Wow. I just got back from the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. My wallet is lighter and my stash is bigger. I met some amazing people, saw incredible knitted items, and ate some pretty yummy food. I played Rhinebeck Bingo, which gave me license to walk up to perfect strangers and say “hi!”
I drove up on Wednesday, since I was taking a class Thursday morning: Portuguese knitting. This is a method of holding the yarn, like English or continental styles. It is practiced in a few far-flung places, including parts of Portugal and Brazil. Andrea Wong is from Brazil, and she learned to knit this way from a Portuguese woman, then found out that this isn’t how most people knit, and in fact few people have ever seen it. It has its advantages, and with more practice I may choose to use it for certain projects. Here’s the lovely Andrea and me:
This was a 6-hour class, so we had time to practice. There were only 8 students, so we all got a chance to get personal instruction from Andrea. I bought a video so I don’t forget what to do when life intervenes! Check out her site at www.andreawongknits.com.
Friday I had a morning class with Galina Khmeleva (Skaska Designs), the authority on Orenberg lace. The focus of the class was Russian grafting, but we also heard about Galina’s work repairing lace shawls. Galina was highly entertaining! Here we are with an amazing heavy cashmere shawl (yes, there’s lace in there) that I was almost afraid to touch, it’s so expensive:
Friday afternoon, despite the rain, I wandered around Rhinebeck’s funky cool shops, and found two stores with yarn in them! A little pre-festival shopping occurred. The Yarn Garage in Stickle’s Variety store is small but really well-stocked! The staff was really nice too.
I got the chance to meet up with Carol Sulcoski (Black Bunny Fibers) for dinner, and got to meet her coauthor Laura Grutzeck, designer Veronik Avery, and Carol’s traveling friend Jim as well. I got Laura and Carol to sign my copy of Knit So Fine, but I neglected to get any photos.
Friday night, there was an unofficial Ravelry meet-up at the Holiday Inn in Kingston. Silliness ensued. Two intrepid chicken-hat wearers joined us, as well as the Tsarina of Tsocks, pictured below with one of her designs in action.
On Saturday, I managed to get over to the festival by a few minutes after 9, and got a pretty decent parking spot near the pedestrian gate at the back of the fairgrounds. The shopping commenced! When I made it to The Sanguine Gryphon’s booth, there was an enormous line to pay for yarn. As I started back along the line with my two skeins, I saw a beautiful Girasole. I started to complement the wearer — who turned out to be my old knitting buddy Cathycake, from Wisconsin!
We shopped together until the Ravelry meet-up at noon, when I got a phone call from a Ravelry pal, trying to find me. What fun that was!
Here’s Ravelry’s Rainydaygoods gathering us all for the group photo. That’s Jess wearing the Ravlet on the left.
There was a huge crowd, and I think they wound up having to take 3 shots to get everyone in, like a panorama shot. That should be posted on Ravelry pretty soon. At the meet up, I got to talking with a young lady from Sydney, Australia who is traveling the world, and arranged her trip so that she could get to Rhinebeck! We hung about together the rest of the afternoon, and I ran into her again on Sunday. After Rhinebeck, she’s visiting Webs before she flies out to LA! This is some serious fiber tourism. Of course, we’re now friends on Ravelry, and we won’t forget each other!
More shopping in the afternoon…I started to get retinal color overload:
This man was a calm oasis in the colorful chaos:
My Australian friend was bemused to find kangaroos in New York. I’m still not 100% sure why they were there!
One last fun purchase for Saturday was one of the last few copies available for signing of Ysola Teague’s Little Red in the City:
Finally stopping for a little sit, my Australian friend and I discovered it was 4:40 – 20 minutes before closing! We whisked through building C, resolving to return the next day.
And return I did! Sunday the festival opens at 10, so I got to sleep in a bit. This time I was parked near the Mulberry St gate at the front of the fairgrounds, so it was easy to start with the building I had hurried through the afternoon before. I was glad that I had slept on a few possible purchases. After adding up what I had already spent and thinking about the considered items, I decided to forgo a few things – at least for this year! I did have a new mission though: “souvenir” alpaca for a family member. I was given no guidance other than “alpaca” and “snuggly.” I’m considering claiming that I bought her AN ALPACA, and it’s in the backyard. The real challenge wasn’t finding nice alpaca yarn for her: it was finding alpaca yarn that I was willing to purchase and then give away! I reminded myself that I own a 15 oz, 1250 yd hank of lovely dark grey alpaca already, and bought her a very nice skein.
Sunday had a Ravelry meet up as well. It was smaller, but still much fun. Here are the gathering throngs on the hillside:
I got my photo taken with Casey the Ravelry Code Monkey, and took the opportunity to thank him and Jess for Ravelry, which has made my knitting experience greater and undoubtedly made Rhinebeck 50 times more fun! I’ll be sending in a donation this week in thanks as well.
The most amazing meeting of the day happened next: a woman walked by me, and between her appearance and her name on her Ravelry button, I suspected I knew her. I was right: I bumped into the person who taught me to knit half my lifetime ago! She had another friend with her that I remembered as well, and we squealed and hugged and jumped up and down.
My old pal is now the indie dyer Light Brown Hare, so go check out her awesome colors!
Near the end of the day Sunday, behind the souvenir tent, when I was tired and ready to hit the road, I saw a familiar face coming towards me, a face that was in a hurry to snag some awesome merino, but a face which was willing to stop for a quick photo, negating the need to Kinnear her as she swooped by:
Of course I bought lots of yarn, saw a few animals, and ate lamb and apple crisp. It was really fun, but at the end I was tired, sensory-overloaded, and I had a bruise on my shoulder from carrying books in my bag all day. It’s good to be home. The kids survived as well. I’m hoping to make it up there again next year!