team members anxiously watching.



Five teams competed.


The Blues Sisters was one of them.


The Hairspray team, fully costumed.


I don’t know the name of this one but there seemed to be an indigo theme. Note the helper on the bobbin winder.


While we watched we looked for and found another one of our Ravelry contingency and her famous (at least in our circles) and award-winning Jacob shawl.

I still hadn’t seen the main building or the vendors at the east end of the fairgrounds. Time to shop!


The main vendor hall. It seemed to go on forever.


Dress made from felted fabric pieces.


Sweater with Border Collies.



I ran into Kathleen, Dona, and Chris as they were comparing purchases and considering a trip to the car.


At some point in the day Mary became a volunteer and put her inner sales-lady persona to work…


…and got another t-shirt for her trouble.


At noon there was to be a Parade of Breeds in the sheep ring. First though was the presentation of the Youth Conservationist Program in which “Breeders who are willing to mentor youth donate a yearling ewe and help the recipient establish their own flock”. The recipients are expected to breed the ewe to a ram of the same breed, produce something with the fiber, and exhibit the sheep at least two shows. Some of the recipients have now become donors. The recipient of a Hog Island ewe is above.


Royal Unzicker donated a Jacob ewe.

Barbados Blackbelly

The Parade of Breeds followed with representative sheep of 28 different breeds from Barbados Blackbelly, above to…Wensleydale…Wensleydale.

Following the breed presentation I went back over to the Sheep to Shawl area where there was an auction of the shawls that had been woven that morning.

Then back to the vendor hall one last time.


Getting ideas for my upcoming Artery show.


My one yarn purchase, 3 choices from Jill Draper Makes Stuff.


My friends did a lot of shopping but no one else brought home a sheep. Shenandoah would get on a truck the next morning to be delivered to California.


I moved her to a pen near her traveling companions. (Note random spotting–the guy with the panda ears.)


After a long but very fun weekend it was time to leave the fairgrounds.


Back “home” we laid out all of our purchases and took a group shot.  Two friends were leaving the next morning to various directions, but three of us weren’t done yet. We had such a wonderful 4 days–traveling from CA, sightseeing, being at the festival, spending time together in the evenings–it was almost hard to imagine that we were only half way through our adventure. More to follow!

MJ Adventure Team Goes to MD – Day 3 continued

Did I mention in this post how much there is to see at MDSW? I heard someone describe it as the Disney World for sheep and fiber people.

After seeing the fiber entries and the Jacob sheep I started with the tents at the top of the fairgrounds. It had been raining the day before so it’s a good thing that commercial tents are provided for outside vendors. There is mud to contend with but many vendors put straw down which helps with that.


The first tent I entered was the Equipment Auction tent. Have you ever seen so many spinning wheels in one place?


There were wheels (including several great wheels), carders, looms, and all kinds of miscellaneous equipment. Incredible.


Customers were lined up outside their favorite vendor booths. One thing that was so fun about this show was that since all the other fiber shows I have seen are on the west coast almost all the vendors were new to me.


In one of the fiber booths I found this cute bunny.


Ears, anyone?


Silverware creatures.



Dog or lamb coats made of felted wool.




At 1:00 I went back to the barn to help with the Jacob sheep show. These are Royal’s two yearling rams. Royal’s other helpers were his two granddaughters who were sheep handling novices so I was glad to help out.


The girls did well showing the ewes and were fun to work with. After the show I spent more time looking at the barns full of sheep. The Livestock Conservancy (I think–or maybe it was MDSW) organized a display of sheep breeds that weren’t necessarily being shown, along with educational information about them.


Dorset, a breed from England that was first imported in 1885.

Clun Forest-2

Clun Forest, a British breed first imported into North America (Canada) in 1970.


The Cotswold is another English breed with long, lustrous wool.  The mature sheep weigh up to 230 lbs (ewes) and 300 lbs (rams).


The Icelandic sheep is considered to be one of the world’s oldest and purest breeds, with 1100 years of producing meat, milk, and fiber.

Leicester Longwool-4

Leicester Longwool, a sheep, also originally from England, that produces 11-18 pounds of lustrous curly wool that may grow to 14″ in a year.

Leicester Longwool

Another Leicester Longwool.


Rambouillet ram. The Rambouillet is a fine-wooled sheep that was derived after prized Merinos were sent to France in 1786 and raised in a closed flock for many generations. They are now make up a large part of the commercial herds on the western range of the U.S., providing fine wool while producing crossbred lambs for market.

Romeldale cross

This is a Romeldale cross. Colored sheep, even if not a pure breed, can be registered with the Natural Colored Wool Association

Scottish Blackface-2

Scottish Blackface is the most common breed in the United Kingdom and was imported to the U.S. in 1861.

There will be more sheep photos in another post, because there are a lot more sheep to be mentioned.

Rug hooking

While I was in the barn my friends were shopping.


When we got back to the house that night everyone showed off their purchases. Mine were meager compared to some of the others. But none of them bought a sheep…


This is Shenandoah, one of the sheep that I showed, and that got a ride to California on the Mendenhall truck.