Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rhinebeck Trip: Final Thoughts

I really only have positive things to say about this trip! Thoughts:
  • I really loved the opportunity to see in person some of the vendors that I read a lot about online. I won't hesitate to order online from Miss Babs, Cephalapod Yarns (and by extension, Verdant Gryphon), The Loop, Fiber Optic, or Into the Whirled. 
  • I loved getting to see and try some tools out in person. I loved being in the Golding and Bosworth booths! I also now know that a turkish spindle will be going on my Christmas list!
  • Lots of handknits, EVERYWHERE = AWESOME!
  • I loved seeing some of the luxury yarn and fibers. I almost bought some camel and buffalo to spin, but held off for the moment. I also had to walk away from the qiviut/silk blend before I got carried away.
  • I also loved seeing all the of the display knits, particularly in the booth that focused on cobweb yarn. Their lace was unbelievable!
  • I was kind of surprised that not one person approached me about being on their Rhinebeck Bingo card (which was really too bad because I had chocolate to give away to them!) I think I was pretty identifiable. However, I only approached 2 people, but crossed off 7 or 8 people that I recognized on my card because I was too shy to approach them. I wish I could have met more people through the game.
  • The Holiday Inn was a lot of fun. It's really expensive. If I were planning again, I'd really have to weigh out the pros/cons of that combination.
  • I think my preparation in terms of lists and queues really paid off. However, I think my determination to stick to the list may have caused me to miss some of the vendors or not pay attention to things that might have been really interesting.
  • I'm a little bummed that I missed the lleapin' llamas and the sheep to shawl competition. I'm not sure how to balance out all of the shopping there is to do versus all of the interesting things to see. My guess is, the more one attends these kind of events, the easier it becomes to balance everything.
  • I'm glad that I participated in the Skein and Garment Competition and the drop spinning competition. I wish I had had the energy to stay for the chopstick knitting contest too. I'm definitely going to keep the "Participate in everything I can" attitude for any future events.
  • This is definitely not an every year event for me, but only because of the cost (and most of that cost is gas and hotel) and the logistical difficulties of getting away this time of year. If gas and lodging was negligible, I think I would make a lot of effort to go for Saturday and Sunday and try to fit a workshop in. The workshops are a huge draw for me - there were more than a few I would have liked to take!
And finally, here's a close-up of my Golding spindle:

And a closer look at my ribbon wearing hat:

And the Gauge Wizard my mom bought me, that I forgot to add to the pictures of my haul:
(The clear part is a magnifier, making it so much easier to count your stitches!)

And now, I will spend the next months knitting and spinning, remembering the great fun I had in the Hudson Valley!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rhinebeck Trip: Sunday

Sunday was a much slower day than the frenzy of Saturday. My mom and I slept a little later, took our time getting ready, and even hit the Olympic Diner for breakfast (and yes, if you're counting, that's diner #3 for the weekend). I had the chocolate chip pancakes - yummy! I will say, that given the touristy nature of the area, the diners were all super reasonably priced. I think, not including the CIA, I spent about $50 on food for the weekend, including lunches at the festival. Not too bad!

We arrived at the gates at about 9:45 and there was already a line. Fortunately, it moved really quickly once the gates opened up. Here we are waiting in line:
The plan for today was to check out the few vendors I really wanted to see but had missed the day before - Into the Whirled, The Loop, and Spirit Trail Fiberworks - and for my mom to buy some yarn. She didn't buy anything on Saturday! We were also hoping to track down the African baskets we saw people carrying around on Saturday. At some point in the morning, my mom and I briefly separated and then I couldn't find her at our designated spot. I kept thinking that I was going to be in SO MUCH TROUBLE because I LOST MY MOM!!!! Fortunately, I found her again, so it was all okay.

I did buy some fiber from Into the Whirled, but held off on the batts from The Loop (I wanted a  bullseye loop). I have some fiber in my stash and thought I would practice on that before going for the complicated stuff. A little before 11 we noticed the Artichoke booth and the not-very long line, so we got some Artichoke French to try.
Tasty, but I think I would prefer it as a spread on bread. The vendors are from Rochester and one of the servers had on a Sabres hat, and that might make me like them a little bit more.

