Rhinebeck this year felt a lot like Black Friday shopping. I’ve never gone Black Friday shopping but I imagine getting a Cabbage Patch Kid the day after Thanksgiving 1987 was a lot like trying to get into the Miss Babs booth Saturday morning at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. Lisa said that she crawled on her hands and knees into the booth to secure three skeins of worsted-weight yarn. (That’s why I love her.) (Babs herself was there being just lovely. She told me in hushed tones that it was ok to squish all the yarn, pick a color, and buy it online.)
Let’s start with the bad news, this is the yarn I didn’t buy.
We all have different strategies for fiber festivals but this is mine: I do a lap before I buy anything. In fact, sometimes I do many laps. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, sure. If it’s the last skein in that base I love or I can’t get it online or I just feel like it’s THE ONE, snatch it up. But this way is the best for me to prevent impulse-buying. At the end of the day, if I still hear the yarn calling out to me or I can’t get it out of my head, I’ll go back for it.
I walked away from a lot of yarn but that’s not to say that none of this was gorgeous. I wanted it all. But my budget (and overflowing stash) keeps me from getting everything. Part two of my strategy is to take a photo and write it down so that I can buy it later online when I either have a project or the money.
I went with a list this time but, let me tell you, it was very overwhelming to make big decisions in this atmosphere so I didn’t end up checking anything off of my list. The big ticket item was yarn for Benton. I’d love to make one for NaKniSweMo but I’m not sure what colors I want. I wear a lot of blue so I’m trying to stay away from navy. I was thinking a clay red, forest green, or maybe gold? In the end, there were so many fibers and so many color choices that were so perfect for this sweater (plus so much yarn substitution and price math), I just couldn’t choose. So I have a list of possible choices that I’m going to compare when I have my wits about me.
Here’s what I did buy. And looking at it now, I feel kind of silly because it’s really all the same. But, like I said, I have lots of yarn that are buzzing around my brain. And, spoiler alert, I did get some Christmas gifts that will have to remain a secret.
I’ve got too much sock yarn but Into the Whirled is just so yummy. All of these are the Manchester Sock base which is merino/nylon/cashmere. It’s so soft. I’m addicted to sock yarn.
When we arrived at the house Friday night, I put on some hand knit socks to get cozy with a cider (as you do at the start of a Rhinebeck weekend). I can’t tell you how sad Jon was that he hadn’t packed any knit socks. This boy loves cuddling up in handmade socks and it just really tickles me. His appreciation for socks makes me want to make him a billion (he only has two pair, that’s not right!) and it feels like a pretty valid excuse to add to my sock yarn stash. So when I was browsing the racks at ITW, I decided not to go with something pretty and purple. I picked out Wanderlust because I thought it was really masculine.
I was also totally drooling over their new semi-solids like this peacock colorway, Qualinesti. I’ve got plenty of self-striping and variegated yarns and I just feel like they limit me to making slip stitch or plain socks. I can only cable with semi-solids and solids! It’s just a thing.
So I said that that was enough sock yarn. I was just going to make some soft, amazing socks for my boyfriend…But then I went back to ITW with Panda and she convinced me that buying this skein of Cherry Bomb because it matched my nail polish was a totally legit reason. (Nail polish is Essie “In Stitches” because it’s also totally legit to buy nail polish just because it’s named after knitting. Knitting-themed nail polish, nail polish-themed yarn…This is getting a little meta.) It’s a little tough to photograph. In real life, it’s a little more on the mauve side.
I did end up getting something that’s been on my list. Ever since I saw Dana’s earrings at VKL in January, I’ve coveted a pair of Jennie the Potter earrings. It was really tough deciding which ones to get but I really love these!
So there you have it. I came, I saw, I bought yarn.
What did you get at Rhinebeck?
I’m always forgetting to take photos with people at Rhinebeck. Forgetting to or too shy to ask? I never have proof of what I was wearing and who I was hanging out with! Well, Erin snapped a great photo of Ashpags, Amander, and me! Thanks, girl! I didn’t have time to make a Rhinebeck sweater (I never have and that bums me out!) so I wore my Hurrication sweater. Nothing starts your morning off better than walking into the kitchen in a house full of knitters and getting those “oohs” and “ahhs!”
