You are not sure how you got to this point, except that someone you know has described your destination as ‘fun’. You wanted to argue but were a little alarmed at the gleam in that someone’s eye. Now you are on your way to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Fear not, for the following is a guide for the
person who will be carrying most of the bags non yarn enthusiast.
– If you’ve never been to a festival before, upon arrival you may be alarmed that someone is waving you in the direction of a field. They are not suffering from illness; you will be parking in the grass. Please park as neatly as possible; crooked cars get the stink eye from everyone else that has to park around them.
– Like most hobbies, yarn crafts have their own special language. You may hear a sentence like ‘I frogged back my garter because my bulky tension was too loose.’ It sounds like Klingon to you; it makes perfect sense to us.
– This is not a llama, it’s an alpaca. But beware… they both spit*.
– Yes, it is necessary to touch each and every bit of yarn before buying.
– No, every single booth isn’t manned by someone named Hank. A hank is what that twist of yarn is called (see above re: language).
– You will see people with full size spinning wheels sitting under trees making their own yarn. This is perfectly normal.
– When you see this investigate closely: if the cotton candy is fresh, it’s time for an important decision. How many bags should you buy: one, more than one but less than four, or enough that you need to make a trip back to the car.
– Do not make baaad jokes. Remember, everyone here is armed with pointy sticks.
– Do not comment on the amount of yarn being purchased, or the amount currently at home. (see above re: pointy sticks)
– When in doubt nod and smile.
Follow these simple rules and you will make it through the day unscathed. Yarn will be bought, cotton candy eaten (and stored for the next day… and the next), and the mysteries of lace knitting solved. You will see sheep, llamas, and rabbits so furry you can’t see thier faces. You will eat lamb and wonder at the irony.
And when ‘next year’ is mentioned, you might not even panic.
*No, I did not learn this by first hand experience :).