2024 tickets and catalogs now on sale!

Tickets and catalogs for the 2024 festival are now on sale at https://mswf2024.eventbrite.com.

The deadline for ordering catalogs is March 15.

Don’t forget, registration for our 2024 in-person Fiber Arts Seminars is also open at https://www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool.

Registration for 2024 Fiber Arts Seminars Opening Soon

Registration will open at https://www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool on Saturday, February 17, 2024. Registration for Spinning Classes ONLY will open at 12 noon ET. Registration for all other classes will open at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to download the complete class list.

2024 Featured Breed: Cotswold

Cotswolds are said to have been developed from sheep brought to England by Roman conquerors over 2,000 years ago. The name Cotswold derived from “cote,” a sheep shelter and “wold,” an open rolling field. The breed was well established by the fifteenth century and became the cornerstone of England’s wealth throughout the Middle Ages. The Cotswold region’s economy was founded on wool and the profits funded the grand “wool churches” in the area.

While there are a few newspaper mentions of Cotswolds in the United States before 1832, credit for the first imported ram to America goes to Christopher Dunn of Albany, New York. Cotswolds were originally imported to cross with Robert Bakewell’s Leicester sheep. Cotswolds rapidly grew in popularity and large numbers were imported over the next half century. The first notable purebred Cotswold breeder in America was Justus C. Haviland of Duchess County, New York, who established his flock in 1836. The breed grew in popularity, and in 1876 Henry Stewart wrote in his Shepherd’s Manual (1876) that the Cotswold “has become so common in America, and has been bred so extensively without fresh importations of new blood, that it may well be adopted as a native sheep.”

The American Cotswold Record Association (ACRA), founded in 1878, was the first sheep registry established in the United States. By 1913, the United States Department of Agriculture reported 74,455 Cotswolds in the country. The Cotswold became the favored sire to cross with range Merino ewes to produce market lambs. The resulting lambs had the size of the Cotswold with the finer fleece of the Merino. They remained one of the most popular breeds until the preference shifted to smaller earlier maturing lambs and the growth of the Australian Merino wool trade.

The Cotswold has historically been a dual-purpose sheep. As is the case with other longwool breeds, their meat is mild flavored with no “gamey” taste. In recent years, handspinners have discovered the unique qualities of the wool, including its strength, length, luster, and exceptional ability to take dyes.

Although large sheep with ewes averaging 175-230 pounds and rams over 250 pounds, Cotswolds have a gentle disposition. The 1891 breed description that ACRA still follows today even mentions the eyes should be “mild and kindly.” Cotswold wool has been called “poor man’s mohair” for its luster and soft handle when worsted.
Cotswolds are easy keepers, a trait developed from their origin as the only English “hill breed” of long wool sheep. Like other long wool sheep, they mature by two years. Cotswolds are wonderful mothers with easier lambing due to the ewe’s cone size flanks and wide pelvis as well as the lamb’s relatively small head size and long neck.

Particularly in England, the breed is sometimes referred to as the Cotswold Lion, both in reference to their magnificent bearing and distinctive wool locks around the face. Their fleece has also been called the Golden Fleece, referencing both the breed’s golden luster and the role Cotswold wool had in developing England’s wealth.

The Cotswold is classified as a threatened breed by the Livestock Conservancy in the United States and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in England. Throughout its history, the mission of the American Cotswold Record Association has remained the same. The goal of that mission to contribute to the conservation, development, and promotion of the breed for all members, breeders, and Cotswold enthusiasts. Since 1878, the American Cotswold Record Association (ACRA) has maintained the original breed standard and is committed to preserving the legacy of this historic breed. In the early 90’s, ACRA added a second separate registry (Black Cotswold Registry) which allows for color in the fleece. Today there are three registries for Cotswold sheep: ACRA, BCR, and the Cotswold Breeders Association (CBA). ACRA encourages all heritage sheep owners to register and support a breed association or the Livestock Conservancy. ACRA thanks the Livestock Conservancy for their support of our conservation efforts. The ACRA board meets monthly and offers newsletters, social and educational events multiple times a year for its members.

To find out more about Cotswold sheep including a breeder’s list, Cotswold merchandise, or to support the work ACRA is doing to save a heritage breed, check out ACRA’s website at www.cotswoldacra.com.

During the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, look for ACRA in the Breed Display Barn (Barn 7-8 on the map) and ACRA members showing Cotswold sheep! ACRA is honored to be the featured breed for 2024 and looks forward to sharing the magnificent Cotswold Lion with you!

