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?
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?
Alright, I’ve held out on you long enough. It’s time to show you what I snagged at Rhinebeck!
I was a really good girl this year. I think that looking my stash directly in the face (that’s for another post) the week before Rhinebeck along with the pressure of numerous deadlines really helped me put things into perspective. I really love yarn. But I seriously need to be careful about what I’m purchasing lest things get more out of hand. (I’d also had my hopes that I was getting a big bonus at work the Friday before but that got postponed so my budget was a little tighter. Probably for the best! Custom couches don’t just pay for themselves, you know.) On top of it all, I felt like I was chatting and catching up so much on Saturday that I hardly had time to shop. Shopping was not the goal for the weekend, as I mentioned before, I felt super pumped after spending the day with all of my friends. I was literally still browsing through what was left at Into the Whirled when they announced that the fairgrounds were closed and I didn’t have to go home but I couldn’t shop for more yarn here. So I only bought two skeins of yarn for myself!
Within my first fifteen minutes, I’d already gotten a lovely compliment on my sweater (oh, Rhinebeck, you always know how to make a girl happy) and fallen deeply in love with this skein of DK BFL dyed by Jan Marek Raczkowski. It’s a gorgeous pink with just a little bit of red. I didn’t want to buy anything until I’d made my rounds so I waited until the end of the day to pick this up but I was thinking about it all day. It’s soft and squishy and the color has me swooning. I’m planning on making the Hierro mitts from Pom Pom’s Autumn 2013 issue and I had my eye out for the right yarn. This is it.
I’m really excited to start those mitts and I’m already thinking that I want to get more yarn from Jan Marek Raczkowski. Apparently he only sells at shows, nothing online! Although a little birdie did tell me that I could email him to order. I’ll definitely be thinking about that!
The other skein I bought is by Into the Whirled. Now, I was a little bad. After going through my stash, I realized that I have enough sock yarn to last me a hundred winters (possible slight exaggeration but it’s serious). I’ve said again and again that I love buying sock yarn because it’s a great way to purchase yarn without worrying about having the right quantity for a random project- one skein of sock yarn is enough for a pair of socks. I love knitting socks! But, alas, I’ve seemed to have followed my own advice a little too closely and now I have a billion skeins and zero minutes to cast on socks. Then Lisa showed me these yarns and there was just no turning back.
But when I saw this color way, I just really couldn’t say no. It’s Inara and it’s in the SW merino/nylon base. It’s just so pretty. I might make socks for Jon with it. I think that is what I say every time I buy a skein of sock yarn. And he only has one pair of socks that I ever knit him. Poor thing.
The more I think about it, the more I’m regretting not also picking up a skein of Bigger on the Inside because the colors are just gorgeous and who doesn’t want Doctor Who-themed socks?! Maybe next time. I really was trying to be good!
Did I do good? Or should I have really broken the bank this time? What did you buy?
ps. Happy Halloween! I’ve been so busy, I’ve forgotten to be festive. Last year I wrote this Halloween poem so check that out.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in the film, at least, it’s been ages since I’ve read the book!), as the three heroes board the Hogwarts Express after defeating evil for the first time, winning the House Cup, and hugging Hagrid goodbye, Hermione says, “Feels strange to be going home, doesn’t it?” With a bit of schmaltz, Harry replies, “I’m not going home. Not really, anyway.” When I headed for the parking lot at Rhinebeck, after it had been announced that the fair grounds were closed, that’s exactly how I felt. Although I could only come out for one day (I’m not sure if I have the stamina for the whole shebang but I’d love to stay the weekend next year), I was really touched by the magic of the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this time around.
I always get butterflies before arriving at shows like this. I get really overwhelmed (Sorry if we talked about meeting up but it didn’t happen! I literally ate two apple cider doughnuts for lunch I was so busy!) and shy (Sorry if we made eye contact and then I didn’t say hello. I’m awful at these things!) and I never know where to start (Sorry if you’re an alpaca! I started with the sheep). I hardly took any photos, a combination of forgetting the memory card for the camera I schlepped all the way up there and being too frantic to stop for pictures. After wandering around the sheep and goats, I went to the Ravelry meet up to try and find some familiar faces. It always amazes me the shear amount of people that show up to the festival. I found myself creeping around the edges of the crowd, sheepishly looking for my friends until the lovely Bristol Ivy saved me from complete awkwardness. I got to have a solid chat with her, Maria of Subway Knits, Dana, Ashley, Threadpanda, Redhead Knits, and even Amy Christoffers (I’m probably forgetting some wonderful ladies, too!) Later I had a meeting with Roman Hills and Vo0lenvine (we have big semi-secret plans).
