Test Spin

When I planned the trip to Rhinebeck, I definitely wanted to get a spindle, and my first immediate goal was to head to The Journey Wheel booth, where I bought a mini maple straight from Jonathan Bosworth himself (he was doing cash).  Thrilled!

Then there was the serendipity of going past Gale’s Art booth and seeing some Trindles, so I bought one of them.  And she gave me a little of her mixed BFL for playing with (I love a vendor who knows what is going to happen back at the hotel room.

Along the test spin, I had a bad moment after returning home this week.  The Trindle, with its removable arms, can obviously have them come out unexpectedly.  In heading to the Apple store this week for a repair to the Macbook (water spill in hotel room, don’t ask), I was showing a knitter I found in the store (ironically a new employee at the LYS that I occasionally teach at) my spindle, and only two arms could be seen.  ACK!  It wasn’t until I got home and tore apart my bag that I found the missing part tucked in a small slip.  So, my rule with the trindle is to have a small bag with the arms  in it and not on the shaft whenever it is going out of the apartment.

I decided to spin singles with the Trindle, and ply with the Bossie, just because.  And I love them for completely different reasons, like having two favorite children who are unique and fun and going to give you pleasure in completely different ways.

Trindle — My trindle is all sparkley and fun – it’s like spinning with a grown-up tinker-toy, and spins well, in a more robust way.

Bossie — It just is very smooth – it whizzes around with nary a peep out of it, and like it wants to be high performance in an understated and very Yankie way, kinda like a BMW.

So, having spun the BFL, which looks fabulous:

test spinning 1b

I am now plying some fiber tasting that I spun a long time ago (I think it is alpaca camel?) that I bought long ago, Navajo-plying, and with some polwarth I did as a test spin a bit ago, I have a total of 50 grams, which should be enough to make a lacy cowl.

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Rendevous with Rhinebeck – the third part

The next  morning, my goal for Rhinebeck was to take in the fun and wander to see some things that didn’t catch my eye the first time.  So I checked out the Paw Stars — dogs who catch frisbees and are really quite fun to watch.  Here’s a few photos of “Java” who is a world champion in the recent world championships, which I think happened in China, but I could have gotten that wrong:
Paw Stars 3
Paw Stars 4

Then it was off to wander to see things that I had missed the day before, like the garment and skein competition, which was amazing in terms of the quality – see that lovely shawl!

Wool Wearables

And I bought my second hot cider from this lovely group of 4-H kids – Golden Fleece is a terrific name. Talk about great, grounded young uns – they are lovely Their club was featured in the local paper. Their president, Taylor Harrison (not pictured here), is this year’s Sheep and Wool Ambassador. I don’t know about your county, but I don’t think we have such an ambassador here. They travel to regional festivals, learn fiber arts, and give back to their communities.
Golden Fleece 4-H Club

And my last purchase was because I was wandering through and saw some Trindles — a special kind of spindle that the Trindleman makes.  You usually don’t see them “in the wild” but Gale’s Art was selling them for the Trindleman, who is a teacher and therefore busy with other things during the school year.  These are modular in a completely different way than the KCL one I bought last spring.  For these, the spokes detach and you can attach other ones (lighter or heavier as you please):

My Trindle Spindle

It is so much fun to spin – looks like a jeweled tinker toy, but spins very well. I think I’ll be buying some of the spokes to change in and out.

My last bit of adventure was to head to Val-Kill, the later in life home of Eleanor Roosevelt (ER), who was a great knitter. The peacefulness of this place is lovely — here is the creek for which the place is named (Kill means creek):
Val Kill Stream

And as I walked in, one of the National Park Service rangers immediately noticed my shawlette, asked if I knitted, and off we went into a full discussion of knitting. She wore her handknit socks (out of a sturdy Regia), we talked about Eleanor, found out each other’s Ravatars, and poised for a photo (with Eleanor’s face peeking out between us):
Me, ER, and the Knitting Ranger

Mary Anne (knittingranger on Rav) has taken her ranger-knitter identity pretty seriously, and was interviewed by Franklin Habit in a lovely article about ER and knitting in Knitty a while back – check it out. And because of Mary Anne, there’s a shelf of knitting books at the store at Val-Kill:

Knitting books

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Rendevous with Rhinebeck – the second part

We last left my adventure at Rhinebeck with me sitting with Heather Ordover, headmistress of the Craftlit podcast, and author and editor of the pretty darned great book, What Would Madame Defarge Knit?  During lunch, I loaned Heather my Bertha’s Mad Mysterious Moebius  because it was pretty blustery by then, and it did keep her warm (sorry, no photos).  After Heather went to get supplies for the gang back at Cooperative Press, I happened upon Ysolda Teague, who looks so cute with her short hair – and was so modest about her new book, which I really love.  I found out that she’s coming to the Bay Area to celebrate the Anniversary of the new A Verb for Keeping Warm store, so hopefully I’ll make it across the Bay to see her again in November.