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest 2024!

Registration for Winterfest 2024 is now open at https://www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool.

Our third annual Winterfest will once again offer two days of virtual seminars. Winterfest 2024 will be held on Saturday, February 3 and Sunday, February 4 on the same Lessonface platform as last year.

Our Fiber Arts Seminars will feature the following instructors:

  • Kate Atherley – Knitting
  • Maggie Casey – Spinning
  • Roy Clemes – Fiber Prep
  • Shana Cohen – Knitting
  • Jill Duarte – Spinning
  • Laura Lineman – Knitting and Spinning
  • Sarah Schira – Knitting
  • Emily Wohlscheid – Fiber Prep and Spinning

New this year! Shepherds’ Seminars!

  • Solar Grazing for Beginners with Emily Chamelin
  • So, You’re Thinking About Adding a Livestock Guardian Dog: Here’s What You Need To Know with Rebecca Miller
  • Everything But the Baaa: Maximizing Your Flock’s Value Through Farm to Retail with Sarah Campbell

Our keynote lecture on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. will be A Year in the Life of a Handspinning Flock with Lee Langstaff. The lecture is free but registration through Lessonface is required.

Fiber Arts Schedule

Time (Eastern)

Class

Type

Instructor

Saturday, February 3

10 am –12 noon

Getting the Most out of your Drum Carder

Fiber Prep

Roy Clemes

The “Holey Grail” - Avoiding Gaps and Holes

Knitting

Kate Atherley

Spinning Carded Fibers

Spinning

Jill Duarte

10 am –1 pm

Variations on Blending Tweeds

Fiber Prep

Emily Wohlscheid

Ode to a Beautiful Braid:  How Do I Spin Thee, Let Me Count the Ways

Spinning

Maggie Casey

2 pm – 5 pm

Blending Textures: Creating Textured Batts

Fiber Prep

Emily Wohlscheid

Gno Fun Like Gnome Fun (A Beginner Gnome Class)

Knitting

Sarah Schira

No Pattern Needed Custom Fit Hats

Knitting

Kate Atherley

Your Wheel is Smarter Than You Think It Is – Optimize Your Wheel

Spinning

Maggie Casey

7 pm – 9 pm

Scrappy Stuff – Textured Marble Fidget Toy

Knitting

Shana Cohen

7 pm –10 pm

Spinning for Socks 101

Spinning

Laura Linneman

Spinning Textured Batts

Spinning

Emily Wohlscheid

Sunday, February 4

10 am – 12 noon

Mittens 101

Knitting

Kate Atherley

10 am – 1 pm

Gnome Beards & Bobble Noses

Knitting

Sarah Schira

2 pm – 5 pm

Better Afterthought Heels

Knitting

Kate Atherley

Mix it up: Combining Handspun with Commercial Yarn for the Perfect Sweater

Spinning & Knitting

Laura Linneman

Finishing Your Yarn

Spinning

Maggie Casey

7 pm – 9 pm

Exploring the Diversity of Wool

Spinning

Jill Duarte

Handspun Wire Core and More

Spinning

Emily Wohlscheid

7 pm – 10 pm

Modular Knit Bowl

Knitting

Shana Cohen

Shepherds’ Seminar Schedule

Time (Eastern)

Class

Instructor

Saturday, February 3

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Solar Grazing for Beginners

Emily Chamelin

Sunday, February 4

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

About Everything But the Baaa: Maximizing Your Flock’s Value Through Farm to Retail

Sarah Campbell

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

About So, You're Thinking About Adding a Livestock Guardian Dog: Here's What You Need To Know

Rebecca Miller

 

2023 Featured Breed: Jacob

Our featured breed for 2023, the majestic Jacob Sheep is a special addition to flocks throughout North America. Unique, regal, useful, hardy – with their strikingly impressive horns and spotted fleece, there are few breeds that excite the interest of others as does the Jacob. Read more about this special breed here.

The Jacob Sheep Breeders Association (JSBA) was formed in 1988 through the encouragement and guidance of the American Minor Breeds Conservancy (now The Livestock Conservancy) and is of prime importance in maintaining this majestic and ancient breed in its present form, as it is considered “threatened” on The Livestock Conservancy’s list. The purpose of JSBA is to ensure the conservation of this heritage breed through inspection, registration, and education.

Learn more about the Jacob breed and talk to JSBA members in the Breed Display Barn (Barn 7-8 on the map) while you are at the Festival.

