Sheep Puppet

I’m leaving for a business/fun trip to Chicago today, but before I left I wanted to jot down a few words on my trip to Rhinebeck.

Rhinebeck Flair

As group of seven of us left bright and early Friday morning, divided into, as the running gag was all weekend – an old people and a young people car – henceforth referred to as OPs and YPs.

The YPs car before:

Car Before

We left early so we could make a detour to Northhampton, MA to visit WEBS: “America’s Yarn Store.” Yes, we stopped to buy yarn, before we spent a weekend at a sheep & wool festival, buying yarn.

The Gang Outside Webs

WEBS is huge.

Webs is Amazing

We even spotted a Great American Afghan (Karen’s nemesis) live and in the wool.

Great American Afghan!

And if the main store wasn’t big enough, there’s a warehouse.

Webs warehouse

We, as a group, found a thing or two… I ended up with a sweater’s worth of Williamstown for my 2010 knitalution (to design and knit a full-sized sweater).

Webs haul

That night we landed at our hotel, ordered in some Chinese food (that came with a complimentary bottle of Grapette Soda), and read aloud from the Amish romance Novel, The Parting.

Saturday morning, we made sure we were at the gate at opening:

Line to Enter

Our first stop was the Evergreen Farms booth for an angora. Maggie had recently lost her bunny Cocoa Bean and was debating whether she was ready for a new one. Petunia convinced her she was.

Maggie & Petunia

After a quick stop at She Shoots Sheep Rhinebeck Style photoshoot (I think  Maggie, Bristol and myself were models  #9, #8, and #7, respectively. I’ll post a link when the slideshow is up), we headed out for the vendors.

Vendor Tents

After the first two barns I had checked off my three must-haves from my shopping list: 1750 yards fingering weight yarn in a natural grey for a Pas de Valse sweater from Snowshoe Farm Alpacas,  semi-solid sock yarn from Persimmon Tree Farm, and an eye-catching spinning fiber from Gnomespun Yarn Fiber Arts. Fortunately for my wallet I slowed my pace and bit and my final two pruchases of the day, buttons for my knitalution sweater from Jennie the Potter and a BFL/Silk braid of roving from Gale’s Art waited until after lunch.

Ravelry MeetUp

After lunch, we headed to the Ravelry lunch meet up and got to meet Sarah, Casey and Mary Heather.

Mary Heather

We also made dead center behind the banner in the official meet-up photo, which hasn’t been posted yet.
Ravelry Lunch Meet Up

We spent a bunch of time with some folks who raised Soay sheep, an primitive sheep breed . I didn’t note the farm unfortunately.

American Soay

By 3ish – we were tuckered out and stopped for a apple cider doughtnut break, before leaping back into the fray.

Karen & Doughtnut

We left the fairgrounds at 4:45. We left the parking lot an hour and a half later. (Noting for future trips, leave early!!)

After a break back at the hotel, the OPs went out to dinner and the YPs went to the Ravelry party in RedHook. We arrived too late for the goodie bags and cupcakes, but did get a chance to hop in the photobooth and chat with some lovely folks.

Ravelry Party

On Sunday, we packed up the cars (don’t worry, we didn’t really store the bunny in the back), had breakfast at a local diner and headed back for a few last hours at the fair.
Car After

We caught a sheep shearing (the sheep’s not a fan)
Shearing

and picked up a few more items. I snagged another sock yarn, this time from Sliver Moon Farm, and fought off Maggie for some into the whirled roving. I have received much mocking from my knitting group for my color pallette/phases and how my knitting often matches my outfit. I have been firmly ensconced in a blue and yellow phase (my Manu and a pattern I’m releasing at month’s end is a good example), but it seems pretty clear that my next phase is definitely leaning green.

My Rhinebeck Haul

All in all, the trip was fantastic and totally worth the drive and slightly sketchy hotel. We’re aiming for a return trip in 2012. If you’re planning a Rhinebeck trip, I’d make the following suggestions:

  • Book your hotel early. We did it about 3 months in advance and everything good had been booked by then.
  • Break up your days and catch some events. We wish we had seen some more of the events or taken a class. It all gets a bit over whelming, just doing vendor after vendor.
  • If you’re doing both days, leave early on the first day. The traffic out of the parking lot was awful day one.
  • Talk to as many strangers as you can. Every person I talked to (usually started by one of us complimenting the other’s knit-wear) was super nice and friendly and you have an automatic topic of conversation. I wish I had takend the time to chat more.

Now off to Chicago! Be back Sunday.

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