folklife festival.

Dhara, myself, and my mom went to the Folklife Festival this past weekend in DC — this year the main focus being the country of Columbia, the Peace Corp, and Rhythm + Blues.  The demonstrations were super interesting.  It’s always fascinating to learn about age old traditions of various cultures, and be inspired to begin our own traditions.

We stopped at DC’s farmer’s market, which was adjacent to the festival, for a loaf of tasty bread and some local honey.  [I SO wish we lived within walking distance to a farmer’s market!]  For lunch we had authentic Thai and West African food — yum.  We listened to amazing folk music.  Dhara loved running free and partaking in the neat children’s activities.  Although she did freak out when we put her on the old carousel located on the mall — I guess she’s still too small for it.  The only drawback to the day was the heat — they really should have the festival in the fall when it’s cool outside so people can be out all day.  All in all, can’t wait for next year’s festival!

my little folk girl

bread making is such an art — an art I want to perfect

tongan woman

spinning using a drop spindle

learned some neat homespun farming techniques

munching on some freshly baked bread

if only I had the right figure, you would find a version of this dress on me

teaching kids the age old art of basket weaving

she needed some time to herself

sheep + wool.

yes, that’s me pretty much nose to nose with a sheep

I’ll try to contain myself and give you the short version because I can literally go on and on about sheep + wool — collectively, sheep + wool, or individually, sheep, or wool — if that made any sense to you at all.  Because it makes perfect sense to me.  : )

So with my husband on a men’s retreat, and my daughter whisked off to a baby shower with my mom and sister, I headed to the Sheep + Wool Festival on the most beautiful warm/breezy day we’ve had this year, with all the windows down, The Band Perry playing loudly in the background, open country roads before me, and my camera in tow.  I only had to drive about 7 minutes because the festival was practically in my backwoods.  Ohh the joys of short drives!  [It usually takes me 40 minutes to get anywhere!]

beautiful hand loomed textiles

Upon reaching the fairgrounds that morning, the place was almost packed!  I didn’t realize how big of a crowd this festival would gather.  I later learned that it’s the biggest in the nation with people coming near and far to see 40 different breeds of sheep, sheared wool, yarns, spinning wheels, looms, garments, and books on various fibers and spinning techniques.  I’d never before seen so many people walking around with bags and bags of roving.  Oh goodness, I was in heaven.

bags and bags of freshly sheared wool

my heart tends to migrate to the browns, greys, creams + whites

beautiful spinning wheels + looms

It felt so good to take my time and slowly walk through each stall — taking everything in and seeing what beautiful things each vendor offered.  There were 250 vendors, mostly farms, selling all things sheep + wool — really amazing stuff.

The food vendors sold pretty much everything lamb — lamb kabobs, lamb gyros, lamb burgers, lamb wraps.  The lamb wrap was super delicious!!!

big juicy pieces of grilled lamb — sooo good  

blade shearing competitions with shepherds from all over the nation to clip, fleece, energy-free, with hand powered blades

With so many vendors selling luxurious roving and yarns, it was so hard to choose anything, but I did end up with a few treasured items.

two skeins of this beautiful variegated yarn in rustic colors.  with it, I plan on knitting up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket for Dhara this fall.

two huge cones of super fine organic yarn.  I’ve been hunting for this stuff, so I was overjoyed when I came across it at the festival.  with it, I plan on using it to weave wispy cotton baby towels on my lap loom.

a ball of silvery grey roving from a purebred Jacob sheep.  with it, I hope to spin some yarn with the turkish drop-spindle Gregory got me for Christmas.  hopefully this leads to a full-fledged spinning wheel down the road…

All in all, the festival was pure joy for me.  I was so inspired — I just want to start spinning wool and weaving now!  It was really nice adventuring on my own — I rarely get that anymore.  But I must say, I still missed the hubby and baby girl and wished they were with me to enjoy what I so enjoyed.

“Baa Baa Black Sheep,” here’s to starting tikes early!