Loot

I went to Rhinebeck and didn’t buy yarn.  I know this sounds a bit odd, but I get rather frazzled when I find myself somewhere crowded.  I bailed out after less than three hours.  I wanted very badly to be elsewhere, so we left.  Luckily, we were up in Maine after Rhinebeck, and Maine seems to be exceptionally well supplied with yarn stores.  I visited quite a few of them.

quinceOf course we went into Portland, which means of course we went to KnitWit, which means of course I bought yarn from Quince & Co.  Rather a lot of yarn actually.  That’s six skeins of Tern (three in Dusk and three in Back Bay) and three skeins of Chickadee in Kumlien’s Gull.  I’m not quite sure what might become of them (this will be a theme, I don’t tend to buy yarn with a project in mind), but I think they’ll all turn into something grand.

string theoryAnd as usual, we stopped by String Theory, and I had my yearly indulgence of impressive proportions.  My ongoing obsession with their bases and colors is well documented, and this should be a surprise to absolutely no one.  Along the back are Merino DK in Alexandrite, Caledonia, and Earthquake.  In the front is Blue Faced Sport in Skerry and Caper Aran in Canyon.  I got two skeins of each because I love them all dearly and don’t want to run out.  I’m just going to emphasize that if you have the chance to try this yarn, you really really should.  They can do no wrong.

maine yarnAnd of course we visited a few other spots as we wandered around.  We stopped in at Over The Rainbow Yarns in Rockland (when we were in town to visit out very favorite restaurant in all the world, Primo – if you are even sort of close by you owe it to yourself to go).  I grabbed a few skeins of The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light in Moonstone.  And we also popped into Halcyon Yarn in Bath (I told you Maine was swimming in yarn stores).  There I found something new, a mink yarn by Lotus called Mimi.  I’ve not knit with mink before (though the promotional material assured me this was animal-friendly mink, harvested by brushing the critters, rather than by anything less savory).  I’m going to have to do some reading to see what folks do with it, but it’s so soft I had to give it a try.

That seems like rather a lot of yarn when taken all together – quite possibly enough to make up for not getting any at Rhinebeck!  How about you guys, were any of you at Rhinebeck?  Did you manage to fight your way through the crowds enough to buy some yarn?  I saw lots of folks with bags, so I’m guessing somebody bought some!

Toasty

I’m clearly overdue to tell you about Rhinebeck.  My only excuse is that we’ve gone of on a bit of an excursion after, and, when faced with the choice between staring at my computer or gazing out across the water, the water wins.

But I have found one of the things I picked up at the show to be especially useful on the trip.  You see, I did an odd thing.  I didn’t buy any yarn at Rhinebeck.  I know this is a bit scandalous, but alas it’s true (don’t worry, I have remedied this on the rest of the trip and will report back soon).  Instead, I bought a blanket.

DSC_2427Here is what it looked like all tidily folded out of the bag, with the lovely Dashing Star Farm label all cute and sparkly.  Quite charming and respectably wooly.

DSC_2437And here is how it looked, crumpled and inviting, every time I popped out from under it for a minute to fetch a glass of tea or get a new book.  For you see, it is chilly here, and the blanket is warm, and I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time snuggled up under it.

I’m really starting to like this blanket as souvenir thing.  Yarn is lovely and wooly too, but you have to do a bit more work to it before it’s ready to be snuggled.  The blanket is much quicker!

Rhinebeck, Commerce Style

Now part of the fun of Rhinebeck is the critters (see the previous post), and part of it is the snacks, and part of it is the completely shameless knitterly abandon with which everyone curates their wardrobes.  But I would not be being honest if I didn’t admit that part of the fun is the shopping opportunities.  I confess I indulged.  Though technically I brought home less yarn than last year.  What I lacked in yardage I made up for in volume.

Yarnwise, I was very restrained.  A mere two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery’s Simply Fine followed me home.  That’s restraint of a nearly alarming degree if you ask me.

rb buy 3My second purchase was a bit more eclectic.  The Boy and I are both devotees of woolly slippers, and ours are both in need of some fluffing up on the bottoms, so we grabbed a few pairs of sheepskin slipper liners.  Alas, I do not have a picture of these, as they were jammed promptly into slippers and as such are now not so picturesque.  Use your imagination.

The third item…the third item will surprise no one aware of my long-standing and well-documented fondness for blankets.  I bought a blanket.  Well no, I bought two blankets.  Two gray, woolly blankets in a lovely wool and alpaca blend from Staghorn Valley Alpacas.

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rb buy 2And no, it wasn’t the cheapest Rhinebeck souvenir ever.  It may well be the warmest though (we put them to good use when we went on to Maine, and they are currently doing hard service in our family room as we work to avoid turning on the heat as long as possible The Boy just caved and turned it on…I swear it was him and not me). Besides, previous experience has taught me that housewares make for much longer-lasting goodies than yarn.

Rhinebeck, Critter Style

I’m home.  I’m home, and I have a nearly ridiculous list of things I want to tell you about the trip.  I fear you’ll grow rather sick of it by the time we’re done.  There was yarn, of course, and blankets.  There was unexpected fibery goodness in unlikely spots, completely unplanned knitting (knitting in support of a wildly unlikely project that will, itself, feature largely here over the next few months), planned knitting, surprise knitting (plus bonus kitten), treasure hunting, immolation, and quite a few other things as well.

