Rhinebeck! Much belated…

Nothing pulls one out of the blogosphere like a flurry of long-distance driving, future-relatives-visiting, and other vacation-related activities. I meant to blog along on my trip but almost before I knew it, I was on the plane heading back to the West Coast. Here, very, very much in the way of old news, is my Rhinebeck experience.
It was the quintessential autumnal day. Sunny and crisp.

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The drive up to Rhinebeck was like something out of a car commercial – all windy roads flanked by red and gold trees with the occasional flurry of leaves blowing across. I would have enjoyed the drive more had I not been fretting about not getting there early enough to catch a glimpse of the Socks that Rock yarn at The Fold stall (my main goal for the festival) before they sell out. I., being ever rational and having never encountered the rabid obsession inspired by STR among the knitterly masses, scoffed at my fears. After all, we were arriving only one hour after the festival opening. Hardly late. It was not possible, he stated as one confident that the sun shall always rise in the East and that the demand for yarn shall always be limited, for the yarn to sell out that fast.
Well, he quickly stopped poking fun at my concern when we walked into the exhibition building. I was worried that it would take me a while to find The Fold stall in the huge hall but I needn’t have. There was a line traversing the length of the building composed entirely of women (and the occasional man) clutching skeins of brightly colored Socks that Rock like stolen treasure. The stall itself too swarmed with bodies, even though the racks were all empty but for a few sad skeins. Of those skeins, I spotted one in a colorway that I had been coveting. At this point, I’m ashamed to report, I took a complete leave of my senses. Even though I knew that I could order any color and weight of STR just by contacting Blue Moon Fibers, even though the line to pay was at least fifty persons long, and even though I had yet to explore any of the other hundreds of vendors at the festival, I wanted to have that skein. Not even this sight, once I queued up to pay, could deter me.

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See that white tent the green arrow is pointing to? That’s The Fold tent, site of the yarn, the cash register, and the beginning of the line, as seen from my place at the tail end of the line (with even more people starting to queue up behind me). There’s nothing like scarcity to make everyone all a little crazy. Well over an hour later, I was in possession of one skein of medium weight STR and a rather grumpy fiancé. So, to make peace, we headed off for food and wooly animals. Fortunately, the animal tents were quite a bit less crazy than the wool-selling halls. And really, how can one feel ill-humored when looking at sweet faces like these…

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Or marveling at all the varieties of sheep?
These little guys (don’t they resemble miniature bison?) are Southdowns, one of the oldest breeds of sheep.

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Here is a Cotswold. This one placidly permitted some nose-scratching and close examination of his/her corkscrew wool.

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This poor dear made the most melancholy calls that rang through the entire hall. Apparently, his stall friends were just swapped out so he was lonely.

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By the afternoon (and after another long wait in line at the Brooks Farm stall that caused me to miss the blogger meet-up), I was starting to wish I could make like these woolies and take a nap.

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All in all though, I think I made out rather well in the yarn department:

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One hefty skein of Brooks Farm Riata (a wool, mohair, silk blend) to make a scarf for my uncle, one skein medium-weight STR in Rhode Island Red, and one skein of the glorious Briar Rose Sea Pearl (merino wool and tencel lace weight).
Yarn-wise, I was rather restrained, but all that wool and roving still managed to go to my head as I was unable to leave the festival without stopping by a spinning booth. After an hour of patient drop spindle instruction from the purveyors of the booth, I was the proud owner of some beautiful natural-dyed Coopworth roving and a Bird’s Eye maple Kundurt Wheels spindle.

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Now that I’m in possession of a spindle and roving, there must of course be the obligatory picture of my first yarn. So, here, to finish this rambling post, is my first yarn in all of its two-plied, uneven, seven-inch glory.

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Blogger Rachel said...

awww... I want one of those Cotswold sheep for my very own! So cute!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I was sorry not to run into you at Rhinebeck ... stalwart you, getting through that line at The Fold! I couldn't hack it, myself.

10:25 AM  
Blogger hege said...

I love those sheep and alpacas. I would really like to try out the wool of all the different old breeds... Congrats on the yarn, they will become some very special socks, I know! Glad you had such a great trip!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Areli said...

Your yarn is gorgeous, although I can't believe the patience it took to get it!!

I love your first handspun, one of these days I need to give my daughter's spindle a try.

7:09 PM  
Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Oh, your first yarn! Beautiful. I love when other people start spinning. I can live vicariously and not start spinning myself :)

10:49 AM  
Blogger Philippa said...

Mmmm, nice spindle. I currently have one that was kindly made for me out of an old CD, a piece of dowel and a tiny little mug hook by a kind lady at an allotment open day, which unsurprisingly I haven't really tried. Nice yarn, too. Hope you had an equally lovely holiday to go with it all.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Nora said...

I totally understand yarn obsession, therefore didn't bat an eyelid when I read how long you waited in line. I would've done the same. x

11:35 AM  
Anonymous le chat qui coud said...

lovely sheep!!!!!!! great yarn!

6:30 AM  

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