>> Someone ought to revoke my nerd card because I only just discovered the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. This episode about the invention of the sewing machine was very interesting. I imagine that the 19th century was full of patent frauds, curly mustaches, and tricky con artists/serial killers.
>> I’m loving this commercial with knitting Ashton Kutcher.
>> The (very brief) history of sheep at the White House. They’ve got bees now, maybe they ought to bring these guys back! Let’s start a petition.
>> Threadpanda’s Rhinebeck recap. Those photos. Yum.
>> The Stashbot app is out and already in the top 25 apps in the App Store! Very excited to have this tool on hand!
>> This article’s made the rounds but it’s worth sharing again. The true cost of a knitting pattern.
>> Missing Outlander? Buzzfeed’s got your Outlander wardrobe knitting fix.
>> Looks like this sheep was trying to follow me home from Rhinebeck. Sorry for the delays, everyone! (Imagine Homeward Bound but with a sheep, alpaca, and goat?! Let’s make this movie.)
Tags: ashton kutcher, commercial, faire isle, festival, hurrication, men knit, metronorth, outlander, recap, Rhinebeck, sewing machine, stuff you missed in history class, sweater, white house, wooly wormhead
Here’s looking at you, kid. Last year I started my Rhinebeck recap post with a sentimental line from Harry Potter so I think this theme needs to keep going. What whirlwind! I’m still trying to gather myself after spending the whole weekend upstate but I wanted to share all of my pictures because I’m just missing it so much!
Where do I start? I actually remembered to take pictures this year! On my phone, with my dslr- I’m getting the hang of this blogging thing, huh?
This was my first time spending the entire weekend at Rhinebeck. I was invited to rent a house with some friends (Lisa, Panda, and Ashpags) and some ladies that would quickly become my friends. We stayed in a house in the woods (holy crap it’s dark up there, this city girl cannot get used to that) just outside New Paltz. I don’t get to hang out with knitters often enough. I say that all the time! This weekend just reminded me that I need to change that.
Nothing felt more magical than curling up on the couch with a cider and my knitting with ten other hilarious gals, all clicking away at our needles. So my resolution before next Rhinebeck is definitely get together with my New York knitters more often.
I thought that spacing things out over two days would be more relaxing but I was beat when it was over. On Saturday, I ran around with the girls, hunting down the finest yarns. (I sent Jon to a class at the Culinary Institute so he wasn’t bored out of his mind and by that I mean so he couldn’t see all of the yarn I was taking home.)
I saved all of the sheep cuddling for Sunday when I brought Jon. We met this amazing ram that really wanted to come home with us. I had no idea sheep liked being pet like dogs. This one was all about it. I’m still thinking about him!
LOOK AT THAT FREAKING FACE!
I talked to just about everyone under the sun, though, ironically, I didn’t meet up with my city friends for more than a second! I really love being able to talk to other designers that don’t live in the area at Rhinebeck. I only get to see most people once a year so it’s a special time. Got my annual hug from Amy Christoffers. (Nothing feels better than getting a compliment from the designer when you’re wearing one of their patterns!) I got to finally meet Emma Welford and Teresa Gregorio in person! We met up for a moment and chatted about a fun project we’re all working on together! (Love that we can be collaborators from the internet, ain’t no thing.)
I’m getting a strong case of the feels looking through all of these pictures. This weekend was such a ride and, wow, that amazing feeling of being around such talented people, gorgeous garments, and fantastic spirit. The fact that I could chat up anybody, oogle some beautiful sweaters, and chow down on a dozen apple cider doughnuts this weekend really makes my Grinch heart grow.
Every year I come out of the Rhinebeck weekend with that feeling, I’m really just psyched about being a knitter. I feel inspired and in the right place and I just want TO KNIT EVERYTHING. I sound like I joined some kind of cult. If there was a cult of NY Sheep and Wool, I’d be there.
A post with the yarn is coming soon!
Were you at Rhinebeck? How it go for you?
