Monday, 22 October 2012

Rhinebeck 2012

My intrepid BFFs (Best Fibre Friends), Maureen and Dianne and I travelled to the Hudson Valley this weekend to attend the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck, NY. It is my 5th time going since 2007, and is the highlight of my fall fibrey pursuits. If you're interested in reading about my other Rhinebeck adventures, you can check by blog posts for 2007, 2009, 2010 the year of the Broken Toe, or 2011.

I was very careful this time to have my passport in hand and had my US wallet, camera, iPod Touch, electronics and cords in my travel purse. A couple of hours into our 700km trip, I realized I hadn't brought my regular purse containing my iPhone and regular wallet which held about half of my US cash and my debit and credit cards.  Arghhhh!!!  I immediately began having separation anxiety about being without my iPhone. Without a valid credit card, I was certainly not free to make any 'to die for' purchases at Rhinebeck.  Fortunately, Di had a surplus of US cash and a valid credit card of her own so she spotted me enough to tide me over (Thanks, Di!) and Mo put all of our hotel charge on her credit card and I can reimburse her when the amount in Canadian dollars appears on her statement. Phew! Note to self - always keep a credit card in my US wallet - better yet, don't be such a bonehead and leave important stuff at home.

Anyway, we arrived at our destination by about 3:30pm, did some fabric and booze shopping and checked into our hotel. I picked up these cute, cable-knit slippers at Target.

This is the second time we've stayed at the Quality Inn and Suites in Kingston, and it may be our last. It is a better grade hotel than the Rodeway Inn Skytop, but once again, neither of my devices and only one of Mo's devices would connect to the Internet. Also, the restaurant was horribly understaffed and the service was SLOW, even though the hotel management knew it was a BIG weekend and handed out breakfast vouchers to all who checked in. Note to self - investigate other lodgings in the area.

Friday morning, it was raining, but we were going to be inside all day taking classes. Mo took a class on Custom Fitting Existing Patterns by Lily Chin and Dianne took a class in basketry from Wendy Jensen on the Highbush Blueberry Picker/Sock Project Basket. They were both all-day workshops.

My 3-hour class on tvåändsstickning (twined knitting) was with Donna Kay of Tree Life Designs. Donna was a really well-organized teacher of this technique with clear, succinct instructions and by the end of our workshop, most of us were able to complete the twined knitted cuff. Here's mine.

In the afternoon, I drove to a small yarn mill in Red Hook but didn't see anything that 'turned my crank' so I returned to Rhinebeck and parked myself at Samuel's of Rhinebeck to use their Wifi, sip caffe latte, start casting off the Holden shawl I was knitting and await my companions as they finished their afternoon classes.

The next morning, we arrived at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds shortly after 8 and lined up to get in. From past experience, we knew that we had to arrive early to get a parking spot even close to the entrance - a must for periodic unloading of purchases throughout the day. At 8:12, this is where we stood in line for the 9am opening.
I thought I'd make good use of our time in line to continue binding off my Holden Shawlette.

It was at this point I realized I had left my e-ticket back at the hotel. Grrr. (It seems I had not only left my purse in Canada, my brain was there, too).

In front of us was a gal sporting a very cute fleece sweater.
She and her friend were from the Cleveland area and as excited to be there as we were.
She took our photo. Don't we look happy (although a little over-exposed)?
Maureen wearing the Low Tide Cardigan, Dianne and Geri wearing Acanthus shawl
Once inside, I headed off by myself to begin my browsing. Di and Mo went directly to Jennie the Potter's booth where her commemorative Rhinebeck mugs and bowls were being snapped up. I later learned she had completely sold out of her commemorative things and most of her other items by 9:30am! I, instead, wandered to the far side of the buildings and began my methodical system of seeing everything.

The rain from the day before had dried up for the most part and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Some trees were still ablaze with colour.
This photo shows the kind of fairground buildings where many of the vendors are located.
Basically, they are stalls with woodchips on the floor.

One of the buildings had all kinds of breeds of sheep on display. The locks on these Leicester Longwools are about 7" long.
There was also a building just of alpacas.