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon wandering around. We both bought a skein of 50/50 wool/silk from Spirit Trail to make a scarf that was on display (Elm something by Anne Hanson). This was my only purchase that didn't directly relate to my queue-driven shopping list.

Speaking of Anne Hanson, I saw her twice - once on Saturday in the Briar Rose booth and once on Sunday wandering around. I also saw Clara Parkes at the Spirit Trail Fiber Booth, but that was all for knitterlebrity sitings. ETA: Actually, that's not true. I saw Glenna C. in line at Miss Babs. I wish I had seen Stephen West, since I used his Windschief pattern for my prize-winning hat. And NO ONE I talked to spotted the Yarn Harlot, which seems kind of crazy.

My mom has been having issues with sweaters, so we both had a Swirl consultation done at the Carolina Homespun Booth. It was really interesting to see how the different sweaters looked on us. Mom bought the book, so a swirl sweater may be in our futures!

I tried to take some more pictures, so here's a few views of the fairgrounds:
Miss Babs' booth

Into the Whirled

I also bought 2 skeins of Cascade Eco+ to make a sweater, a lucet and book for my mom for Christmas, some red and white sport weight yarn for a stranded hat/mitten set and some lavender hand lotion. We spent some time in the Bosworth booth, where I chatted with both Mr. and Mrs. Bosworth. They live not very far from me, so we chatted a little bit about the area. Upon confirming that Mrs. Bosworth knits, I asked her where she shopped for her yarn and then felt like a complete idiot when she responded "I knit with my handspun." Um, of course she does! She was very gracious when I apologized for asking such a stupid question. I know I'll feel very lucky when I unwrap the midi spindle my mom bought me for Christmas!

My mom left a little bit after 1. Her cousin from Norway was visiting her sister who lives about 2 hours from Rhinebeck, so my mom was going to meet up with them. My competition items couldn't be picked up until 4, so I wandered around a bit more by myself. I spent a little time with the animals, but was too tired to really appreciate them. I consoled myself with the thought that I tend to visit the animals quite a bit when I go the NH Sheep and Wool festival in May. Here are few shots of the cuties though:

Since my mom didn't use her coupon to Bijou Basin I did go back to make the same purchase I made the day before. Now I have 2 skeins of each type of yarn which will give me some more options when I pick out a pattern. I also picked up some fudge to bring home to the kids.

Here's the view as I was leaving the fairgrounds:

As much fun as I had, I really couldn't wait to get on the road to go home. Fortunately, I had no traffic issues whatsoever and the drive felt like it went by fairly quickly.  My husband very obligingly sat through my show and tell, and ooh'd and ah'd appropriately.

Here's a picture of my haul from Sunday:

The day after I was pretty darn exhausted, but it was well worth it! I had a great time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rhinebeck Trip: Saturday

Saturday morning, my mom and I were up VERY early. We were dressed and out the door before 8 a.m. (We definitely saved a lot of time and money by bringing bagels and cream cheese with us for breakfast.)
Billboard shot, because everyone else will have one.

We pulled into the parking lot at about quarter after 8 and were parked right in between the Main and 4H Gates, against the fence that enclosed the sheep dog trials. We were able to enter the fairgrounds right away with our workshop e-tickets. This gave us a bit of time to acquaint ourselves with the buildings and, most importantly, find the Cephalopod Yarns booth.