As usual, I make no guarantee of chronological integrity.  I will flit shamelessly back and forth between trip stuff and current stuff over the next few weeks, consider yourself warned.  All I can say is I will not suffer from a lack of post material any time soon.  But to start with, how about a quick recap of the fuzzy critters of Rhinebeck.  Shameless cuteness ahead.

rb1Can we start with a vicuña?  I’d not seen one before. As far as I can tell they are a cross between a cartoon character and a cloud.

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rb4Next up, llamas.  A bunch of llamas.  I’ve seen plenty of alpacas before, and I figured llamas and alpacas were more or less the same critters, but no.  These are much bigger, much shaggier, and (at least in the case of these guys) total snuggle bunnies.

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rb5And of course, I would be remiss not to include some sheep.  I may possibly be including a goat here as well (there is some doubt in my mind about the gentleman at the bottom there…anyone more versed in ovine/caprine distinction than I feel free to weigh in).  In any case, there was much woolly goodness to be had.  And a bit of that woolly goodness made its way home with me, which will be the subject of the next trip post.  In a day or two.  When I’m a bit more caught up on laundry and the mail is sorted.

And Then Onward

When last I left you, we had just fled left Rhinebeck.  We were in great need of some lunch.  We had secured the required apple cider donuts while we were at the fair, but the food vendors had alarmingly lengthy lines.  I could not be convinced to stand in line that long for yarn, I certainly wasn’t going to do it for food.  Instead we drove into town and went to Terrapin.

Thus restored, we ventured on to Tuthilltown Spirits.  The Boy had long wanted to visit, and none of our previous jaunts to New York had taken us close enough to manage it.  It was high time we remedied that oversight.  He found what he was looking for, and I found the resident kitten to visit with.  Thus well supplied with yarn and spirits (hint, be sure your sweetie collects something as bulky and expensive as yarn, accept this collection with good grace, and you’ll never ever ever hear a peep about the amount of space/money devoted to yarn…works like a charm), we went back to the hotel to clean up.

While we were at Terrapin, we had seen signs for New York Cider Week.  Being devout fans, we thought it only fitting to find a participating restaurant for dinner.  We found a spot at Agriturismo and enjoyed a lovely dinner.  The next morning, we rolled out bright and early and pushed on to Maine…which I’ll talk about next time.

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.

Scattered

Hi all, you’ll have to pardon me if things are a bit scattered for a day or two.  We’re back from our trip.  We went up to Rhinebeck, and then on to Maine for a bit of a vacation.  We had planned to wind our way back slowly and arrive home Wednesday evening, but there’s a bit of a storm at the moment.  We made the executive decision that all the places we’d be seeing on our way home were likely to be a bit damp and windy, so we opted to dash home instead.  After two very long, very wet, very windy days of driving, we got in Monday afternoon.

Now I’m in that daze of trip re-entry (unpack, do the laundry, go find groceries, get the cats, get the mail, sort out the email, etc).  All of which is made more fun by the nice heavy rains and stiff winds and good chance that the power may leave us at some point (we live in an old neighborhood with lots of big lovely trees and above ground power lines…half of our town is dark already).

But all that’s just an inconvenience, not much of a safety issue, and we’ll be fine.  Over the next day or two (power permitting) I’ll be on here to update you with the trip, announce the winner of Carol’s book, show off some lovely sock pictures, and all sorts of other bloggy goodness.  Hope everyone else is safe and dry.

Packed

I’ve taken a middle of the road approach.  I’ve packed the socks in progress.  I’ve also packed blockers to finish them, so hopefully I’ll get pictures of them (and of the ones I finished back in August) while we’re away.  And of course I have a wee knitting tool kit (my 4 most used sizes of DPNs, ruler, darning needle, scissors, hook), some graph paper, a pencil, a few pattern ideas that have been running rampant on sticky notes, and two balls of wound yarn. That should keep me busy for a while at least.

Oh, and lest you worry, I have worked out a way to keep shipping stuff while I’m away.  It may take an extra day or two, but I’ll stick a wee bonus goody into any packages that go while I’m away to help console you for any possible delays (and of course, as always, you’ll get the electronic version within a few minutes of your purchase).

There will also be plenty of stuff on the blog while I’m gone (be sure you check it out on Monday for a giveaway).  I’ll try (try mind you, sometimes it’s not my strong suit) to tweet all the fun stuff I do at Rhinebeck.

Packing

I’m getting stuff sorted for Rhinebeck, and I’m facing the perpetual problem of all knitters.  Packing clothes is easy…packing knitting is hard.

This is especially true at the moment as I have precisely one pair of socks on the needles.  Not a single other thing.  And it’s the second of the pair too, and just past the gusset decreases.  That means it might (possibly) be enough knitting to get me through the drive, especially if I nap for part of it (which is always likely, I have an off switch in my butt).  That doesn’t leave me anything for the rest of the trip.  This does not bode well.

Now, there’s the wee bit of handspun I showed you the other day.  But that will need quite a bit of swatching and weighing and mathing before I’m ready to really get down to business.  None of that is best done on the road, so that project will likely have to wait till I’m back home.

There’s also every chance I’ll buy some (hah, some) yarn at Rhinebeck.  But yarn is only part of the necessary kit for starting a pattern.  I also need graph paper, pencils, a few different sizes of needles, and perhaps the odd stitch dictionary.

So the choices seem to be 1) head off without enough knitting 2) head off with all the kit I might need to start a brand new pattern (which is rather a lot) or 3) find time to start a new pattern before we go (hah!).  Each of these has the potential to end in heartbreak.  Three seems the wisest, but I’m somewhat dubious.