Category Archives: rhinebeck

A day in pictures

We came, we saw, we bought some yarn and petted some sheep.

Today is my re-entry day post-Rhinebeck, and it’s always a bit of a struggle once you’re rested up again, to discover that you have to start the day without knitters or a cheese plate or a bunch of yarn shopping. (In defiance, I cast on a new shawl this morning just because. It’ll get done whenever it gets done.) So now I have to get on with the things I stopped doing last week before Rhinebeck. Although there’s lots I could report specifically about how nice it is to spend a weekend with knitting friends where the to do list includes knitting, shopping, eating cheese and drinking wine, well…That pretty much sums up the key points. That and getting to visit Knitting World live and in person, when you walk through the fairgrounds and happen upon people you know from the internet and haven’t seen since last year’s Rhinebeck, that’s pretty much why the weekend is great. I’ve been going for about six years now and it hasn’t gotten boring yet – and it turns out I still buy yarn there, even though I don’t need any more. Yarn chatter later, but for now, here is more of the day in pictures.

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Have a fantabulous Tuesday! Make sure there’s some knitting in it.

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Baaaa.

Another year of Rhinebeck (New York Sheep and Wool Festival) has passed, and despite the fact that the amount of travel involved always leaves me feeling slightly run over, it was a great time. I saw knitterly friends, found some great yarn, and ate way too much food. (And I even finished the green cabled Ravine pullover, though it happened in the car on the ride back.) I’ve got lots of pictures on my camera to share with you from the weekend, and will have a nice post with them tomorrow. But first, since this evening is all about putting my feet up (I’ll at least hold my knitting, even if I don’t actually knit very much), I’ll show you some of the sheep.

I was woefully neglectful in noting the breeds of these lovely creatures, but gosh darn it they were nice sheep.

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Have a great Monday evening!

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The goods

My Rhinebeck shopping this time around was fairly precise. I made a list going in, and stuck to it, and then stopped shopping and browsed and chatted and ate food the rest of the time. All good too, of course! I often get taken in by the pretty things and buy one or two skeins (especially the sock yarn, which is so beautiful and tempting), and then regret not saving more of my budget for a really great amount of sweater yarn.

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In addition to 2 more Signature circulars, a book and a hug from Stephanie, and a really great mug from Jennie the Potter (for which I have to thank fellow Rhinebecker Abbie, who stood in line for me and may have snagged one of the very last mugs there, I did indeed get some lovely yarn. (The mug is my 2nd from her, and I can see why everyone mobs her booth – they are just wonderful for a cuppa or a latte at home, and have such pleasing hand-painted designs.)

I’ve gotten a few lovely skeins of sock yarn from Miss Babs before, and at Sock Summit this past summer I really strongly considered their worsted weight yarns but didn’t have room. This time, I made a beeline for the display of Yowza Whatta Skeins, and brought home 3 in a lovely brownish grey colour called “Field Mouse.” It’s about 1600 yds altogether, and I think it might be destined for the cardigan sister pattern to Royale, which I’ve been wanting to work on for the last year.

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I also brought home 2 more giant bumps of yarn from Briar Rose, in this bulky and flaming red shade of Abundance. I think it’s going to be something big and cozy and cabley.

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It’s a big world of yarn out there, and I love what I have access to through the yarn shops and dyers here at home, but at Rhinebeck there is always the thrill of getting to see a different selection of indie dyers and craftspeople, and it is wonderful that so many of us can benefit from this big yarn world in so many different ways.

In conclusion, yarn is awesome.
What yarn are you waiting to pull out of your stash – new or old?

Happy knitting today!

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Rhinebeck 2011

The New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) is pretty much a guarantee of a good time. There are people and yarn, and if you’re not finding much of one you can usually find some of the other, and even if by the end of it my introverted self has had so much sensory overload that I am on the verge of becoming feral and clutching said yarn in the middle of an airport waiting on my (delayed) flight home, it’s never not worth it.