It’s fiber festival season! Everything feels like it’s ramping up and we’ve got a few months of meet-ups, shopping, and drooling over yarn ahead of us. Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend and it always gives me a mix of excitement and stress! I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of my friends from all corners of the country as well as all of the adorable sheep! But these big events can be exhausting.
If it’s your first time at a big festival, it can be intimidating. Aside from the obvious recommendations of wearing comfortable shoes and your most impressive knits, here are some tips for a successful Rhinebeck trip!
1. Bring a list
Rhinebeck is a great time for city-dwellers like myself to get up close and personal with some adorable sheep as well as facetime with our knitting friends that live far away. But, let’s be serious, we’re here to buy yarn. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices with hundreds of vendors so it’s good to go in with a list of projects and their yarn requirements so you know what you’re looking for. I also like to keep my phone’s notes app handy so I can jot down companies that are new to me if I’m not necessarily buying just yet.
2. Make meet-up plans
Service at Rhinebeck is spotty. I haven’t tried out any peer-to-peer apps like Firechat but it’s tough to get a text up there. You’ll have to save your instagrams for later! It’s good to make some plans ahead of time. Don’t forget to mention what you’re wearing so you’re easy to spot!
3. Pack a snack
Yes, the apple cider doughnuts are to die for but those funnel cake lines are out of control. (And I can’t listen to that pan flute band for more than two minutes if I want to keep my sanity.) Bringing your own food means less time waiting around and more time petting alpacas!
4. Bags in bags
You’re going to be filling your bags with yarn pretty quickly. You wouldn’t want to let schlepping to your car stop you from purchasing, would you? Keep a small totes folded up inside one another. Once one is full, you can whip out the next one! (It doesn’t hurt to bring your significant other along to help carry bags, either.)
5. Don’t panic
While some of the other pieces of advice have been handed down from other experienced festival-goers, this gem is something I’ve told myself. Fiber festivals are really overwhelming (have I mentioned that already?). In the best way possible, but, still. I always go into these days with a list of vendors to hit and people to meet. I want to talk to everyone, even people I don’t know. I can’t say most knitters are introverts but for those of us who are, it’s important to give ourselves some breathing room. I remind myself that I’m not the only one that’s totally spinning. Sometimes I find myself taking a trip to the bathroom or just sitting away from the action to catch up, recharge, and get my head back in the game.
And, of course, don’t forget your knitting!
What are your tips for first time fiber festival attendees?
Did you miss me? I know it’s been a while. September was a crazy month and I just started a new job so I’ve been settling in. But it’s time to get back to business because I’ve got new pattern out!
Ilsa is a drop-shoulder cardigan with color work details on the fronts. The sweater is part of Knit Scene’s Vinter Stickning spread which is all about Scandinavian-inspired pieces. I love Scandinavian design, it’s where I go for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck so I was very excited to make something directly informed by it.
I wanted to do something a little boxy and relaxed. The trends for simple lines really lead me to this shape. Of course, I’m obsessed with neutrals but the little pops of color give it that Scandinavian whimsy.
Are you casting on your own Ilsa?
This post contains some mild spoilers, of course, so continue at your own risk! Also, I haven’t read the books!
I resisted at first but it wasn’t long before I became one of the many knitters that was devouring Starz’s new series Outlander. I love historical fiction especially of this period but I’m not into historical romance so I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. But the early reviews all outlined how cool the protagonist, Claire, is and how the show is not your ordinary premium cable television show. I have to say, those reviews were on point (except, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, that voice over is maddening!) and the show has stuck with me between viewings.
In case you missed the buzz, Claire, a British army nurse, is reconnecting with her husband on a genealogy-themed vacation when she is transported from post-WWII Scotland to the 18th century. Kilts! Brogue! That theme song!
While there’s tons of really adorable knitwear (that I would actually wear in my 21st century life), I’m going to save all of that for another post. I really want to talk about the fifth episode because it really tickled me! While Claire is on the road with Dougal and co, she stumbles on a group of women that are waulking wool.
