Rhinebeck Report

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a bad blogger.  A very very bad blogger.  I took no Rhinebeck pictures.  Not one.  If you are looking for sheep-y yarn-y pics, go check out someone more diligent.  I my defense I can only say it was my first Rhinebeck and I was in a daze of wool fumes.  I’ll have to settle for a written report (plus a stash enhancement pic).

We were rolling Rhinebeck in with a larger vacation, so we spent Thursday implementing a masterful car packing plan and delivering the Kitten Overlords to The Boy’s parents (saints I tell you, saints…that’s a lot of kitten to take on).  We climbed into the car bright and early Friday morning.  My role in this family is to fall promptly asleep when put in the car for more than an hour.  I feel a bit guilty about this (somehow I think I should be entertaining The Boy with my scintillating conversation), but I assuage my guilt with a good audio book and the knowledge that if I’m asleep, I’m not asking to take a pit stop every half hour.  He assures me this is a fair trade off.  We stopped at the Bandwagon Brewpub in Ithaca for lunch with a dear friend (and she brought me books…books that will be vital to the project after KCC…because she is awesome and knows my brain better than I do), then rolled on to Poughkeepsie.

The next morning, the scale of this enterprise began to become clear as I realized that our hotel (the hotel 30 minutes from the fairgrounds) was crawling with knitters.  The place was just dripping with sweaters.

I’d heard traffic could be tricky, so we headed out early and got there about half an hour before the gates opened.  We found a decent parking spot (and didn’t get stuck in the mud), so perhaps it was a good plan.  We’d printed our tickets at home, so we got in the short line (the other line stretched back an alarmingly long way).  The line is actually where I started to freak out just a bit.  I don’t particularly like crowds.  Not really at all.  But soon enough, the gates opened and the huddle of knitters dispersed.

I’d scouted the vendor list ahead of time and knew where the 3 or 4 booths I really wanted to hit were, but my general plan was to just sort of meander.  We headed to one end of the fair grounds and worked our way back.  I’m not really sure there’s much I can say that hasn’t been said better by others.  It boils down to ‘yarn pretty,’ ‘sheep cute (and smelly),’ ‘knitters nice,’ ‘food tasty,’ ‘lines long.’

In short order, the grounds got busier, the sun got brighter, and the day got hotter.  The combination of hot, crowded, and noisy makes me want to sit in the corner and rock softly back and forth.  I remained stoic (or, rather, I whinged shamelessly to The Boy and tried to devise elaborate schemes whereby I could be the only knitter in a booth at any given time while telling myself to brass up and get over it).  There were one or two booths I just couldn’t manage to get into as they were packed too tightly for me to stomach the idea, but I eventually found my way into most of them.

Despite the huge selection (or maybe because of it), I was remarkably restrained in my purchases.  I got exactly three things of yarn (I almost bought the spinning wheel I’ve been lusting after for a year, but somehow managed to resist).  Namely, these three.

The first is Briar Rose Fourth of July in a lovely mottled blue.  This is destined to become some marvelous socks for The Boy (and the sizable leftovers will become something for me, I’m just not sure what yet).  He loves Briar Rose colors (he picked this one out) and can easily spot their booth from across a crowded fairground.

Yarn number two is Space Cadet Organza 8-ply in Spice Trade.  This needs no explanation.  Just look at the picture and you’ll see at once why I snatched it up.  You would have too (in fact, two other people stopped me in the booth and asked where that color was hiding).  Stephanie and I chatted a bit, and I think you’ll be seeing more of her yarn around here in the future!

My final selection is something I can’t actually provide a link for.  It’s some lovely super skinny pencil roving (does that even make sense?  is it still pencil roving if it’s that skinny?) in an unabashedly cheerful rainbow.  This was at a booth that sold jewelry, tucked over on the side, and the jewelry maker’s website makes no mention of any yarn or fiber stuff.  But, if you look around on etsy, you can find similar things.  I don’t intend to spin it, just to knit with it exactly like it is.  My first inclination is giant cowl, but I want this one to sit and percolate a bit before I play with it just to be sure it’s the right project.  I have a feeling I’ll love it.

After that, I was getting a bit too warm, and the crowds were a bit too thick, so we fled (I fled, The Boy said things like ‘are you sure you got enough yarn, that’s not a very big bag…’).  Which seems a good place to leave this for the moment.  More ramblings (and somehow more yarn) to come later.

Reveal

You recall our little trip the other weekend?  You recall I mentioned I was knitting as we drove around?  But for some mysterious reason I didn’t show you the knitting (unusual behavior for a knitting blogger).  That’s because it was stealth birthday knitting.  But the birthday has come and gone, and the knitting has made its way to the intended person, so I can come back and retroactively show it off.