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This time around a bit of an odd thing happened to me – I made a list of things I wanted, and stuck to it. Rather than filling up on appetizer yarns one or two skeins at a time and having no room for an entree of awesome sweater yarn purchases, I went right for some lovely sweater quantities of yarn at Briar Rose and then Miss Babs (pics tomorrow), and then finished off with an aperitif of two more pairs of Signature circular needles (I’m so sunk. I’m just going to keep filling in the collection, I can tell), and a Jennie the Potter mug, and then I was done. And it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.

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So after that it was just about wandering – which is nice because there were a whole lot of people to wander with. It is a good and strange thing to converse with knitters mostly through Ravelry and the blogosphere and then suddenly get to see them live in 3D all in one go. And reaffirming to have so many people to wave to across the crowds and hug when you get to them. Knitters are great.

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Gretchen (maplemom) was there with her mum and she was showing off her lovely, lovely Royale, and they were great to say hi to.

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I saw Kristin, Angela, and Elinor, and for some reason did not manage to snap a picture of Elinor with her eyes open.

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I played Rhinebeck bingo again (and did not get bingo, again, but still met some more knitters)…

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I showed Elspeth the progress on my Longbottom cardigan, which is destined to be modelled (and then kept) by her husband, and got a pretty great reaction…

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And I even got my own Rhinebeck sweater done in the nick of time, and got photographed in it by Melissa, and I love the pictures so much that I need to wait to post them in a post of themselves. Preferably accompanied by a finished pattern, I think.

And I petted some sheep, and ate a lot of food, and got some decent transit knitting done, and when i finally got home I fell into the best coma sleep on the planet.

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Thanks for being awesome, knitters! Let’s do it again next year.

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Rhinebeck, the Stash-en-ing

Every year there are knitters who manage to go to Rhinebeck and not buy anything. I have no idea how they manage this. Clearly, they are stronger/wiser/more powerful than me, because I always return with an armload of yarn. This year, though, I made an effort to be a bit more mindful of what I was buying – that I’d rather have a few things I was happy with than many many smaller portions of things I didn’t know what to do with. Truthfully, I never can tell how long any of my acquisitions will sit in the stash, but I can at least try to acquire things that will stand me in good stead when I am suddenly hit with a project idea.

One of my first stops, therefore, was the Briar Rose booth. I have never managed to get to them in the first half of the day (Saturday) before, and it makes a huge difference in the selection that is there. I knew I wanted to get a sweater quantity of something, and lo and behold I came out with two of their generous skeins of Abundance, a heavy worsted/Aran ish weight, in a smokey grey-purple shade. One skein is a bit more purple than the other, so whatever I make with it, I’ll be sure to alternate skeins.

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On Sunday I returned to the Green Mountain Spinnery, having weighed the decision for a day, and also snagged a sweater’s worth of yarn from them – their wooly worsted 2-ply, appropriately named ‘Wonderfully Wooly’, in a nice dark cranberry shade of red. This is going to be something cabled, for sure, though who knows what and when ;)

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Although I wasn’t (really for sure I wasn’t) going to get any spinning fibre, so long has my spinning wheel been neglected these few months, I couldn’t help picking up a bit over at Into the Whirled. Their colours are just so lovely. And peeking out from under there are 2 skeins of wool/silk blend from Brooks Farm, for perhaps something in a hat and mittens set? We shall see.

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And finally, I have something for you, dear readers – a single fine skein of Holiday Yarns flock sock, in ‘Graple’, a nice purple colour. For a chance to be the happy recipient of this skein, just leave a comment on this post some time between now and Saturday morning (Toronto time), telling me about a knitting gathering you’ve been to and enjoyed (of any size) and I’ll draw a winner’s name at random. A little piece of Rhinebeck from me to you!

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I hope your Thursday has some knitting in it today! Until next time.

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Leaping Llamas

I’m still working up a post on my stashly acquisitions (I may even do a brief give-away), but as it turns out, re-entry into regular life after a knitterly weekend does take a couple of days to feel back to normal. I am already wishing it was the weekend again.

