Rhinebeck 2011

Rhinebeck 2011-Celebrate Wool!!!!
This was my second trip or should I say pilgrimage to The Annual New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, better known as Rhinebeck. Last year, my first time was a one day run around for me.  When I got home I knew I had loved seeing all the yarn and parade of finished objects but it was clear that I hadn't soaked in all that was offered.  Vowing to return for the entire weekend to fully experience this celebration of Wool, I literally counted the months, then days, then hours until October 15th.  

Finally, Saturday morning ! I was awake before the alarm clock rang at 6am.  Popped up out of bed and went out to the couch to wake Betty Balcomb who had traveled from LA for the festival.  We met Leslie G and Elizabeth, two other yarn enthusiasts at the garage, threw our overnight bags in the back, grabbed some car knitting and we were off.  At 9:05 we parked the car in the large grassy lot directly next to the back gate and in we went, all resplendent in our knitted objects. It was cool clear but windy. This suited me quite well as I was decked out in the Earth and Sky shawl designed by Stephen West, and my Modern poncho, mittens and headband all knit in Tart MadelineTosh Merino,  

Once inside the Fairgrounds I knew exactly where to go, as I had been stalking both Ravelry and the S&W website to find all the information - activities, animals and competitions, book signing schedules and map.  I really wanted this year to be about enjoying the entire festival, looking touching inhaling it all. Over this summer I took a great class on Photographing your Knitting with Gale Zucker hosted by Kay Gardiner and I wanted to create a memory book of this weekend. My only yarn related goal was to buy one sweaters(or ponchos)worth of yarn from an independent dyer, Sanguine Gryphon.  This proved to be a bit more difficult than anticipated as many others had the same exact goal.  The line to pay was out the door up the hill and back around down the fence, about 100 minutes to wait to pay for said yarn.
Sanguine Gyrphon Flash Mob to pay
 But once this was done, I was free to wonder around, touch feel and photograph everything. While in the queue to pay we were visited by Sooze and other yarn friends, including Rhinebeck Bingo players. The only other time I waited for such an extended time was to watch a taping of a Jon Stewart Daily show.  Both were worth it which is a nice thing to be able to say

Next up was the weekends food-Lamb hot dogs, Lamb Chorizo, baked potato with cheese, maple flavored Cotton Candy, Fudge, Kettle Corn, 1/2 sour pickles and fresh picked apples.  As I am allergic to wheat I had to skip some of the more famous Festival food including the apple crisp, deep fried pickles, artichokes and shepards pies. I didn't hear a soul complaining about the food, lots of great choices locally sourced/made, fresh and delicious. Some of the food I bought, fudge, popcorn, cotton candy did make it home for my family as a gift, for allowing me a moms weekend away. 

Once we had a nice lunch back to wandering around.  The book tent was full of the "knitterati", the Yarn Harlot was sighted, Stephen West, Ann Weaver and our local knitter Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting with her blogging partner Ann Shayne.  I picked up a great book as a gift for my crafty 17 year old daughter called Craft Activism, by photographer Gale Zucker. Crafting that makes a difference, for charity, for a political statement or even just to be green. (Kay Gardiner has a great project in this book.)  

The animals who generate the wool were everywhere, marching in parades, jumping over ropes, or just hanging out in their pens- bunnies, goats, alpaca, llama and of course the sheep. I heard an alpaca humming happily, like my mom while she was cooking dinner back when I was a kid. The best part of the animals for me was the little children who were sheparding them around.  You would see a 6 year old girl pulling her alpaca (or llama)in the the barn for it show time.  Very sweet.

There were enormous amounts of things for sale that are not wool or fiber.  Spinning wheels, card, combers, spindles, weaving looms, shuttles, needles, hooks , rug punches are just a few of the pieces of equipment we spotted. There were bag handles, buttons, frog hooks and lots of adornments for use in finishing your objects as well.

Yarn Bowl
One debate I had with myself was regarding the yarn bowl.  It is a lovely piece of pottery tin or wood with a slot to pull your yarn through so it doesn't roll away.  I finally decided no as my dog Meringue was more likely to break it, I just wasn't sure I would use it. It would be a great gift(hint to husband) and I did get the website information.  There were many finished objects for sale as well, felted hats, woven jackets, blankets, rugs, knitting humor paintings, felted purses, knitted sock and mittens jackets & sweaters too.  

By the end of Saturday my back was in poor shape from dragging around my camera. This did surprise me a bit, I guess I have to head back to the gym to strengthen my muscles for next year.   That evening we had some great food at a local roadside "pub", did some knitting and reviewed the day’s photos then happily off to sleep.  Someone at Rhinebeck was thinking when they made the Sunday opening time at 10am that extra sleep was just what we all needed.  Day two was great, easy in easy out, as we parked at the side gate by Mulberry Street.  Wandering around, we found Koi ponds and flower gardens and an antique dealer. Today we saw  the leapin llama  contest which was a high point(no pun intended),one of the llamas was shaved like a poodle show dog and acted like one too. 

The luxury of having two days is getting to spend time and hang out which I did, with my photo class buddies Kay Gardiner and Gale Zucker who were at the book signing table.  It was now time to pick up the heavy things, 3 bars of soap and a scented candle and head back home.  On the way out we caught the Canine Frisbee demonstration(no pun there either!)  

During this wonderful weekend we ran into many of our other woolie friends, Jennifer, Karen, Ruth, Kim, Tracy, Sylvia, Kim, Amanda, Michelle , Melissa, Joyce, Andrea, Louise, Barbara, Carol, Heidi, Linda, Phyllis &  Maddy.  Hanging out with the yarn community is a joy and privilege.  I feel so lucky to have met you all, xo-Sara

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