Although other vendors were setting up at the time (and in fact, I even managed to buy a batt from the Ulster County Fiber Guild), the Cephalopod people were no where to be found. They did finally show up a few minutes before 9 and I picked out some yarn to knit myself a sweater. Unfortunately, they only had 4 skeins. 4 skeins might have been enough, but I thought some insurance would be good. The vendor assured me they had more, but they were in the van. No problem! I could buy the 4 skeins now and they would hold the 5th skein for me to get after lunch. Except, they didn't have their cash box. The vendor graciously agreed to hold all the yarn for me, but as I walked along I started to second guess the price. I knew what it would cost to knit the sweater from the called-for yarn (Madelintosh) and this would cost almost double that. I decided not to do it. So, I'm kind of glad that I'm not suffering from buyer's remorse. It was great to see their yarn in person and I won't hesitate now to order from them online. I am probably the only person who would find themselves first in line at one of the most sought-after vendors and wind up buying nothing.

My mom and I spent a little bit of time walking through the barns. At Wild Apple Farms I found some pretty tweedy red worsted weight yarn on clearance for $3.50 a skein. I bought 10, more than enough to knit myself a Lynden sweater. I also bought an acorn support spindle. It's too cute!

After the barns my mom decided to take a break in the car to rest her feet, so I hightailed it to the buildings. I went right to Miss Babs' to check out the Color Affection kits. Sadly, she didn't have the colorway I wanted in the base that I wanted, but I did pick up 3 Yowza! skeins to knit up a Dark and Stormy. I will order the CA kit I want when it becomes available. Again, I'm glad to see her stuff in person and won't hesitate to order it online. I know a lot of people complained about the line, but I only waited about 20 minutes and that was the only real line I waited in all day.

I also hit the Golding booth and got myself a REALLY pretty little spindle. Next up was Bijou Basin. With the coupon from the workshops and the discount I received from my Scratch-a-Yak card at the register, I got 2 skeins of yarn - one is 100% yak down and the other a 50/50 wool/yak blend. I paid less than $30 altogether, so I feel like I got a really good deal!

After that I joined my mom back at the car where we sat and watched the sheepdog trials for a bit. I was much calmer by then, because I had hit all of my "must-haves" booths and was very pleased with my purchases. We grabbed some lunch (lamb ravioli for me and a lamb burger for her; both very yummy! ) and wandered around looking at whatever. The Fold was done being swamped by this point and I picked up one skein of Socks that Rock in the Saving Grace colorway. This is another thing I was excited to see in person. I also bought the "Knitting all the Time" CD.

We really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful handknits walking around. I had entered in the drop-spindling contest, so we headed over to Barn E next. There, I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find out that my entry in the featured breed, small item competition had won 3rd place! I had no expectation whatsoever of winning a ribbon, so I was really excited!
The attendant let us pose for a picture

I did not place in the drop spindling contest, but I feel like I did okay. By then, both mom and I were really tired. We opted not to stick around for the chopstick knitting contest but headed back to the hotel for a rest instead.

Of course, first, I had to admire and cuddle with all my new goodies:

Here's a shot of the haul up to this point:

I'll have to get a close up of the spindles another time to show you. Also, I think I forgot mention in the previous post that I was able to purchase Andrea Wong's Portuguese knitting DVD and 2 knitting pins on Friday at the workshops. I was really pleased with all of my purchases. Every single one of them fit my shopping list. Honestly, I would have been perfectly content even if I didn't go back to the show on Sunday.

After a nap and a shower, we headed back to Rhinebeck for the Cooperative Press party. Um, that was a big fat waste of gas. The party was in super hot, super small art gallery and there was nowhere to sit. We stayed for all of 5 minutes, which was long enough for me to meet Knitsinpublic Theresa in person.
She is super sweet in person and I was sad that I couldn't stay a little longer to talk with her, but did I mention, it was really hot, really crowded, and there was nowhere to sit down? We did admire her friend's (Gingy on Rav) gorgeous shawl, knit with her own handspun:
So gorgeous!
If you haven't yet, check out Theresa's podcast. I love to see what she's knitting and long to have her stash problems.

We left (ran out of) the party and hit Pete's Famous Diner for dinner. I had a really great triple-decker turkey club. YUM! We were back at the Holidome by 9 and enjoyed another lovely evening with our new friends, until the management turned out the lights.