So, for the moment I wanted to share with you a video clip I took on Sunday morning, of the ‘Leaping llamas’ show. It’s like horse-jumping but with llamas and alpacas. It was fantastic. The littlest guys had a harder time of it once the bar started to rise, but these tall ones were just zipping along. And they were all clearly in tune with their handlers/owners and it was lovely to see how sociable these animals really are. Turns out they have other talents besides making yarn fibre!

Happy Wednesday! May it be as painless as possible.

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Rhine-Ten

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I think, for the first time, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the big-ness of Rhinebeck. I went in planning to have an enjoyable time and hang out with some awesome kntters, and buy some pretty things along the way, and that’s what I did. I rode down with a great van-load of Canadian knitters and stayed with a house-load of American ones. It has been a weekend of yarn-related crazy and gathering, in a good way.

Ann, who bought a fleece at Rhinebeck last year, was wearing the sweater that she had knitted from the yarn she had spun from the fleece she bought at Rhinebeck last year. I think she wins.

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But then Stacey (new curly-haired sister-friend) also wins, because she broke her foot last Wednesday and still came. Elspeth made sure she got her scooter. She was pretty slick, zipping around the fairgrounds in style.

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Today I ended up meeting up with Sandi at lunch time. She had the garlic dog, I had the deep fried mushrooms.

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We looked at spindles and fibre, she wore some fibre on her head like a crown, you know, as one does.

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The sheeps (and goats) were sheepy (and goaty?)…

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Emily bought her body weight in Briar Rose yarn…

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We went to the Ravelry meetup and the internet came to life before my very eyes, and Gwen got her first Ravelry button…

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A bunch of us played blogger/Ravelry bingo…

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Jo bought all the spinning fibres…

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There were yarn-related things that weren’t yarn…

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Because I was there for 2 days and not just 1 this time, there was even a bit of time for sitting and knitting…

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And then, it was over. Thanks, Rhinebeck!

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On sucking less

The knitting internets have been gathering momentum the past few weeks. There have been countdowns tossed around on Twitter, SQUEE IN ALL CAPS, excitement over packing and things to knit. Rhinebeck approacheth. I am lucky enough to be attending for the 4th year in a row, and it is always a good time with knitterly interaction, much yarn to be fondled…and the wearing of new knitted sweaters.

I’ve had my own sweater identified for quite a while. Ever since I designed Royale back in the spring, I knew I needed to have one of my own. It was a sad, sad day my friends, when I had to give up the sample to Tanis (though less sad for her, admittedly). I cast on for my own back at the end of July during my California trip, during which time there was much airplane knitting and car knitting, and good opportunities to get it started. It’s been a sporadic knit, largely because I keep putting it down to work on other things in between.

And also because I keep royally screwing it up. And for no good reason whatsoever, because I’ve made mistakes on this sweater that are nothing to do with the pattern. The fact that I designed this myself clearly has given me no turf advantage whatsoever. It’s like the yarn and needles got together and said “hah hah, we’ll show her who’s boss.”

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For real, folks, I knitted the original sample in 3 weeks. It was awesome. It could not have gone BETTER. But clearly, now that I am working on my own – even starting it during the leisurely dog days of summer – the universe has come along not once but three times to kick me in the shins.

The first time this happened was that I realized, while sitting in Liz’s living room the morning after I had spent 5 hours from Toronto to San Francisco knitting in front of the airplane seat television, that I had in fact cast on for the wrong size. Rookie mistake, which could not be gotten around. I ripped back, and started over.

The second time this happened was back in August, when my subconscious brain somehow allowed me to stop paying attention to the central pattern chart, and I repeated a whole separate chunk of it in a completely unnecessary fashion. Many of you looked at my blog post back then and said “Um, Glenna, I can’t tell. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And it could well be the case that I would wear the sweater out and about and nobody would ever know. But I would know. I envisioned myself wearing the sweater around other knitters and having to either walk with my arms folded over me the whole time, or repeatedly say things like “do you like my sweater? I made it myself! except, don’t pay attention to the huge mistake right above the middle of my ribcage, lalalala. Wow that’s nice yarn over there, let’s talk about that instead.”

