I had a blast attending my first Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival this past Saturday.
If you don't know about it, here's the link: http://www.sheepandwool.com/
I got up at 5:15 am (UGH!) to catch my 7:15 am Amtrak train from Penn Station. I'm living in Flushing right now, so it actually takes at least an hour to get to Penn. The train ride was beautiful, overlooking the Hudson with all the pretty fall leaves. I arrived in Rhinecliff just before 9, and as I was waiting for the train doors to open, I heard and spotted about a dozen other knitters who were surely there for the same reason. Stepping out of the station, four of us hopped in a cab and off we went to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
I'm so glad I went early, because I actually had a chance to talk to quite a few vendors before the place became completely packed around 10:30. I was surprised to see quite a few Mainers selling their creations. I grew up in Maine.
My first purchase was from Twist of Fate Spinnery. www.twistoffatespinnery.com I got 2 skeins of bulky weight yarn in 50% Wool, 50% Alpaca. It was so soft and reasonably priced, plus it was one of my goals to get some new protein fibers to dye, and I've never tried Alpaca. I also got 1 slightly irregular skein of the same blend in sport weight from the bargain bin. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with them (other than dye them), but I'm thinking of maybe making a cowl, headband, and mittens for myself. The guys of Twist of Fate Spinnery were very friendly and happy to share their process. It's great to know where the yarn is coming from.
Next, I picked up a Lavendar Mint moisturizing bar from Heal my Hands. www.healmyhands.com When it's gone, I can mail in my tin for a refill, and they pick up the shipping. It smells great, and seems to work well, although I haven't had much time to assess yet.
Jenny Jump Farm was having a special sale on cones of mohair, which is another protein fiber I'd like to try dyeing. http://www.jennyjumpfarm.com/ They had some in a gorgeous pale grey, but of course I got the white anyway. Lots of mittens and gloves, I'm thinking. Christmas gifts, maybe? No promises!
As the day went on, I kept finding myself staring at people who were spinning. Spinning wheels are so beautiful and it looks so meditative. I've accepted that a spinning wheel is not in my near future. I need more space before I get more furniture... but the fibers looked so soft and spinning looked so fun. Ok, so cutting to the chase.... I got a drop spindle. I didn't jump in and invest in one of the fancy expensive beautiful ones, just a student one, which actually happens to match my niddy noddy and swift, being that it's natural wood color. I haven't tried it yet because I don't want to waste any of my pretty fiber, which I got from The Sheep Shed. http://www.sheepshed.net/
I ended up leaving around 1pm, which was the perfect amount of time for me. I'm not a fan of huge crowds, even when 80% of them are wearing gorgeous hand-knit sweaters.
Below is a photo of all my purchases. The rest of my photos are at the bottom of this post. I should mention that I made a special effort to take selfies with the animals. Apparently, my hair is delicious.
I'm dying to start spinning! So far, I've consulted the video blog of the wonderful Jennifer Beamer of Expertly Dyed. Her channel is great, and I highly recommend subscribing for all things yarn related. http://www.youtube.com/user/ExpertlyDyed?feature=watch
More research is necessary, but I'll be sure to fill you in after I try my first spin!!
Have you been to Rhinebeck? Do you spin? I'd love to read your thoughts in the Comments below.