2023 Festival Gear Now Available

A selection of 2023 Festival Merchandise is now available! We have short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeved hooded t-shirts, three styles of bags, and two sizes of posters.

There are two ways to get your gear early:
1. In store – go to the Ceresville New Holland, Inc./Sheepman Supply Co. showroom in Frederick, Maryland and select from the items on display.

2. Online – order at https://www.sheepman.com/product-category/maryland-sheep-wool-festival-online/. You can have it shipped to you, or to save on shipping you can pick it up at Sheepman Supply (to do this, enter “would like to pick up at store” in “special instructions”, and you will not be charged for shipping when your order is processed). Sorry, we cannot accept pre-orders for pick up at the festival. Online orders will be accepted through April 26.

Lots of additional items, styles, and colors will be available at the festival on May 6 & 7!

2023 tickets and catalogs now on sale!

Tickets and catalogs for the 2023 festival are now on sale at https://mswf2023.eventbrite.com.

Don’t forget, registration for our 2023 in-person Fiber Arts Seminars is also open at https://www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool.

Registration for 2023 Fiber Arts Seminars Opening Soon

Registration for the 2023 in-person classes will open at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 19 at https://lessonface.com/sheepandwool.

Click here to download the complete class list.

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest 2023!

Our second annual Winterfest will once again offer two days of virtual fiber arts seminars. Winterfest 2023 will be held on Saturday, January 28 and Sunday, January 29 on the same Lessonface platform as last year and will feature the following instructors:

  • Jillian Moreno – Spinning
  • Kristen Walsh – Felting
  • Maggie Casey – Spinning
  • Kira Dulaney – Knitting
  • Alasdair Post-Quinn – Knitting
  • Esther Rodgers – Spinning

Our keynote lecture on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. will be A Look Inside a Small-Scale Carding Mill with Angela Muller. Angela, a shepherd and the owner of a small mill located in central Maryland, Angel Locks Fiberworks, will take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of her small-scale carding mill and tell you how she established Angel Locks. Angela will explain how she set up her mill, and describe the functions of each piece of equipment she uses. Then she will share how she decides which equipment to use to process different types of fiber, as well as share how fiber enthusiasts can get the best results when sending fiber out to a small mill. Attendees will leave Angela’s lecture with a clear understanding of what happens to a raw fleece and the different steps the fiber goes through as it is transformed in roving.

The lecture is free but registration through Lessonface is required.

Schedule

Saturday, January 28

Time (Eastern) Class Type Instructor
10 a.m. to 12 noon Introduction to Double-knitting Knitting Alasdair Post-Quinn
  Twisted Together:   Crepe, Cables and the Endless Possibilities of Layered Plying Spinning Esther Rodgers
  Straight Up: Spinning Vertically Dyed Braids Spinning Jillian Moreno
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Pros and Cons of Predrafting Spinning Maggie Casey
  Needle Felted Fox Felting Kristen Walsh
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Two-pattern Double-knitting Knitting Alasdair Post-Quinn
  The Long and the Short of It – 6 Ways to Spin Locks Spinning Esther Rodgers
  Introduction to Cables Knitting Kira Dulaney
  Fluffing your Braids: Making Worsted Braids Woolen Spinning Jillian Moreno
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Needle Felted Winter Landscape Felting Kristen Walsh
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Twist, Grist, and Wraps per Inch Spinning Maggie Casey
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Slip-Stitch Mosaic Knitting Knitting Kira Dulaney

Sunday, January 29

Time (Eastern) Class Type Instructor
10 a.m. to 12 noon Drafting Together: Working on a Parallel Plane Spinning Jillian Moreno
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Finishing Your Yarn Spinning Maggie Casey
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. A Look Inside a Small Scale Carding Mill Lecture Angela Muller
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Advanced Beginner Double-knitting Knitting Alasdair Post-Quinn
  Sculptural Corespinning: Not Your Traditional Spinning! Spinning Esther Rodgers
  Introduction to Entrelac Knitting Kira Dulaney
. Color Value and Choosing Braids That Work Together Spinning Jillian Moreno
2 p.m. to 5 p.m Needle Felted Owl Felting Kristen Walsh
6 p.m. to 9 p.m Hand Cards, Not Just for Rolags Spinning Maggie Casey
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Texture in Double-knitting Knitting Alasdair Post-Quinn
  Color Blending:  Unlocking the Spectrum Spinning Esther Rodgers
  Gauge and Blocking Knitting, Crochet Kira Dulaney

Registration will open at 1:00 PM ET on Saturday, November 19 at https://www.lessonface.com/sheepandwool.