Waulking (or fulling) is a process of cleaning and thickening new wool cloth. Sure, there was the gross-out, thank-god-I-don’t-live-in-the-olden-days fact that they are using boiled urine (yum!) to clean the oils out of the fabric and then beating it with their hands. (The smell of wet wool alone is bad enough, I can’t even!) But, considering wool is just about everywhere in the daily life of a highlander (tartan short gowns and berets and just the most beautiful blankets), this was an important common chore of the time.
Besides the whole pee blanket thing, it does seem like a pretty fun job and I’m kind of enamored by the community aspect of it. There are some great female characters in Outlander but they don’t really get to bro-out like the dudes do (telling dirty jokes, hunting, playing oldey timey sports, etc). I loved hearing these women sing and enjoy their work together.
Waulking songs are much like folk songs. Different lyrics are set to the same tunes and there is a call and response or a leader sings a verse while everyone else joins in for the chorus. The waulking songs are set to a beat suitable for pounding on the wool. I love old drinking songs and this feels like an especially female version since women were generally the waulkers.
I’m having a lot of fun finding waulking songs and exploring this tradition! Are you watching Outlander?
I’ve been going on and on about making Exeter my dream Rhinebeck sweater (though I’m positive I won’t have time to finish it). But after seeing the Benton that Jen at Grainline Studio made has really got me craving this beautiful sweater. It’s so simple yet really striking and I love how easy it is to wear. Perfect addition to my uniform of skinny jeans/button down/boots. The full post on Jen’s sweater is here. God, she’s talented!
>> A crocheted bowl of Ramen with video instructions.
>> Jon really wants to get a drone. He’s kind of obsessed with the idea which has me rolling my eyes a lot. I hate to say “boys and their toys” (girls like gizmos, too!) but mine seems to REALLY like the gadgets. This video of a ram vs. a drone feels very close to my heart right now.
>> Tips on how to weave in your ends. I’ve been knitting for 10 years and I’m still not happy with my finishing techniques. These photos are going to be very helpful!
>> Amy’s got a GREAT post about how to choose your first sweater pattern. Choosing to tackle your first sweater is a big leap and it can be very daunting. This is solid advice!
>> The cutest Vince star ever is Winter the lamb.
>>This New York Times article stirred things up on Twitter yesterday. I like Josh’s work a lot and it was great to hear more about his work at Fashion Week. It’s just that tired grandma comparison that really gets knitters upset!
So much knitting to do this week! Sweater season is almost upon us! What do you have on the needles?
Stitch N’ Pitch is coming up this weekend! Believe it or not, I’m going to be attending for the first time.
The Mets/Nationals game this Sunday September 14th marks the 8th annual Stitch N’ Pitch. The event is hosted by the New York Mets and Metropolitan Hospitality and sponsored by Lion Brand Yarn Company. Along with a themed Mrs. Mets plush, knitters and crocheters will be given Lion Brand yarn to make squares for Warm Up America. BYO needles and hooks! We’re going to be making for a good cause! Warm Up America collects handmade items for many social services across the country.
Admittedly, I am not a big sports fan but I do love to hang out with knitters while we’re in our element. I’m going to brush up on my baseball lingo! I can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon!
Pick up your tickets to the ball game here. We’ll be at Citi Field on Sunday! Don’t forget to bring your needles!
Will you join us? Who are you routing for?
I recently wrote about upcoming print-only Knit Wit Magazine and how I’m dying to get my hands on the first issue. The Kickstarter is quickly coming to a close but I was recently able catch up with Zinzi Edmundson, Knit Wit’s Editor. Zinzi (and art director Gigi Jack) come from a magazine background. She was nice enough to do a little interview with me and I’m very excited to share!
What drew you to the magazine world?
It’s unclear. I wanted to work in magazines from such an early age that it’s a little hard to pin point (around middle school, I wrote a letter to Anna Wintour. Unreturned, naturally). As a kid pre-blog, I would take all my favorite parts of other magazine (mostly photos + some headlines) and create my own Zinzi-themed magazines in sketchbooks. I’d even write stories around the images.
You come from a magazine background so what is it about textiles that you find interesting?