These are the mitts I made with the Alisha Goes Around yarn I mentioned the other week.  First, proof that I really did take them on the trip.  We grabbed this shot when we walked down to the water in Watkins Glen while waiting for our table at lunch.  I don’t think the town has a high enough density of knitters, as we got more than one funny look in the process.  I mean really, if there were the proper number of knitters, people would be used to that sort of thing.  Any looks would be attempts to catch a glimpse of the ball band, not darting glances to see if the crazy person was dangerous.

I finished the second one on the drive home on Sunday.  Monday afternoon I blocked them.  Tuesday we grabbed some pictures.  First, I did pictures of them on hand forms (not being able to take terribly good shots of both of  my own hands).

That evening I sweet talked The Boy into taking some of them on my hands (in the 15 minutes between when he got home and the sun went down…I may have ambushed him in the driveway with the camera in clutched in my mitt-clad hands).  I’ll show those off next week when I put the pattern out.  The pattern is off with testers now.  All it needs in the meantime is a name, and it will be ready to go.

Ran Away, Part 4

Alrighty, this is getting ridiculous.  We were gone just over 48 hours, you’d think I could tell you all about this in less than half a dozen posts.

When we last spoke, we were pulling away from the Schaefer yarn outlet.  After such an experience, we needed something restorative.  We headed over to Finger Lakes Distilling.  We’ve been going there since they opened and their products have just gotten better.  We supplemented the basement supplies and set out for lunch.

Somehow, no one quite knows how, Finger Lakes Fibers just happened to be between where we parked and the restaurant.  It seemed foolish not to pop in for just a moment.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

It’s hard to see it in the photo (the ink on the label wasn’t super dark), but that’s Embonpoint, one of my very very early patterns!  It was just laying there, all casual like, on top of a basket of Nichole yarn.  I made a little squeak (spotting ‘my’ knitting in the wild never fails to delight), snapped a picture, and then promptly trotted off to the counter to buy that lovely red skein over on the far left of the picture. It’s mine, you can’t have it.

The yarn monster thus fully sated, we headed down the street to Roosterfish Brewing for lunch.  Possibly a beer too.  Now Roosterfish just happens to be conveniently located near Lakewood Vineyards, another old favorite.  It would have been rude not to stop by.  Then it was over to Bully Hill (not at all conveniently located, but too long-standing a tradition to ignore).  All together, it was rather a long day, so we retired to the hotel for a restorative nap.  We rounded off the evening with dinner at the Bandwagon Brewpub in Ithaca.  (See me being all efficient there and just breezing over the yarn-deficient parts of the trip with great speed?)

The next morning saw breakfast with some dear friends, a stop at the Ithaca farmer’s market to snag a bit more cider (from Eve’s Cidery), 12 pounds of honey, and a necklace/earrings made of rocks (rocks I tell you…damn cool).  Then we were on the road and heading to Hemlock.  Why Hemlock?  Because that’s where the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival is of course.  This whole trip came together at the last minute, and when I realized the festival was the same weekend, it seemed like far too much of a coincidence to pass up.  We stopped on the way for lunch, and then spent a lovely two hours wandering around among the sheep and goats and llamas and other furry critters.

Go ahead.  You try and resist that face.  I dare you.  Somehow, I actually managed not to buy any yarn or fiber.  Shocking I know.  I’ll blame my unwarranted self restraint on the resolution not to buy any more fiber until I get a spinning wheel.

As the fair closed, we headed back home to make up with the kittens and try and soothe their outrage at having been left alone for two whole nights.  With luck, they’ll be talking to us again any day now.

Ran Away, Part 3

When last I left you, The Boy had spotted the Schaefer outlet sign, informed me of this discovery, and graciously redirected the car.  We pulled up and saw the yarn waving at us through the open doorway.  Someone was out front working in the garden.  I asked if we could go in, and stepped inside.

Should you ever be in this part of the world, I highly recommend you find a way to do the same.

The room is tiny, but it’s packed floor to ceiling with lovely yarn.  One of my favorite things about Schaefer is the wide array of bases they offer.  Lace weight to bulky…wool, cotton, or silk…smooth, fuzzy, or down right bumpy…you’re sure to find something to inspire.  And of course the colors are fabulous.  I think (though I’m not 100% sure) that the yarns in the outlet are sometimes a bit different from their regular colors.  The two skeins I got have tags identifying the base but not the color, and I don’t see corresponding colors on their website.  I snagged a skein of Nichole (a long-time favorite) in a lovely green and gray.  I also got a skein of Stephanie (which is brand new and not available anywhere but the outlet for the moment) in a lovely blue and green.  I have concocted plans for both already.

As I was petting all the yarn, I got to talking.  I asked the person who had come in with us if she was Cheryl (as in Cheryl Schaefer who runs the place) and she said she was.  At this point I may have made a little squeak and done that peculiarly modern thing where you introduce yourself in person to someone you’ve known for a while online.  For you see, when I say I really like Schaefer Yarn, I rather mean it.  I used their yarn in Silk Road Socks (Khotan) and in Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet (Dianthus superbus socks and cowl) and in Rabble Rousers (Fracas hat and cuff).  Cheryl has been nice enough to feed my habit, and it was lovely to finally put a face to the name.

As we were leaving, she asked if I wanted to take a peek in the dyeing barn.  Um, yes?  Yes please?  I hadn’t realized all the yarn was dyed right there in the next building over.  I pictured some sort of massive facility with corridors of shelves and bins stretching off into the hazy distance, each bursting with a different kind and color of yarn.  The reality was somehow even more impressive.  All that yarn comes out of a fairly small building.  It’s a hugely efficient space.  I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I did grab a few pics (with Cheryl’s permission of course).

We’ve got some yarn:

And a bit more yarn (it was all over the place, hard not to notice it really):

A lovely bit of machinery (I think for winding the yarn off into hanks, but I’m not sure…I was too busy wondering if I could find a way to disassemble it and take the end bit home and hang it in my living room as art):

And this magical little box of tags, which just amused me to no end.  I loved seeing them there ready to go out with their yarns and conquer the world:

And once again, this has grown to shameful lengths and I will have to come back and do more tomorrow.  I swear it’s taking me longer to tell you about it than the trip itself took.  This excursion just ended up having a far higher knitting quotient that I was expecting, and it makes for good blog fodder!

Ran Away, Part 2

You know those days where everything just seems to line up and work?  Lots of stuff gets done without any feeling of being rushed or frantic?  Yeah, somehow we managed to have a whole weekend like that.  I’ll do the abbreviated version here.  (Why? Because it’s my website and I totally use it for shameless reminders of where I went when and oh what was that cool restaurant and when did we visit those folks and a whole list of other things.  That’s why.  I totally encourage you to go find a more interesting corner of the internet today if needs be.)

Friday we rolled out of town and headed to Ithaca.  We stopped off at The Brewerie in Erie for dinner.  We’d been meaning to stop in there for ages, but somehow only ever managed to be in town on Sundays, and they’re closed Sundays.  Yummy beer (embarrassingly enough, I liked the watermelon one, which sounds terribly unlikely, but is nonetheless true), good food.  Totally worth driving away from the highway to get to (we seem to go through Erie on the way to other places a lot, and often want to get lunch/dinner and never quite managed to find a place we liked…now we’ve fixed that, so long as we’re not through on Sunday).

Then it was on to The Haunt (I would link but the site plays loud advertisements, it’s easy to find if you need it) for the show.  Jukebox the Ghost was fabulous as always (pretend I inserted a moving and inspiring speech here about how you should go see them, then arrange to go see them, mkay?).  That let out late (or I’m old…I totally wouldn’t discount the old possibility), so it was off to bed.

The next day we figured we’d hit a few of our favorite purveyors of adult beverages.  We’ve been coming here since we were first um…old enough to drink.  Our first stop was Bellwether.  They do amazing and have a resident loaner kitten.  We stocked up on provisions, and headed out again.

On the way to our next stop, boy spotted a sign:

I, I had totally missed the sign (I was busy knitting you see).  A conversation ensued.  It went something like this.

The Boy: You like Schaefer Yarn, don’t you.

Me: Yes, yes indeed I do (this then followed by a brief discourse on their yummy yarns and the projects I’d undertaken therewith).

The Boy: They’re around here, aren’t they?

Me: Yup, hence the alarming size of the bags of yarn that leap into the car when we visit the yarn stores in these parts.

The Boy: Wanna go?

Then came a blur wherein I said I didn’t think it was the sort of place one could just go visit, he mentioned the wee sign, I spluttered incoherent mumblings of joy, and he pointed the car in the right direction.  Which is where we’ll pick up the tale next time.  For while the weekend was streamlined and efficient, it seems my account of it is neither, and I fear I may have rambled on too long.

Ran Away

Friday afternoon we set kittens up to be self sufficient for a day or two, tossed a change of clothes in a bag, flung some things in the car, and ran away.  Our favorite band, Jukebox The Ghost, was playing in Ithaca.  We were unable to resist.  If you find them in a town near you, you shouldn’t resist either.

There’s lots of yarny stuff to report too, but it will have to wait till later in the week.  But don’t worry, it’s coming.  I just have to see if I can get my camera to behave long enough to release the rest of its pictures.