2023 Catalog Cover Artist

Ashton Design

Since he first purchased three ewes from chairman Gwen Handler in 1985, David Ashton has been an integral part of every Festival. David created our iconic logo in 1987, giving us a visual identity that is now recognized around the world. Since then, David and the team at Ashton Design have assisted us with selecting our artwork, then taking that artwork and creating the design that we use each year for our catalog cover, posters, t-shirts, and other festival merchandise.

For 2023, we asked the team at Ashton to create an original illustration for us in honor of our 50th anniversary, and we believe they have done us proud.

ASHTON-DESIGN.COM

 

2024 tickets and catalogs now on sale!

Tickets and catalogs for the 2024 festival are now on sale at https://mswf2024.eventbrite.com. The deadline for ordering catalogs is March 15.

Schedule of Events

Search schedule by:

Event Type

Day

Want to add to your collection, or just want to read about the 2024 Festival at your leisure? We are now taking orders for the 2024 catalog at at mswf2024.eventbrite.com/. Festival tickets are on sale there now, too!While many festivals have switched to digital catalogs, we feel strongly that our print catalog is an important part of our identity and are continuing this long-standing tradition. However, because of the costs involved, we have increased the fee for postage and handling to $10.00. A $2.45 Eventbrite processing fee applies, If you prefer to pay by check, you can download a catalog order form from our website at sheepandwool.org/purchase-a-catalog/. New this year: We have instituted a deadline of MARCH 15 for all catalog orders. There will also be a pdf version of the full catalog available on our website around mid-March. We are now suggesting a $5.00 donation for catalogs picked up at the Festival. Quantities will be limited; the catalogs will be available in the T-Shirt Sales building while supplies last. #mdsw #mdsw2024 ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Only 70 more days to wait! Tickets and catalogs are now on sale for our 51st annual festival on May 4 & 5, 2024. We continue to be challenged by increases in the costs of goods and services required to put on a festival of this size. This has led to the inevitable need to again raise our admission fee. Rest assured we are continuously evaluating the cost of Festival events while searching for ways to increase efficiency and minimize expenses. At the same time, we are not losing sight of fulfilling our mission as a non-profit agricultural organization of public promotion and education about sheep and wool. With free parking and free admission for everyone under the age of 18, we feel we are still one of the best values around, and we hope that you do too. Admission fees this year:18 and older:--$12.50 per person per day when purchased online --$15.00 per person per day at the gate Under 18 free Tickets are available online at mswf2024.eventbrite.com/. A $2.61 processing fee applies. There will be separate lanes to have these eTickets scanned, which we anticipate will move faster than the lanes for people paying at the gate. At the gate: cash or check only, please. Exact change appreciated. There will be a dedicated exact change lane. We are also accepting catalog orders at mswf2024.eventbrite.com/. While many festivals have switched to digital catalogs, we feel strongly that our print catalog is an important part of our identity and are continuing this long-standing tradition. However, because of the costs involved, we have increased the fee for postage and handling to $10.00. A $2.45 Eventbrite processing fee applies, and we have instituted a deadline of March 15 for catalog orders. There will also be a pdf version of the full catalog available on our website around mid-March. We are now suggesting a $5.00 donation for catalogs picked up at the Festival. Quantities will be limited; the catalogs will be available in the T-Shirt Sales building while supplies last. We know that some people will be unhappy with these changes, especially those who have been around long enough to remember when both admission and catalogs were free. Please be kind in your comments. We are truly doing the best that we possibly can to ensure that we continue to produce a quality event that will continue for years to come.#MDSW2024 ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Online entries are now being accepted for our 2024 Sheep Shows at sheepandwool.fairwire.com/. The featured breed this year is Cotswold.Entry forms and rules and regulations are also available for download from our website:Rules and Regulations - sheepandwool.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/MSWF-2024-Exhibitor-Letter.pdfEntry Form - sheepandwool.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/MSWF-2024-Sheep-Show-Entry-Form.pdfOnline entry will be available through April 1st, 2024. Mailed entries must be postmarked no later than April 1st, 2024. A $25.00 late fee will be assessed to all entries postmarked after April 1st (if space is available). NO entries will be accepted after April 10th.Photo courtesy of American Cotswold Record Association.#mdsw #mdsw2024 #sheepshows #featuredbreed #cotswoldsheep ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook