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random thoughts from my life & the universe

Pilgrimage

On the way to Rhinebeck

Being a knitter/spinner/general wool-a-holic is a bit of a trial in the desert.  While we do on occasion actually get weather to trot out the woolens, it usually doesn’t last…nor are we graced with large wool festivals to celebrate our craft at.

Wool festival you ask? Why yes.  There are such things….and the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY is the one that all the cool kids go to – not only that but it happens at a most beautiful time of year, typically at the peak or just after the peak of leaf change.  Autumn in New England, how I miss you!

Last of rhinebeckSeeing as Rhinebeck is all the way on the East Coast in “upstate*” New York and a good bit away from any major airport, it requires a bit of planning to make it, especially if planning on spending the whole weekend up there, where lodging is at a premium during the weekend on account of all the knitters and wool vendors flooding the area ;D  Originally, I had thought to hit Rhinebeck last year for the festival, but as luck would have it, I was mired way past neck deep in a project at work and could not get away – this year though, proved to be perfect!  Perfect weather (though sadly, a bit warm to be wearing woolies), and perfect companions – I made the trip with some very good friends who are also knitters from the desert – turns out they needed to make a fall trip to the East Coast to do some college visits for their very clever daughter  – so I hitched along for the ride (even though I can’t seem to convince her to apply to my alma mater).  We were able to meet up with a bunch of our internet friends and exclaim over each others woollies in person rather than via facebook, twitter or ravelry 🙂

Rhinebeck itself was also wonderful, though overwhelming – it reminded me of my first time at an outdoor retailer tradeshow paired with a huge family reunion.  After a crazy first day, where all the purchases were food related, the second day was much better.  We made it into pretty much all of the barns and saw what all there was to offer.  I got to try my hands on a Hansencafts MiniSpinner – it’s got a tiny footprint, a portable power source and is even quieter than my Roberta electric spinner….I also had a chance to talk to Nathan Lee of the Woolee Winder though he didn’t have any woolee winders with him for my current wheel of choice.  While I did pick up some handpainted fibers, the wool I’m most excited about is natural colored cormo – I’ve never spun cormo before, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it!  I hope to be able to make it back to Rhinebeck again some day – if not for the wool, then definitely for the friends.  It was so good to finally meet a bunch of people I’ve only corresponded with via social media for the last several years – and even better to be able to spend time with friends old and new!

(sadly, in my excitement, I failed to take photos of sheep, or alpacas, or llamas, or vicunas, or even of the fried pickles, artichokes, giant fresh-squeezed lime-ade, dinner-platter sized cream puff, fresh baked cider donuts or vender-filled barns. Clearly, I need to go back again for a do-over 😉 )

*upstate as defined by a denizen of NYC.

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