I forgot to mention that one of my first stops at the festival was to Jennie the Potter’s booth, whereupon I snatched up a beautifully crafted mug, and only upon getting home realized how much I spent on it — it is a work of art (see below), but now I’m scared to use it (seriously – most of my mugs are the “free gift with donation” kind of ones so I don’t feel bad if they break.

Jennie the Potter Mug

Having bought a Bosworth spindle, I did briefly stop by the Golding Spindles place, which was hopping, as you might imagine:

Golding Madness

and I was frankly a little too tired to figure out whether I should get one of them.

All my “essentials” out of the way, I wandered the show, seeing carved pumpkins:
Carving Jack O LanternJack o Lantern 1

And musicians who serenade all of us ladies who need to use the facilities!

Peruvian nusic

And I found a couple of very fun local fiber folks – the Hope Spinnery makes lovely sport/Dk yarn in lovely heathered hues, and the yarn is spun sustainably with wind power.  How totally cool is that?  I bought one skein from them, but I don’t think it will be my last!  The other find was the booth of Conservancy of Cotswold and Jacob Sheep, where I bought some small bumps of Jacob fiber, and admired a couple of lovely shawls woven on antique looms (and silly me forgot to take a photo of them).  These kinds of vendors make a fiber festival so special!

And after a bit more wandering through the halls, I realized that I had reached the critical point of Fiber-overwhelm (and my cold was not happy to see the rain come either), so I decided to get out and take the rest of the day off to play in my imaginary land of fiber fun, and work on my Wilhelmina Shawlette (another pattern from What Would Madame DeFarge Knit? – See you really do need a copy of this book!).

My evening was very quiet – I went to see the movie 50/50 – which is about as accurate a depiction of the pathos and humor and compassion involved in serious illness that I’ve seen.  A good way for someone named revknits to end her day.

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Rendevous with Rhinebeck — the first part

I came, I saw, I bought.  That’s the short version.

But you want more than that, don’t you, dear Readers?  I will oblige as best that I can.

The premise for this trip was for two reasons – my attendance at Sock Summit was ripped from my pretty little hands just a day before I was to travel there because of pox, and my lucky freelance gig to teach at Princeton Seminary (which pre-dated the University by quite a bit) which ended on the Friday before.

On Friday, I packed up, trained it to the Newark Liberty Int’l Airport, and rented a car.  I loved my customer service guy, who kept telling me all the cars there were “economy” – I got a Nissan Altima that was lovely to drive, even though I don’t like black cars.  It rained off and on all the way across New Jersey and up the Hudson Valley.  By the time I reached Hyde Park, where I was staying, the rain had gone to sprinkling, and I made it there by dinnertime.

My host, Patsy Costello, runs a small guest house out of her house, and is very reasonable.  You’ll share a bath, but I don’t spend much time in there, and it worked fine.  With the savings of staying there, you can eat really well!  Patsy’s father worked for the Vanderbilt of the estate that is nearby, and on his death, her father got $1,000 which helped buy the house that Patsy now owns. So I like to think that my room was built by a Vanderbilt.  Patsy is also a huge fan of the Roosevelts (she had a ton of biographies on her front entry table), and Lorena Hickok, a very good friend of ER’s was a neighbor down the road.  More on this later.

Strategy-wise, I was planning to arrive early at Rhinebeck, and probably stay through some of the afternoon.  While I was on the East Coast, my allergies went into overdrive, and I caught a bit of a cold, so I wanted to make the time fun, not an endurance context.  After a hearty breakfast at the EverReady Diner, I drove up the 15 miles to the Dutchess Co. Fairgrounds, and, I must confess, squeeled a bit when I saw them.

After parking and all the entry stuff, I got in, and realized one thing:  this is a big affair.  And not just for the fiber people.  Like a county fair, there are games, food vendors (not only for eating there, but wine, chocolate, cheese, olive and other sorts).  Kid games are there. And the fiber related stuff is just everywhere, all over, in  an overwhelming kind of way.  And it’s just beautiful!