I was asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhinebeck Trip: Friday

Friday I took Abby Franquemont's "All Spindles, All Day" class. Sadly, again, I have no pictures. I learned a lot and was quite impressed with Abby's teaching skills, let alone her spinning expertise. I will say that the class description promised some skill building exercises that never really took place, and I am a little disappointed in that.

I was one of the first however many people to sign up for a workshop, so I got this really great tote bag with some nice goodies:

A skein of Vanna's Sequins, a fingerless glove pattern and a tape measure
 There was also another tape measure from Webs, and some coupons, including a free skein of yarn with purchase from Bijou Basin.

I was also able to buy some Sheep and Wool Festival project bags (the smaller one is for my spindling projects and the larger one is a gift.)

After class, mom and I headed to the Everready Diner in Hyde Park for dinner (we're actually just calling this the weekend of the diner. We ate at three of them).

I had a milkshake, bacon cheeseburger and fries. YUM!!!!!

After dinner we went back to the hotel and hung out in the Holidome where we met the most lovely people! We spent the evening with the most lovely ladies: Spinknitty and [insert Rav name here] (um, can't remember her Rav name. Any help from my other Holidome ladies?), llamalady, crochetlaady, yet to be on Ravelry Jacquie, and author and designer Margaret Hubert. Margaret is the cutest and she was kind enough to give us a trunk show and a mini-version of her workshop!

Margaret modeling one of her designs
Jacquie had a trunk full of Briggs and Little yarn and was kind enough to give me a skein to make a pair of thrummed mittens. I also bought a skein of sock yarn from Cosmic Fibers Yarn. She's had to close her etsy shop due to personal circumstances and was selling her remaining stock. 
Why yes, now that you mention it, there is a purple theme going on

We were up far later than I had wanted to be, but we were having so much fun it was hard to leave and go to bed! And believe me, we were up bright and early on Saturday to go shopping!

Rhinebeck Trip: Thursday

I couldn't decide where to begin in telling you about my trip, so I've decided chronologically is the best way to go. That means you'll have to wait a while to see my goodies, but it's worth the wait, I promise!

Thursday morning I was in shower by 5 a.m. (It helped that I went to bed at 8:15 the night before) and in the car a little before 6. The drive was easy and the foliage along the Taconic Parkway was GORGEOUS!

I arrived at the Vanderbilt Mansion at about 9:30, bought a ticket for the 10 o'clock tour and wandered around the gift shop and the grounds waiting for it to begin. Our tour guide, Demetri (I think), was very knowledgeable and did a great job explaining both some background of the Vanderbilt family and the culture that Frederick Vanderbilt and his wife lived in. The house is beautiful! Apparently, it's the smallest of all the Vanderbilt mansions, with the Biltmore being the largest.
Doesn't this just scream out "small"?

The house is full of ostentatious details. Here's a glimpse of the marble foyer from the second floor overlook:
And here's the view from the bottom of the servants' stairs:
As much as I enjoyed the house, the walk around the grounds was really the highlight of my visit. The trees are gorgeous and I really wished my kids could be there, running around. I could totally imagine people in the late '20s having a picnic, with all the ladies in white gowns and the guys in knickers, vests, and caps.

Can't you just picture white parasols, blankets, and champagne behind me?

After the Vanderbilts, I was on to the Culinary Institute of American for my lunch at the Caterina d'Medici restaurant. The campus itself is gorgeous and has lovely views of the Hudson River. My waiter was a little nervous. I think he wasn't quite sure what to do with one person at the table. The food was unbelievably good! To start, I had a vegetable tart with truffled ricotta that was melt in your mouth creamy and an amazing blend of flavors. I followed that with a pan-seared sea bass with potatoes, olives, and onions, and a little fried basil on top.
Doesn't that look amazing? Yum!

For dessert, I had a Cafe Italiano (coffee, brandy, whipped cream, and brown sugar. I have to figure out to make these, because I want one on cold winter nights!) and an Italian chocolate pudding with sea salt.
Hehe, I took a bit before I took a picture
Lunch was certainly expensive, but is definitely one of my top 5 best meals ever. (Best two - Pier 77 in Kennybunkport, Maine and the Virgina Ham dinner I had in Williamsburg).