I bought some yarn (that’s for another post) but this year was really about connecting with my friends. It really felt magical being surrounded by people that are all so talented and supportive of eachother. It’s not to say that my non-knitter friends aren’t those things, it’s just that after long stretches of time surrounded by muggles, it’s really invigorating to talk with people that know what you’re saying. On top of everything else, I got to meet some readers (Hello! You know who you are!) which just basically made my whole life. I feel like Saturday was just full of love!
Over the past year, I’ve been trying out a lot of new things and it really feels like it’s paid off. But I know I wouldn’t have even dared to try stepping out of my comfort zone if it weren’t for the amazing ladies that have encouraged me all along and helped me in so many ways. It’s crazy to think that last year at Rhinebeck I met Amy Christoffers for the first time and just a few days ago she was fluffing the shoulders on my first published sweater pattern.
I’ve probably babbled enough but, long story short, I’m still dreaming of sheep and yarn and hanging out with my fantastic friends. I’m already ready to get back to Rhinebeck because there’s a little piece of us there all year round, isn’t there?
What was your favorite part of Rhinebeck this year? How often do you get to hug your knitting friends?
Promise a post with my spoils soon!
Rhinebeck is swiftly approaching (can you believe it?!) so I wrote you this poem about knitter’s Christmas.
TWAS THE KNIT BEFORE RHINEBECK
Once the weather gets the slightest bit of chill in it, I am craving pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie. From September 1st to December 1st, I am annually on a mission to ingest as much pumpkin as possible.
Maybe this season we can wrap ourselves in pumpkin-colored sweaters, too! Here are some spicy, warm, and sweet yarns in your favorite flavor!
I’d love a big cowl or maybe a pair of mittens in pumpkin. But a wooly pair of socks sound nice too! There’s just too much pumpkin and not enough time.
What’s your favorite pumpkin treat for the fall?
ps. The winners of the #kollabsockalong were announced yesterday! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!
I finished my Maxfield cardigan! It took my a while but I’m going to blame it on the big break I took to make Katie’s wedding present. No regrets there! But I was just in time because I got to wear my newly finished Maxfield Cardigan to Rhinebeck! But I didn’t take any photos because I was so busy!
Okay, that’s not true. I took this photo with design crush Amy Christoffers! Both of us wearing her designs! Be still my heart!
Hint: There will be a KYC Presents interview coming up featuring a lovely designer who’s name rhymes with Jamy Tristoffers! Did you guess who it is? Are you excited? I am not the only fangirl for Amy’s designs (you know who you are) so I hope there are lots of you looking forward to that!
Anyway, I finished my Maxfield Cardigan. And there were no pictures since that little sleeve teaser and some Instagrams of the front. But here are some photos of the whole shebang.
I love each one of Amy’s cardigans more than the last. This one seems even more wearable than the Pomme de Pin. (I love them both.)
The Malabrigo is so yummy and soft. I am very pleased with how the colors turned out. Just how I’d imagined it! But, honestly, I want to make another one. Maybe grey and black? I think I need more neutrals. And by that I mean to say I’m addicted to neutrals.
Look at that collar! I know that I knit the chevrons differently than the pattern specified (with the dec/inc going through the MC sections) but I like the way it turned out. But, really, the front panels are killer.
I had SO MANY knitters come up to me at Rhinebeck and ask what pattern I was wearing. I was so excited! It is such a compliment to hear other knitters wanting to cast on once they’ve seen your work. But I was mainly psyched to spread Amy’s name. I want everyone to be knitting her sweaters! Make this sweater! It’s so much fun!
ps. You’re looking better than ever, New York! Don’t forget to participate in the Subway Knits Sandy benefit raffle! Lorna’s Laces is also selling sock patterns to benefit Sandy victims through Feeding America.
pps. To all of my American readers, tomorrow is the election! I hope you all plan on going to the polls (or have already voted, as I have!) VOTE!
What a weekend! I’m still reeling. I took Jon and Ashley upstate to shoot at Rhinebeck and we had so much fun!
We spent all day filming the festival. And we were so busy, I see now, that I didn’t even take photos! But we do have some awesome video that will be coming up soon!
Much of the day was spent doing interviews but we did get in some time to pet furry animals. It was magical to meet so many people from Ravelry and overwhelming to see so much yarn in one place. I wish I’d had more time (and better cell reception!) so that I could have met with everyone. All in all, it was an amazing time. Next year I think I’ll have to split the fun between two days!
Stay tuned because there will be some Rhinebeck videos coming up.
Were you at Rhinebeck? What did you get? Did you pet any animals!?