I attended a sheep auction. The ewe before this one was pregnant with twins and sold for $450.
At our appointed meeting time, I made my way to the 4H building where the kids were selling lunch items, including lamb chili.

There are tons of midway-type vendors down the hill. Food items such as deep-fried dill pickles, artichokes, falafel, etc. are quite popular. In fact, one of the gals from my Friday class, Carin, of Round The Twist podcast, stated that that is the main festival attraction for her!

On the other side of the walkway from the 4H building, a couple of people showed their llamas and answered questions from passersby.
At this point I took a photo of the field where cars were parked. It was only 11am and almost as far as one could see were rows and rows of cars.
I met up with Di and Mo at this point. They were done shopping and were heading into the town to take in the cuteness and specialty shops.

After lunch, I continued on my way, visiting the remaining buildings and booths.

It is a lovely experience to be surrounded by fibrephiles such as myself. It's fun to spot knitwear and try to guess the name of the pattern. It's even more fun to compliment someone on their knitted item (or to receive compliments) or go up and fondle the fabric of the item. Touchy-feely with strangers is all perfectly acceptable in this environment.

I went to the building where the authors were set up for their book-signing but unfortunately, most of them were on their lunch break. I did however, buy 'Reversible Scarves' by Audrey Knight from the Cooperative Press booth. I had just listened to the KnitPicks interview about this book a couple of nights before. Audrey wasn't there but I did get to chat with Alasdair Post-Quinn about his book 'Extreme Double Knitting' which I had purchased last year. He was on his lunch break when I bought it then, too. I told him I loved his patterns and that I had, in fact, knit a capybara scarf using his techniques for the Corvus Scarf. He exclaimed, "Oh YOU'RE the one who knit the Capybara Scarf." I was so flattered that he had liked what I had done. He has recently completed the pattern for another scarf, "52 Pickup" where he charted 52 playing cards and a joker for knitting a scarf. He considers it his 'Magnum Opus'.

I took some photos of a couple of interesting spinning wheels. This booth featured the SpinOlution wheels, one of which my spinnerly friend, Rosemary, has. Hers is the Bee,  the one on the top left. It actually folds down for travel into an airline carry-on bag size.
I took this photo of the Hitchhiker for another spinnerly/weaverly friend, Diane, as she aspires to own one of these someday.
Here are a few more Hitchhikers (in front) and some Ashford Kiwi wheels in the back.
Back at the hotel, I spread my loot out onto the bed. Clockwise from the top left, Knit and Spin stickers above a 0.4 oz. Golding spindle; 4oz. of Bitsy Knits custom carded roving; I ♥ NYS Sheep & Wool Festival sticker; Reversible Scarves book; Swedish weaving boat shuttle; 2 skeins of 50/50 wool/alpaca fingering weight yarn from Twist of Fate Spinnery, LLP of Portland, CT; another skein of light grey fingering weight 100% wool yarn; 4 oz. of Fiber Optic Yarns Tangerine to Ultraviolet Gradient roving; a bag of lavender; a pair of sheeply alpaca socks; some coil-less safety pins; a skein of 100% white sock yarn and several buttons. I'm not sure why I photographed my Acanthus Shawl with my Ravelry button affixed.
That night, I printed the Larus + Ardea fingerless knitting pattern from Knitty, Winter 2008 on the hotel computer and started knitting a pair of wrist warmers with one of the skeins of wool. I realized fingering weight really is too thin and looked forward to starting a pair with some Dale of Norway Heilo from my stash.

Back at home, I was reunited with my purse and iPhone, Skip and Ollie. My memories of Rhinebeck 2012 are printed on my brain. I am already planning next year's epic fibrey foray.

Thanks to Mo and Di for being such adventuresome and amiable companions. 


  1. Fabulous pics....thanks so much for sharing!! Next year for sure I am going haha!!
    Oh the couple showing their Alpacas...those are actually Llamas.

  2. Oops! I will certainly correct that.

  3. Looks like you had a great time!

  4. Also, I have tweaked my blog format to allow for larger photos. :-)