I’ve been a knitter since I was 8, but I have to admit that the current mega-surge in textile interest is really what hooked my attention. I love the limitless ability for expression and the cultural specificity that gets woven, stitched, knit, printed or dyes into fabrics. It’s really romantic and it’s so, so interesting. But, because we’re still in discovery mode (and this is our personalities anyway), the magazine will never be written from the point of view of an authority or some austere perspective from on high. It’s an honest curiosity and readers can come along for the ride (and chime in via social, too!).
Most (if not all) knitting magazines provide patterns but Knit Wit has none. What made you turn away from that format?
I think including patterns makes it a different kind of magazine and I wanted to introduce Knit Wit as an alternative to what’s already out there. That’s not to say that we’ll never include projects, but it’s just not exactly the idea. I have these grand visions of people who aren’t crafters or who never picked up knitting needles to be swept away by the stories and the incredible people so much so that they decide to dig deeper and start making stuff themselves. And that hardcore knitters or weavers or what have you (if they aren’t totally pissed that there aren’t patterns!) will discover something new or hear a story about something they already knew about, but from a different perspective. So for our purposes, it’s always been more about the people, places and objects than it is about DIY aspect. Call it a jumping off point or something.
What do you make of the contemporary knitting/textile scene?
This is a tough one. It’s so enormous—there are so many different people, all of whom relate to it in a completely different way. I was thinking recently about how fiber and textiles is considered a niche, which it definitely is, but it’s so weird given that there are millions of people participating in these activities, whether they’re just fucking around or upholding a grand tradition. So yeah, I guess I have to say that I think its vast and dynamic and just so chock full of stories. I think what’s interesting about Knit Wit is that it can be technically about something so specific, but it’s secretly very, very broad. We’ll never run out of material.
What do you see for the next issue and the future of Knit Wit?
OMG, good question. Now that we’re funded and most people signed up for a subscription, we’ve got to make good on that! Ha! In the future, I hope to continue to put as much care and love into future issues as there is in this one. And on a more literal note, Gigi and I are looking to expand into hosted workshops with fun lunches and awesome guest instructors. Coming soon…
I’m so pumped that Knit Wit was fully funded long before their deadline but tomorrow is the last day to back Knit Wit Magazine on Kickstarter! I hope you are all looking forward to the first issue as much as I am. Thanks for sharing with us, Zinzi!
Have you backed Knit Wit yet?
There are a few things I won’t do. I won’t dye and I won’t spin. I don’t quilt. And, as of right now, I don’t crochet. It’s not that I’m against other crafts, I love even the ones I can’t understand. I just can’t allow myself to have other hobbies. My yarn stash is out of control and, since I started sewing at the beginning of the year, I’m having trouble finding places to store the new yardage I’ve been collecting. One day, when I am a grown up, I will have a house with a craft room and there will be a closet full of yarn and a cabinet of fabric and a sewing machine, serger, floor loom, spinning wheel, and maybe even a knitting machine. But right now, in my one-bedroom, I am bursting at the seams (craft pun) with bobbins, tapestry needles, cross stitch canvasses, etc.
But if I could have a new hobby, if I did allow myself to learn something new, to take time away from that mile-long queue of sweaters and hats and socks, if it were possible to store a little frame under my bed between the sewing patterns and bags of yarn, that hobby would be weaving.
To be honest, I know how to weave. I have a small table top loom that I received as a gift years ago and I made lots of little patterned ribbons with linen thread. When I saw these woven wall hangings coming back into style (they’re really 70’s, huh?) I tried to ignore it. But now it’s too late. The pastel, textured beauties have caught me and I want one of my own.
I’ve considered taking a class (maybe one at the Textile Arts Center or this one at Makeshift Society Brooklyn) but I am the most stubborn kind of DIY-er. I like to think that I can figure out how to do anything on my own. Pickling? Sewing buttonholes? Weaving? I’m sure I can make it work. Besides, I have the internet to help me. Some resources I’ve found for DIY weaving frame, the anatomy of a loom, and a tapestry tutorial. So I might go for it. I mean, it would be a good way to use up my stash, right?
Do you limit your hobbies? Have you caught the weaving craze? How are you learning?