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At the 2012 Sheep and Wool Festival

At the 2012 Sheep and Wool Festival
September 10, 2012 Mary Jo

I returned last night from three full days at the Jefferson (WI) Sheep and Wool Festival.  Unpacking my suitcase, wet camping gear, bags of projects – completed and not, I felt a strong twinge of deja vu.  It was a lot like returning from summer camp.

When I left for the festival early Friday morning, barely glancing behind me to blow kisses to my family left at home, the contents of my van hinted at a much longer stay – a week or longer, maybe.  Four knitting/crochet projects, spinning wheel, two spinning projects, writing materials, a library copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, tent, coffee percolator.  I would be camping each night, didn’t have any friends joining me, so I planned for lots of quiet solitude.

Solitude-schmolitude.  I quickly found myself carried away in the excitement of it all.  Fellow fiber enthusiasts are just too engaging and friendly to not spend the weekend reveling in the newly-forged bonds of friendship.  I found that some friends met on Friday would be in class with me on Sunday.  Friends met at an after-party were later spied at their spinning wheels or in their booths, selling their magnificent wares.

I awoke each morning to the sound of sheep baaing in the distance; it felt like home.  I set out each day swathed in wool to cushion the biting chill, with coffee in hand, to visit with the sheep in the show barns, murmur tender-sweet-things the newborn lambs.  Is there no better way to begin a day of ‘vacation?’  I thought not, until I found myself a fresh donut.  I thought I might burst from the perfection of it all.  Then off to class – Friday offered the chance to spend all day with an accomplished natural dyer.  It was the only day I had the presence of mind to take photos.  Saturday was steeped in all things cheese – butter, yogurt, mozzarella, feta.  It was delicious.  (better, even, than the donut) Sunday taught me how to fashion a smart hat out of a ball of roving, pummeled into submission.  (most people call that felting)

The festival fostered such a magnificent spirit of camaraderie and mutual fiber bliss.  One could spot a handknit sock, hat, shawl, or sweater in every degree of a 360° turn – I defy any other festival to be better dressed.  Today, however, I find myself a bit blissed-out.  I think I was able to absorb as much fiber excitement as is humanly possible in those three saturated days; today I look forward to sneaking a half hour of that solitude I so naively expected, a bit of quiet to reflect on the invigorated energy I brought home with me, some quiet punctuated by the gentle whir of my spinning wheel, newly charged and ready to make some magic.


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