After lunch, I drove to the FDR house. By then, my mom had arrived at the hotel, so I walked the grounds for a little bit and then went to meet her at the Holiday Inn.

Me at FDR's house
The Holiday Inn? You ask. Wasn't I supposed to be staying at the Super 8? Why yes, I was. But at the last minute my mother decided she was so worried about the quality of the motel room that she couldn't enjoy the thought of going (and by last minute, I mean I was driving to Hyde Park when she told me this). I won't say anymore about it, except that I made the reservation at the Super 8 over a year ago, and really, she had lots of time to think about it. That said, I'm super glad we switched! We had a GREAT time at the Holiday Inn and the bed was SUPER comfortable.

I'm very sad to tell you that I do not have pictures from the rest of our night. We drove to the Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company in Red Hook. This is a true small business. The owner raises the sheep, spins and dyes the yarn, and sells her product right there! I really wish I had gotten some pictures of the sheep and their very protective border collie. We got a tour of the workroom, where ALL of the cleaning, carding, spinning, and dyeing takes place. I came home with a skein of Icelandic Laceweight for a gift and the most obnoxiously colored pink sock yarn. My mom came away with some Icelandic Laceweight too to make a Tunisian crocheted wrap they had on display there.

After that, we went to bed so we would be ready for our classes in the morning!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rhinebeck Itinerary

I'm scrambling around trying to take care of last minute stuff - I need a little notebook for my purse, I have to make up some meals for the family to eat while I'm gone, need to program the GPS, etc, etc, but I thought I'd take a moment to share my itinerary. At some point there was a thread on Ravelry about our fantasy itineraries. I thought I had posted it here too, but couldn't seem to find it. I will say that my reality is not all that different from what I was hoping for!

I'm leaving on Thursday by 6 a.m., with the goal of being at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park for the 10 a.m. tour. I could also do the 11 a.m. tour, so I'm not too worried about delays. I'm hoping for beautiful weather because I really want to walk around the grounds. At 12:30 I have a lunch reservation at the Culinary Institute of America's Italian restaurant. I've been checking out their menu online. I'm not sure how up to date it is; usually when I've checked the lunch menu and dinner menu have similar items. Right now, not so much. But I'm hoping!!! The lunch menu is okay, but the dinner menu has rabbit, and oxtail, and boar. All things I would be so excited to try!

After lunch I'll tour the FDR house and if time permits I'll hit Val-Kill too. Then I'll have to decide if I should check into my motel or head directly to the Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company open house. I'm excited to see some sheep and do a little shopping! The entire store, except for books, will be 20% off!

My mom will be meeting me at some point, and we'll spend the rest of the evening together.

Friday morning, we both have classes. I'm taking "All Spindles, All Day" with Abby Franquemont. Hopefully, I'll be making much higher quality yarn by the end of the day! After class, we're going to eat dinner at the Everready Diner. We're hoping for burgers and egg creams. Diners like that make me wish I liked Apple Pie!

Saturday we'll be hitting the fairgrounds early and shopping the day away. I plan to take part in the chopstick knitting and drop spindling competitions. Saturday night we'll be attending the Cooperative Press party.

Finally, on Sunday, we'll shop some more, and hopefully, check out some of the other fair stuff. I'd like to see the llama jumping, pumpkin chuckin', sheep dog trials, and the sheep to shawl competition.

I have to say, I'm not looking forward to the drive home! I can already imagine how tired I will be!

I hope you have wonderfully exciting weekend plans as well! Better yet, I hope to see you around Rhinebeck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rhinebeck Bingo

I've signed up to be both a player and a square for this year's Rhinebeck Bingo. I hope this will be a great way to meet a lot of people at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, and a GREAT excuse to check out what everyone is wearing.

To help my fellow players, here is what I will, weather cooperating, be wearing:

My Viking Hoodie, which you can see in this post, only now it has a zipper.

