Yarn pilgrimage part three: Sunday at Rhinebeck

November 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

After a fantastic yet brief visit on Saturday, we planned out what we were going to do on Sunday. We all wanted to see the dog demonstrations, J was planning on doing some knitting, and M and C wanted to not spend too much money. I too was hoping not to go over budget, and more importantly to soak in even more Rhinebeck atmosphere and admire all the projects that people were wearing. I saw a veritable showcase of Ravelry’s greatest hits: Terras, February Lady sweaters, Earth and Sky shawls, Irish Coffee tunics, Central Park hoodies, and more. Oddly enough, I didn’t see any more Multnomahs after having seen so many at the train station. Maybe Multnomah is the shawl you wear around non-knitters, and then when you’re around knitters you bring out the big showy knits like the Pi Shawl.

Anyway, on Sunday we got up fairly early, went back to A Fork in the Road for breakfast (I had smoked salmon and eggs, so good!), and then right away I headed to my first goal of the day: to meet Clara Parkes at the Spirit Trail booth. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and probably one of the biggest influences on what I like to knit with, thanks to her two previous books, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and even more so The Knitter’s Book of Wool. Thanks to Clara I can talk about sheep, their wool, and wool’s benefits for almost as long as I can talk about my cats!

Unfortunately she was out of copies of her latest book, The Knitter’s Book of Socks, so I’m hoping someone will get it for me for Christmas and then I can have her sign it in May at Maryland Sheep and Wool. After meeting Clara I answered the call of the Gulf Coast spinning fiber from Spirit Trail in a beautiful warm brown/gray. Gulf Coast sheep are another rare breed, and I never expected to find either Gulf Coast or Hog Island at Rhinebeck, let alone both.

Then, C and J and I went off to the Ravelry meetup where J and C chatted with Stephen West, the three of us chatted with Casey and Jess of Ravelry and admired their beautiful baby girl, who napped nestled in many adorable handknits. We also spied Ysolda Teague and Laura Chau. Before Sunday the only celebrity I’d met is James Earl Jones, so that Ravelry meetup increased my celebrity-spotting tally by quite a lot, though I suppose the guys I raid with on WoW would not consider a “knit-con” celebrity to be on the same level as James Earl Jones a.k.a. Darth Vader.

Eventually M, J, and C wanted a bit of a break and wandered off to buy some kettle corn and do some people-watching and knitting. I continued my tour of Rhinebeck: I met the founder of Cooperative Press, attended a booksigning for a cookbook, and prowled around even more barns and booths, all of them appearing to be doing quite brisk business. I was determined to find some sport-weight yarn for M’s hat pattern (I got it at Bartlett Yarns), and then saw a flash of fiercely hot pink out of the corner of my eye. It turns out that it was from a booth I’d been planning on going to anyway, Miss Babs.

While meandering around her booth (though I found out later it was only half her booth, I missed out on all the other weights of yarn) I spotted yet another skein that I had to have. Somehow my musing about color matching turned into a huge purchase of enough yarn for a sweater in sock-weight/fingering yarn. I blame the yarn pusher named Kate, who was exceptionally helpful!

The blue-green skein, called Saturn, is going to be striped with this dark charcoal gray show below (it should appear darker, it didn’t photograph well). The odds are pretty low that I’ll actually get the cardigan finished by Rhinebeck next year, especially considering it would be the same pattern I still haven’t quite finished designing for a KAL that ended last week!

Pretty much right before I met up again with everyone, I made one last stop, buying a skein of laceweight from Wales. I’d planned on visiting the booth ever since reading the vendor list at work, but as Wool out of Wales doesn’t have an online presence (it’s actually quite funny how weird it is to not be able to do research online before attending things now, isn’t it?) I was a bit unsure if my hopes were for naught.

Fortunately the vendor had a lot of yarn in addition to the blankets and sweaters that M remembered from previous years (I’m impressed that M knew who I was talking about considering how many vendors are at Rhinebeck). The yarn wasn’t from Welsh breed sheep, but from sheep that live in Wales. Not quite what I was expecting so I didn’t purchase right away, but then after passing on the yarn the first day I couldn’t get it out of my head, and so I went back on Sunday. It’s Black Leicester Longwool; fairly well-known as far as sheep breeds go I think. Definitely it will make a warm shawl or really large cowl or something to that effect.

By that point everyone was pretty tired because they’d spent much longer there at Rhinebeck overall than I had, so we all enjoyed some apple cider, M got an apple cider doughnut, and finally we said farewell to M’s friends and to Rhinebeck as well.

On our way out we admired the sand carving

and then watched the dogs of Paw Stars, who make my pets look like slackers.

All in all, an exhilarating trip! I did pretty well considering it was my first Rhinebeck; I never really felt overwhelmed by too much choice, mainly because I knew I wanted to focus on rarer-breed sheep and indie dyers’ yarns and spinning fiber. My friends purchased loads of lovely yarn too: we all shopped at Miss Babs and the Sanguine Gryphon, but after that it was quite interesting to see everyone’s tastes when we’d pile our yarn up for admiring each evening. J loves bright, rich saturated colors, M adores pretty “rustic” wools and hand-dyes, and C loves those moodier tones…and silk! Next year I think I will make a point of purchasing from some vendors I somehow missed, such as Gnomespun Yarn and Fiber and Green Mountain Spinnery. I also want to check out some of the food booths and get some more books signed. But before then, I really need to knit/spin/crochet/weave some of my stash!

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§ 4 Responses to Yarn pilgrimage part three: Sunday at Rhinebeck

  • meg says:

    Great wrap up to our awesome weekend! And I *do* have a deep and abiding love for rustic wool, it is true! Today’s blog post may be about just that thing!

    And we now know you are really going for the rare stuff. I will ask my friends about their thoughts for Maryland – I am sure they will have some good ideas!

    Can’t wait to see you in May for Maryland S&W

    • k.m. says:

      I am SO excited for MS&W, but I think I’ll be in Michigan before then; my mom wants to visit her great uncle and great aunt before then…and check on the house too. Probably in late March, since that’s around my great uncle’s birthday 🙂

      As for rare wools: yes! They’re so awesome, gotta save the rare sheep!

  • I don’t think I could stay sane around all that yarn. I would want to touch it, squeeze it, fondle it and then take it home.

    • k.m. says:

      If you ever get the chance to go, I bet you’ll do just fine…I actually found that I didn’t want to buy everything I saw because I wanted to see everything before spending all my money. Also, the knowledge that I’d have to haul everything back on the train and through Manhattan helped curbed my shopping impulses. I make no promises if you drive to a festival though 😉

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