Monday, 18 October 2010

Rhinebeck 2010

Not every knitter or spinner gets an opportunity to attend the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. It has been held the third full weekend of October for the past 31 years. Come along with me while I recount my activities at this year's 'Rhinebeck Adventures'.

Last Thursday, Mo and I set out for the 2010 NY Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck (site of Chelsea Clinton's wedding in August). It is about an 8 hour drive. Our friend, Marion, was unable to accompany us this year as she was under the weather, so it was just the two of us and Johann, Mo's comfortable and economical fuel-wise 2010 VW Jetta TDI.

Mo was signed up for a hand spindling class on Friday morning. The plan was for me to drop her off and then I'd entertain myself in the quaint town of Rhinebeck for the morning and pick her up at noon. However, Thursday evening, on my way to bed, I whacked my foot into the leg of a chair in the motel room. Ouch! When I took a look at my foot, my 4th and pinkie toes were about 30 degrees out of their normal alignment. I thought the 4th toe might just be dislocated so I attempted to push it back into place and heard a crackling sound. Even at that, the 4th toe wouldn't line up properly so I knew I'd be seeking medical attention the next day.

I called my travel medical insurance people the next morning and informed them of my dilemma and they gave me the names and addresses of several hospitals in the area that I could go to. After dropping Mo off, I decided to go to the Rhinebeck hospital rather than drive back across the bridge across the Hudson River back to Kingston, NY where our motel was.

I programmed the GPS with the address I had been given for the Northern Dutchess Hospital and when it said it was 200m away, I thought it was a mistake. However, I followed the GPS directions and took a left out of the fairgrounds and immediately saw the hospital on the right. There was convenient and free parking reserved for the emergency room. I entered the emergency room at about 9am and was the only person there. I went right into the triage room where I was immediately registered and assigned to Room 1. There was a telephone there that I could use to call my travel medical insurance people again to update them and get the address where the hospital could send the bill. I had to hang up quickly as Dan arrived to take me for my xrays. Shortly thereafter, I was updating my Facebook status with the free Wifi that was available at the hospital. Then the very cute, VERY young doctor came in to tell me my 4th toe was indeed broken in two places and the only treatment was to tape it to the adjacent toe. 

To this point I had only been at the hospital for 30 minutes! I did have to wait 20 min. for the crutches they thought I needed and to get the instructions for my treatment, recovery and followup. By 10 am I was enjoying a half skinny vanilla decaf latte at Samuel's in downtown Rhinebeck with my foot up and tapping a further Facebook update on my iPod Touch.

After I retrieved Mo from her class, we went for lunch and decided to just go back to the motel, get my foot elevated and do some serious knitting and spinning.

The next morning, I decided to ditch the crutches as they were a real hindrance and I was able to walk without much pain (thanks to the Advil). My running shoes had a very ample toe box and did not put any pressure on my broken toe or its buddy the middle toe.

We arrived before 8:30 for the 9am opening and stood in line with the other eager, earlybirds. The key is to get a close parking spot so it is easy to unload one's booty at least once during the day.
First in line was Laurie from The Black Lamb and Cindy. In the half an hour or so before the gates opened up, all these people lined up behind us.

There was lots to see. Lots of lovely yarn. And some very unique sheep. These are Babydolls - miniature sheep that would be perfect for an orchard or yard. They like to eat weeds but won't hurt trees or shrubs. I don't think the Town of Whitby would approve of one of these in my back yard.
I took this picture of a Gotland sheep for my friend, Jody, who aspires to attend the festival next year.
At lunch, I met up with my Rowdy Girl friend, MaryAnne who lives in Baldwinsville, NY and who made her way to Rhinebeck with a couple of knitting and Ravelry friends.

We enjoyed some lamb chili prepared and sold by the 4H Club. Then we went to the Ravelry meetup where I spotted some celebrities. First, I spotted Sarah (in red) and Casey (in green).
Then Jess (in black) arrived, as did Gudrun Johnston, the redhead facing her. I have no idea why I recognized Gudrun - my sub-conscious must have remembered her face from my frequent Ravelry surfing.
And here's Isolde Teague (centre) and Laura Chau's back (in orange). 
I then went over to Carolina Handspun where I said hello to Rachael Herron, who was there signing and selling her newly-published first novel, "How to Knit a Love Song".  I told her I had been a reader of her blog, Yarnagogo, for several years and had tearfully followed the saga of her cat, Digit, who went missing for several months. She told me she has a non-fiction book coming out next year and I'd enjoy reading about Digit in it.

Mo and I met up again at 3pm to assess our situation and decided we had indeed seen everything and bought everything we could possibly need or want. If we went back to the motel, we'd never go out again so we decided to kill time in downtown Rhinebeck, have dinner, and make our way to the Ravelry party which was to begin at 6:30pm.

We found a table at Village Pizza, a popular spot for local families. We had ice cream and drinks and spent a couple of hours spinning yarn with our new drop spindles. Here, Mo is enjoying a Stella and showing off the new yarn she created.
I had bought a 19g/0.59oz. Jenkins Turkish drop spindle and was pleased at the opportunity to try it out and get off my feet for a while.