Rhinebeck

Having experienced overload at fiber events before, I did have a couple of things on a list, and a budget (in cash, so that every penny could go to the vendors and not financial intermediaries that don’t need it).  I headed first to the Bosworth booth, because I wanted a bossie for my own, to pet, don’t you know?  I got a very ordinary maple one, which I bought from the craftsman himself, who is a lovely New Englander.

the spindles

Next, I found the booth for Rhinebeck bingo – a great idea for someone like me who was traveling alone to the event and didn’t know many people.  The guys at the booth were great, and my bingo adventure began.

From there, I could relax.  There were no “have to buys” and my major goal was simply to find out the lovely smaller vendors who don’t make it to other coast.  Folks who go to Stitches were to be avoided because I can find them later.  And boy, did I!  Tons of small ranches with their own fiber-much of it natural, others hand-dyed.  I did pop by the book-signing to see how long the line was to meet Stephanie Pearl McPhee – and it was way too long – I wanted to see the fair.  But I did take a half-Kinnearing kind of photo of the Yarn Harlot here:

Yarn Harlot Kinnearing

By then it was time to see if I could find Heather Ordover of the lovely Craftlit podcast at the Cooperative Press booth.  And I did – and how nice it is when someone that you’ve had correspondence with for a while turns out to be lovely in person too.  She signed my book that I had especially  brought from CA, and then a bit later, I returned for a meet-up, and I promised to her booth-mates that she would sit down and eat on her break.

We ended up at a place I would have chosen (Heather is gluten intolerant, so we went with what she could eat), but I had the most fabulous hamburger that tasted so good, like a really great meatloaf.  It was fun to chat with Heather about all kinds of things, and enjoy the brisk weather.

Part Two will be coming very soon!

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Anticipation

It’s one day ’til the great R_______ adventure begins.  I am not going to do a checklist, because I still don’t want to jinx it.  But it is so cool that it seems like many of the knitterati will be at Rhinebeck, and that I might <del>stalk</del> bump into them during the day.

I do not have a R________ sweater, but I will be wearing hand-knit sweaters, and if perchance one of the designers bumps into me, I might get a photo.  Or not.

After tomorrow morning, I’m guess no wi-fi or the like.  That will be both strange and wonderful.  Isn’t life grand?

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Packing and Planning

I’m packing tonight because I leave pretty early in the morning.  And I have my usual dilemma, how much knitting to bring along?  The truth is, the schedule until Friday is probably pretty pack and little time for more than a few rows on a basic sock each day.  But I really want to bring more – there’s the Wilhelmina shawlette being knit in the lovely Wollmeise that Liesel sent all the way from Germany – see the gorgeous colors:

Wilhelmina Shawlette1c

I’ll be seeing Heather of the Craftlit Podcast if the plans for R______ go well (I scored an awesome guest house room very cheap, so I’ll be able to afford to eat well at dinner, plus get some great stories from the owner), so I definitely want to bring the shawlette, even if it isn’t done – and there’s a cool KAL happening here hosted by Chrissy Gardiner, who’s helping everyone of all abilities.

Then there’s the lovely MadTosh Pashmina that I ordered way back in the spring and hasn’t become anything.  I ordered some of the ChaioGoo circulars, and this would be a perfect way to try them out.

I figure because it will get cooler over my time in the area that I’ll have room to pack the goodies that I’ll buy, and if not, there are books I can send bookrate through the Postal Service.

Honestly, though, I’m feeling as though all of this is a pretty selfish view of the world. Today there was an email in my box with a frantic colleague who has a family, and no work for her or her husband on the horizon.   It wouldn’t hurt to not spend the whole budget for the trip, and help out someone in need as well as support those in the crafting business.

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Let’s Not Jinx This

I’ve been totally working on a plan, a plan that is turning out to be expensive, but still it is moving ahead.  It involves the R word.

Readers of this blog know that I got all hyped up about Sock Summit, only to get very sick indeed shortly before it began.  But I had known for months that I would be in New Jersey the week before R___, and so I decided to ponder whether to stay the weekend.  I realized that racing back home after what will be a hard week of work was totally silly, and therefore I am planning (and crossing my fingers) that my plan will work out.

I’ve never been to a full-fledged fiber festival before, and now, as a virgin, I will be going to the mother of all fiber festivals.  A plan is forming in my mind, but, dear readers, help me out.  What do I need to know about attending one of these?  I’ve gone to several Stitches events, but this is a whole different kettle of fish.

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