Little Golden Notebook

Where fiber art, inspiration, and words meet.

Festival Joy: My First Place Win at MDSW, On to Rhinebeck?

Attending Maryland Sheep and Wool (MDSW) is an annual spring tradition for me, my first year going was 2008 after Ravelry went viral in the knitting community. This year, I won a first place ribbon at the festival! Read on to find out more about my first place win at MDSW…

One of my favorite parts of the festival are the competitions in which knitters, spinners, and other fiber artists get to show their skill with their best skeins and projects. I’ve considered entering completed projects over the years. The large projects I could enter are usually sweaters, including the four below, but I haven’t ever gotten around to entering them due to a number of reasons.

Bohus Final Flat
My first Bohus Stickening sweater (2011), made from handspun yarn that I processed from raw fleece (brown) or blended color gradients on my drum carder from commercial roving, including a bump (blue) from Miss Babs.
Cecelia, started knitting 8/27/11 (yarn is all handspun). Finally finished after minor heartbreak. #nofilter #handknit #handspun
Cecilia (2012), made from handspun commercial wool (teal) from Yarn Hollow and alpaca (white, pink); the pink was dyed naturally with cochineal. The pattern is Sally Cardigan by Nikol Lohr.
The Green Wood final
The Green Wood (2017) made using a kit from Angora Garnet.
Another Bohus sweeater, Stjärnorna (The Stars) (2022), which still needs buttons. This was also made using a kit from Angora Garnet.

This year I finally entered but not a sweater; I entered The Flowers (2024), and embroidery, in category T02, which is where everything else that doesn’t fit into the other pre-defined knitting and spinning categories. I dropped my entry off on Thursday before the festival and waited until Sunday afternoon to go visit it with my friend Becky.

I’ve always gone to MDSW in the morning on either day, I like to get in before the crowds get too heavy and leave just after lunch. Sunday afternoon was a great experience! We found parking very close to the fairground entrance and the crowds thinned out as the afternoon wore on.

My only regret is eating a bratwurst at 2:30 pm. I suspect it had been sitting on the grill for hours along with the pepper and onion mixture. Zero stars, I do not recommend.

This year’s competition entries were as spectacular as they have been in years past! Although I didn’t take pictures of any of them other than mine; I was a little excited.

MDSW 2024
Me and my entry at MDSW with a blue first place ribbon.

First place! I got first place! I didn’t look around at any of the other entries, which are arranged aesthetically and not by category. As you can kind of see from the photo, there were a lot of entries; there were several other tables on this side of the partition in the annex, the same number of tables on the other side, and some tables and displays down the center of the aisle. I was so excited about winning I didn’t even absorb the other entries. I almost wish I had gone on both days to get over the excitement so I could check out all the beautiful fiber art with clear eyes.

Inspired by the blue ribbon, I’m considering entering Flowers in the other hugely popular east coast show, New York Sheep and Wool Festival, popularly known as Rhinebeck for the town it’s held in. I’ve never been to this festival and I wonder if I’m too late to make decent hotel or Air B&B arrangements.

Did you go to MDSW? What’s your favorite part of fiber festivals? Are you going to Rhinebeck or do you know of someone who is? I’d love to know what arrangements for accommodations you’ve made or if you recommend a specific place! Let me know in the comments! 🙂


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