Sunday, October 19

report on Rhinebeck!

I have so much to do today, but well, the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) must be shared first.

This was my first time at Rhinebeck (I mean, I've been to the town before but not this fiber event). My mom came up on Friday night and we drove north on Saturday morning. The drive was pretty uneventful, but the traffic from the fairgrounds extended about 3 miles down the road, and it took about 45 minutes to go that distance. Yeah, there were a lot of people!

I have to admit, it was completely different than I'd imagined. First of all, it was a family event. There was a small midway, and plenty of cotton candy and fried fair food to go around. Being upstate New York, there were also local food stands: fresh vegetables, a bakery (complete with freshly baked gourmet pizza and bread), and a long, long line for individual chicken pot pies. Yeah, chicken pot pie. I am not sure how we skipped the hot apple cinnamon buns with ice cream, but we did.

My mom and I got there at about 12:30, so after hitting the Ravelry group standing on a hill (which was just too social and weird for me) we found some hot turkey and rice soup, which really hit the spot. The day was beautiful, but there was a definite chill to the air. I had brought along a mish mash of winter accessories, which I ended up wearing layered. I must have looked like the obsessed knitting lady. Even worse was that my top layer was a beautiful long knitted coat that I rescued from a friend's give away pile in April. Her mother had knit it, and so all day yesterday I got compliments on my knitted coat, and then I had to admit abashedly that I hadn't made it. Pathetic. (My mother also received many comments on her bag, which is made from reclaimed candy wrappers and came from Mexico. I think we both felt a little like posers, getting attention for things we couldn't take credit for.)

There are many, many stalls of goods at Rhinebeck. Our first stop was at the Hope Spinnery stall, since my mom needed to get more Jacob's Wool for the sweater she's knitting. (For those who don't remember, Hope Spinnery is the wind-powered fiber mill in Maine where I got a tour and bought roving and yarn in August.) Bill, the owner, seemed happy to see us again and was excited to see the progress on my mom's sweater. The booth was teeming with people, and I recognized first the hat and then the face of Kate Gagnon, whose beret I've been knitting recently. I introduced myself and told her that I loved her berets (she also designed Selbu Modern, which I'd also really like to make.)

Here's another thing about Rhinebeck: everyone is there to enable. We found ourselves at a stall that was full of beautiful varigated yarns. They weren't cheap, and I suggested to my mom that we remember this place and move on, since we hadn't really seen anything yet and I was sure there were other great yarns in other halls. A woman overheard and turned to us, "I've been coming here for years and I can tell you, this is some of the best yarn here! Buy it now!" and we, of course, started grabbing skeins and buying.

We also met a couple, later while eating a black bean burger and admiring our purchases, who had come to Rhinebeck from the Outer Banks. They were about my mom's age, and the man asked us how many loads of yarn we'd taken to the car yet. They seemed skeptical when we said that this was all we'd bought so far. Clearly, we were in a much more novice level than most of these other buyers.

We saw a lot of different types of sheep and goats and llamas and alpacas. I know there were rabbits, but I didn't see them. I've never seen so many types of sheep all next to each other, and I don't know enough about sheep breeds to know what I was looking at, but they were amazing in their variety. Some were really tall, some had wooley faces, and their shapes were all very different. We also saw some very unusual looking goats.I can go on and on about what we saw. In any case, here is my loot: The three skeins on the bottom left are Icelandic wool from Tongue River Farm (2 skeins of fingering and one of lace weight), then some very soft lace weight wool from Shelridge Farm in Canada for my lacey scarf, and 2 oz of llama roving. On the top right are 2 oz of Jacob's Sheep roving, and then two skeins of the Persimmon Tree Farm Pot Luck yarn (50% wool/50% mohair). Oh, and I also got this: half a pound of roving from the Persimmon Farm booth.

I wish I could dive into this fiber and start making something immediately, but I need to hold myself back and really finish the sewing I have to do today for my show. The fiber will be my reward...


Anonymous said...

Where is the kangaroo?

Anonymous said...

This was my first visit to the NY Sheep & Yarn at Rhinebeck ~ and I highly recommend it! A big well-kept fairground, loads of high quality exhibitors and vendors, lots for kids to do. Including a mother kangaroo with her little guy in pouch. Just watch out for how seductive all those many strands and skeins and balls are.(I succumbed to even more than Eliza!)
It was great.

Next year is an International event, starting on Friday and continuing through the weekend.

Cheers ~! Emily
('Mom' to Eliza)

meg said...

Oh, wow. I wish I'd been there! Thanks for including the photos of the mid-way. Everyone seems to post the same photos on their blogs, so it's nice to see some of the food carts and things.

Lauren said...

I was also amazed by the quantity of goods some people purchased... Looks like you got some good stuff, though! I hope you enjoyed your first Rhinebeck as much as I did.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you two had fun. I love the chubby, sheared sheep! I'm trying to be jealous.

knithound brooklyn said...

Nice loot Eliza. I got some Icelandic also - from Jager Farm. Can't wait to post shots and knit it up!

Alyssa said...

I just loved the alpacas...

We (mom and I) already booked our room for next year. I can't wait!