I will also be wearing my El Capitan: (Sorry for the goofy picture. There was no one around to take the picture for me)

 I'll probably have my Gail tucked into my sweater:
If it's really warm I'll have my Roses scarf on:

But probably the easiest way to identify me will be by this bag:

It will be holding all of my purchases.

See you on the Bingo field!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rhinebeck Flag

While my parents were here I made my mom and I Rhinebeck Flags for our cars. I had been thinking about this project for a couple of weeks, and kept meaning to get to the craft store to figure it out, but just got too busy with the housewarming party. I finally decided that I would need to use a car window flag, like the kind you often see with sports teams on them. And lucky for me, our local card store happened to have 2 Red Sox World Champions flags in a clearance bin. I was able to purchase the flags for a mere $2 each.


I managed to dig out some fabric left over from a project I did for Christmas 2006.

I checked around online and found some knitting-related clip and fonts to make some graphics. I printed them out on iron-on transfer paper and put them on the fabric. Then, I sewed the fabric directly to the flags and voila! I have two flags ready to go to Rhinebeck!

All Rhinebeck, All the Time

I had written a post on Friday, but didn't get around to adding pictures yet, so I'll hold off on posting it. I will say that my parents were here for Columbus Day weekend and it was great to visit with them. My mom added a zipper to my Viking Hoodie and did some crocheting at the bottom of the button band so the sweater doesn't pull up. I LOVE IT! I've been wearing it pretty regularly as the weather has gotten chilly. Yesterday we had our housewarming party. It was great to have our family and friends at our new place, the food turned out really well (brie and onion puff pastry is my new-found favorite appetizer), and we just had a great day! The highlight of my day was probably watching my Brother-in-law charm the pants off of a 2 month old. He could make a fortune as a baby-whisperer. But now it's time to be in full Rhinebeck mode. I've gone through the vendor list to identify my must-sees, I have a shopping list both specific and general, and I need to spend the beginning of this week gathering all of the things I need to bring with me. I have a number of things I hope to post this week, all of them about Rhinebeck. I can't promise it won't get monotonous, but I'm super excited and it's all I can seem to talk about, and since this is my blog, I'm going to feel free to talk about it as much as I want!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Greater Boston Yarn Crawl

I'm blogging on my Nook. My computer seems to have lost its IP address for the moment. My dad is coming for a visit this weekend, so hopefully he'll be able to fix it. But, in the meantime, I'm on the Nook. Unfortunately, that means I can't show you pictures of the yarn I bought over the weekend during the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl. I know, you're probably wondering why I was yarn crawling just weeks before the highly anticipated and saved for Rhinebeck. My husband was wondering the same thing. I decided to use this opportunity to check our the shops closest to me and each shop had door prizes and it seemed to make sense to enter! I have to say that I wasn't thrilled with the shop closest to me (11 minutes away) but I'll give it another chance before I avoid it. I loved the next closest shop (20ish mimutes) and then visited two shops near our old place since I had errands to do in that end of the world anyway. I bought more yarn than I planned to, but I'm super excited about my purchases! Non-fiber purchases were a small clip on light so I can knit in the car at night (while my husband is driving of course!), a pattern for lined mittens, and a copy of The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements. Fibery goodies were some Encore DK to make a baby sweater for a friend who is expecting, some Encore Chunky to make myself a quick pullover sweater, one skein of Chunky Alpaca (I think it's Cascade) in black to make another El Capitan ( my red one clashes with my purple coat), and a skein of Fyberspates Aran Scrumptious, a wool/silk blend, to make fingerless gloves. My very last purchase was a sweaters' worth of Willa yarn by Juniper Moon Farms in a bright, cheery purple. I was looking for yarn for a specific patter and I think they're a perfect match! I'll show them together when my computer is cooperating. I also got a free tote bag for spending more than $25 at one store and a doorprize at another store - a skein of Cascade Pacific Chunky and a pattern for a lacy slouch hat! I'm excited to start on my new projects, but first I have to finish the cotton kisses cardigan! Happy knitting!