Maryland: Sheep, Wool, and Mead
If I had a fiver for every time someone said “I was a great knitter,” during my two-year stint working in a wool shop, I would not have needed to keep working in a wool shop.
Once I had a full-time job and could afford to knit, I started choosing to spend my time on other things. I won’t say I didn’t have time to knit — that would be a lie. The truth is that other things caught my attention. I knitted an entire cardigan during the month of flying standby and started on a scarf that I wouldn’t finish until many years later, but the heady days of churning out a pair of socks in a wet weekend had already passed.
North American knitters love their sheep and wool festivals. In the early 2000s I read blog entries about “Rhinebeck” and daydreamed about what epic jumper I would knit to wear and show off if I were ever able to attend. By the time the antsy urge to experience a festival finally, reluctantly died down, I got an opportunity to attend one.
The weekend before I was meant to start my new job, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was on not far away from where my sister had graciously been hosting me. So, of course, we had to go.
Continuing the romp through the joys of the mid-Atlantic, my sister took me to her favourite meadery. While I had experienced mead before, it was a long time previous. It’s possible the mead was from the same meadery, simply displaced in time from my college years until the whirlwind visit. I ended up with a whack of very small glasses which I would, years later, use as stand-in whiskey tasters.
I’d spent the guts of a month in and out of my sister’s flat, begging lifts to the airport off her and returning the favour with hanks of locally dyed sock wool from wherever the flights had taken me. I’d also managed to, in spite of myself, cook an entire dinner for her and her partner. She showed me bits of DC that I hadn’t experienced, and for that I was deeply grateful. So it was pleasant to spend some time wandering around the fuzzy animals, geek out about wool, and chatter a little amongst ourselves.
After that, I headed home.