The Glorious Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

A handsome Jacob sheep enjoying the festival. Photo: Kate Larson.

While I was still a relatively new spinner and knitter, I happened to be living in New England. I was working as a farm intern in Vermont and living in a little cabin in the woods with my Ashford Traveler and a small stash of beloved fiber. I had never been to a fiber festival at that point, but the ad in Spin-Off for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival got my attention. Not really knowing what to expect, I headed to Maryland with my husband. Maryland Sheep and Wool is one of the largest festivals in the United States and is an intense experience for even the most seasoned festival veteran. I will never forget how overwhelming it was to be surrounded by such a crowd of people and feeling, for the first time, that every one of them understood my passion for fiber arts.

This year is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival's fortieth anniversary. On May 4–5, spinners, knitters, weavers, and felters will not only have vast retail opportunities, but can also see a wide range of fiber animals and fiber arts competitions. The Skein and Garment Competition is organized by the Weavers Guild of Greater Baltimore. The guild also sponsors awards for the Best Woven Article, Best Novice Skein from Maryland Wool, and Best Novice Spinner. Many festivals and shows rely on volunteers to help organize contests, competitions, and free demonstrations. Guilds play an important role in maintaining the vitality of our fiber community—thank you!

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