So I ripped back another four inches and re-knitted it.

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The third time happened a few weeks ago, and I had to spend several moments with the sweater laid out on the couch next to me just staring at it and deciding what was going to happen next. I had neglected that step with using hand-dyed yarn where, in order to avoid severe-looking colour changes when using skeins that look ever so slightly different from each other, you alternate between two skeins for a while until they start to blend. I know how to do this. Heck, I’ve DONE this, many times. I’m pretty sure I’ve even written it down in pattern instructions a few times before. I AM SMARTER THAN THIS. AHAHHAHAH.

I reasoned with myself that maybe it wouldn’t be that obvious in different lights, that maybe people wouldn’t notice…And then my brain finally said “listen. All those other times when you did something sucky, you ripped it out and made the suckiness go away. You’re going to let all of that go to waste by letting the third sucky thing stick around?”
No, no I did not. I ripped it back again.

And now I have most of the body and most of one sleeve, and a week to go before I leave for Rhinebeck, so I’m sincerely hoping that the third time was the charm and that my yarn and needles haven’t got a fourth and fifth mistake session in the works for me. Please, dear sweater, we’ll both be so much happier when I’m wearing you around the knitterly fairgrounds. Deal?

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What comes of not having a plan

Exhaustion is starting to become a theme around these parts. Now that the term is in full swing I’m starting to feel it, and even though in a couple of weeks I know I’ll start to turn that corner when the end is near and I get a burst of energy back, right now it seems to be enough just to make it to dinner time. So it is both enjoyable and odd that I would add another layer of travel exhaustion onto all of this by hauling myself off to a weekend wool festival.

The reason I bring this up is that today I got home in time enough to photograph my Rhinebeck purchases (daylight hours are starting to diminish), and dudes….some of this stuff I only have vague memories of buying it. And then I remembered that my Saturday at Rhinebeck was sort of this odd plan-less mixture of relaxation (from being with all the knitters and the wool) and fatigue (from the work-travel cocktail), and not only that but guys…I had no plan whatsoever when I went to Rhinebeck this year. None. I think the extent of my plan was “I like yarn and will buy some.” Usually I say to myself “I will look for a sweater’s worth of something in worsted” or “must definitely stop by this particular booth,” but this year by the time I realized I should have done that, it was mid-afternoon and my tote bag was already half-full and I was sort of adrift on impulse. Next year I will go with a plan.

Not that I came home with crap, mind you. Oh no. I may have picked up bits and bobs of things that I didn’t fully understand at the time (like the armload of A Touch of Twist in this post, which is beautiful but I swear I have no idea what I am going to do with it), but mostly I think I chose wisely.

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As, for example, with these 3 Into The Whirled braids. I know that once I finally get back into a spinning routine, these will be so much fun to try out. They are, from bottom to top, merino, merino/silk/bamboo, and polwarth. And the colours are beautiful and how can you go wrong with awesome colour?

Also, for the first time this year I finally made it into the Brooks Farm booth. (Note to self: get there earlier next year). This was the point in the day when I was trying to find a sweater yarn, but then flamed out and decided “you know, Glenna, maybe you should shoot for hat and mitts.” (The temperatures may have had something to do with this thought). So after some decision-making, I got 3 skeins of Solana, which is a worsted-weight superwash that comes in their usual awesome Brooks Farm colours.

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I also remembered the sock yarns. I remembered to go by the Holiday Yarns booth, because I got a skein of their Flock Sock last year and quite liked it, so I grabbed a skein in ‘Orange You Glad’ to break out of my colour norms, and also a Kitri kit (not pictured). The red and the blue yarns there are J Knits sock yarn, from the Seaport Yarns booth, because I remembered at the end of the day that I’m currently on the lookout for red and blue sock yarns (for a design project currently in its conceptual stage…soon…soon…)

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But you know, I think my favourite purchase from the day were these 2 skeins of sock yarn (fingering weight, in the teal, and sport weight in the lilac) from Steam Valley Fibers.