At about 5pm we had dinner there and then at about 6 set the GPS for the Elks Lodge in Red Hook where the Ravelry party was to take place. We got stuck in the traffic near the fairgrounds but traffic officers kept things moving. Earlier in the day we were fortunate to have exited the fairgrounds from the back way (Mulberry St.)  or we would still have been sitting in the lineup to exit the fairgrounds 2 hours later.

When we arrived at the Elks Lodge, we were directed down the street and just followed the cars to the elementary school a couple of kilometres away where there was plenty of parking and boarded the shuttle bus to the party. The bus (and there was only one) arrived every 15 minutes to load up another 48 passengers to take them to the party. About an hour later, we finally made it to the front of the lineup and got to the party.

There, we were greeted personally by Jess (Ravelry creator), who thanked us for coming and encouraged us to please enjoy the bar, food and bonfire. Mo and I picked up our Ravelry goodie bags and found a couple of chairs. There were party tents set up and lots of tables and chairs. There were also heaters which kept things quite toasty. It wasn't a very cold night and there was no wind so sitting outside was quite pleasant. After a bathroom visit, we realized we were quite pooped and knitting in the warm motel room in our jammies sounded like a really good idea so we boarded the next bus back to the parking lot and made our way back to the motel in Kingston with all our loot.

This was the commemorative goodie bag.

and therein contained was all this (click to 'embiggen').

Back at the motel we spread out our new acquisitions on our beds and I took a couple of photos. This was Mo's stuff.

which included 5 drop spindles of varying weights - including two Goldings.
This was my pile.
One of the first things I bought was a lucet which, according to Wikipedia, "is a tool used in cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods, when it was utilized to create cords that were used on clothing, or to hang useful items from the belt. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool." The lady at the booth said she makes her husband's sturdy shoe laces with it.
I had previously watched a YouTube video on the subject so was quite intrigued to actually see them for sale. 
I was thrilled to find the long awaited (for me) book, "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders", which hadn't even been released yet.
and even more thrilled that the author was there to sign my copy!
I scored a couple of skeins of  mohair/cormo blend yarn in a rich pumpkin colour from Buckwheat Bridge Angoras.
This 100% laceweight cashmere set me back a few dollars but I couldn't pass it up. It's not as orangey-red as the photo shows.
And I couldn't leave the booth without these two skeins of qiviuk (qiviut) blend from Windy Valley Muskox in Alaska.
Speaking of laceweight, this 100g ball of yarn has over 1800 yards - that's more than a mile of yarn, Baby! The people at this booth were the ones who loaned "the" Orenburg shawl to the Textile Museum of Canada and that Mo and I visited in the summer.

I found this hand-painted handspun in a sale bin from Dorchester Farms in Dorchester, MA. Who could pass that up?
Then there was the fibre. I bought a couple of bags of cormo top from Foxhill Farm in Lee, MA,
And a 5.4 oz. bag of nice squishy alpaca top from Staghorn Valley Alpacas.

I had a nice chat with the gal at Loop Fibre Studio. Her stock was running low and she told me she was going to be pulling an all-nighter to prepare more rolls for the next day. She had only found out 10 days before that she had a booth at The Festival and was REALLY lucky to get a booth inside the Horticulture Building.

 Her centre-pull, self-striping rolls of fibre were comprised of random fibres in striking colours.
She said she'd just check off the contents as she packaged each roll from her carder.
Each roll had a unique, descriptive name. I'm sure she would have sold out the next day.

Ever the lazy spinner, I snagged some inexpensive pencil roving - 4oz in each bag
and some llama fibre that was on sale. It smells very 'llama-ish' but I'm sure it will spin up nicely and will love a bath in some scented Soak.
Yesterday we drove part of the way home to Watertown, NY and went on a bit of a shopping spree at Target (which we Canadians pronounce 'tar-jay' - as if it were a French word). I spun up some more of the hand-painted cormo and then plied it during "Mad Men". It  certainly is laceweight. I need to make it into a little skein and pet it a little.

This is what my foot looked like yesterday.

It's still a bit swollen and the bruising has gone over past the middle toe and has darkened but I'm pain free, even without taking any Advil today at all and am keeping my fingers crossed that all is healing normally. Am I ever glad I gave myself a pedicure before this trip.

I got home at about 1pm today.

Does anyone need a pair of shiny new, hardly-used crutches?


  1. Hi Geri...Oh so sorry about your poor toe! You reacted quickly to the situation though and everything worked out enough for you to enjoy the festival. You bought some fabulous stuff too :-) Thanks for the pic of the beautiful Gotland....did you know which farm it was from?

  2. OH HAI!! That's me in the cranberry sweater and blue hat right in front of your photo of the line! You must've been right in front of us!!

  3. Well, how cool is that! Nice to meet you beckyinvt. Did you enjoy "The Festival"?

  4. You certainly did not let that broken toe slow you down! Good to see and I'm glad to you hear you had a wonderful time.

  5. You cleaned up! What a haul! Good on you. It was so nice meeting you!
    Now, rest that poor foot as you spin a bit. :)