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It’s a vendor I haven’t purchased from before, and you know, those 10 minutes or so that I spent looking at all the colours and pondering which ones to get, and chatting with the other knitters who were looking at the same yarn, and then paying and inquiring briefly about the yarn with the vendors themselves…those were a pretty good 10 minutes. One of the challenges at Rhinebeck is the crowds and the patience and the wanting to get to the yarn that you want, and you know, the Steam Valley Fibers booth wasn’t stressful at all. It wasn’t empty by any means, but it was still good to get into and get out of and the yarns were beautiful. I like these 2 skeins.

So even though I wish I’d been a bit more organized about my purchasing, I’m happy that I grabbed several things I’ve not tried before, and as a result I have expanded my toolbox stash a bit more. I’ve got some things that I’m glad to try out or see what comes of them, even if they don’t have specific plans attached.

And you know…looking at all the yarn now, I gotta say, it’s pretty restorative. I like yarn. And it’s nice to look at and know that it’ll become something, some time in the future.

Knit on, my blogland friends!

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If you can find a group of people

Here I sit this morning, enjoying some of Manhattan’s fine caffeine and free wireless, pondering the happenings of the weekend, regretting my return to the real world, envying all these stylish New York women who breeze around elegantly in their wool coats and tall boots and brilliant handbags and wondering what sort of effort it takes to be a part of that, and thinking that I really need to come back to this part of the world more often. There are good friends, and good yarn shops, and – oh yes – the occasional nearby sheep and wool festival.

My weekend comrades were Rebecca as per usual, and Liz who joined us for her first Rhinebeck weekend ever. Last night we had quick catch up dinner and ice cream with Melanie, and over the Saturday of Rhinebeck I ran into lots of awesome people, many of whom I completely forgot to photograph, thanks to my consistent alternating state between very relaxed and very exhausted. I do know, however, that hugging Elspeth hello never gets old, that Elspeth’s posse is the best bunch ever to have post-wool-festival home made dinner with, that Bonne Marie and Jodi are wonderful to talk to in person, that Toronto knitters are everywhere and will always find each other (found Kim and Molly, below) and that I am quickly finding that while these wooly weekends are superficially about the knitting, they are actually mostly about the people. Can we do this again next month?

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Because I think if you can find a group of people with whom you can deeply discuss and debate knitting technique and pattern construction, Jane Austen adaptations, the trashy allure of Twilight, current politics, DC and New York neighbourhoods, Almodovar’s films, whether or not your favourite actor is alternately smart as a tack or dumb as a brick, or possibly whether he is gay or straight, and then circle back around to knitting…I think that you are probably doing better than many other people, and I am so grateful for reminders of that.

Rhinebeck was pretty cool. (In more ways than one. Thank the dear sweet and fluffy lord I had my Ultra Alpaca Cassidy and podster mitts and slouchy beret as backup. Temps were a few degrees above freezing for most of Friday and Saturday.)

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There was a lot of yarn (more on that tomorrow), there were friendly sheep and alpacas.

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In fact, Ann (above; Annimol on Ravelry) even got one of the friendliest sheep’s fleeces and immediately trucked it off for processing. We felt how soft the sample lock was and promptly reeled in our jealousy. Because Ann is actually a very nice and reasonable person (why yes it IS reasonable to kiss your newfound fleece) and if you can go to Rhinebeck and get something like that for your very own, then more power to you, I say.

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And then there was train time and knitting time, and dinner and ice cream and sitting time, and now it’s all over and I have to go back. The real world is harsh and cruel. I think there might be something to the whole “Imaginary Rhinebeck” weekend thing. That’s a visit I’d like to make any time.

May your Monday be as painless as possible, and may your knitting welcome you when you come home. Catch you next time!

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