I’m finally back in my normal routine, such as it is, after spending October in a sort of fibery haze. October was Fiber School & Rhinebeck. Fiber School was super fun this year, just an amazingly lovely group!
And my first Rhinebeck was smashing! Jen & I flew into Hartford, where we gave some strangers a ride to Holyoke on the way to Adrian’s place in rural Mass. Her house is just too freakin’ adorable, as is her mister and the stupendous Miss Pippa!
(These pictures were taken the day we left; while we were there, the weather was pretty shitty.)
First thing I did was pull out my newly finished but unblocked Rhinebeck sweater and soak and block it (replacing Adrian’s freshly-blocked and still-damp Rhinebeck sweater). I was really happy with my first Rhinebeck sweater. My only regret is giving away an ounce of the fiber. The sweater was 15 ounces–if I’d had that extra ounce, I could have added a kangaroo pocket. Waa. Otherwise, it fit perfectly–longish cut and sleeves, and shaped at center back as well as the sides for my hips and big ass. It could have come in a bit my at the lower back, but I’m pretty pleased, still. I used up all but maybe 2 feet of the yarn.
We went for dinner at a place with lobster (!) BLTs, and then I got a marvelous hot bath (I always take baths on vacation, as my own tub is still just decoration–we haven’t gotten around to breaking our ancient concrete to plumb the thing) in their deep Japanese soaking tub. I soaked in steamy water until my skin was piggy pink, then doused myself in a freezing rinse. It was freaking awesome!
The next morning, we headed for Rhinebeck, with a pit stop at Webs (cue heavenly music), where I did a big sin. My penance will be knitting six sweaters this winter. Yes, I got enough yarn for six sweaters. And a pair of socks, although I think that yarn will probably become a shawl instead. Wanna see?
Future Sweater #1: Araucania Ranco Solid, 4 skeins, 400g/14 ounces. Maybe a top-down raglan with a special pattern on the yoke and cuffs?
Future Sweater #2: The Sheep Shop Yarn Company Sheepfeet2, 4 skeins, 400g/14 ounces. This will be a striped sweater worked in ABCB, since I have unequal numbers of skeins. I’m guessing a cardigan worked in the round then steeked. Hopefully a cardigan with pockets, since I find myself wishing everything had pockets lately.
Future Sweater #3: Misti Alpacas Worsted, 6 skeins, 600g/20 ounces. Definitely a hoodie with a pocket! Maybe a cabled hoodie. Yes, probably cabled.
Future Sweater #4: Noro Silk Garden Lite, 6 balls, 300g/10.5 ounces. I thought this would have to be a vest only, but I’m through the torso of Sweater #6 (also Silk Garden Lite), and it’s only 4 skeins, so I might actually be able to crank a whole sweater out of 6 skeins!
Future Sweater #5: Noro Silk Garden Lite, 10 balls, 500g/17.6 ounces. Enough for a hoodie. I’m doing #6 with 2 balls in different spots of their color progressions to make alternating break up the stripes a little. I think on this one, I’ll use 2 balls at the same color repeat on the body, and one ball on the sleeves, for stripes that are bolder, but not too thick on the sleeves.
Future Sweater #6: Noro Silk Garden Lite, 10 balls, 500g/17.6 ounces. Sweater #6 turned out to be Sweater #1. I started it on the flight home. If I’d realized how far it would go, I would have skipped the collar & made it a hoodie! I’m already through the torso now (though I’ll probably go a bit longer) and I’ve only gone through 4 skeins. Definitely gets a pocket, unless skipping the pocket gives me enough to combine with Sweater #5 leftovers for a whole new sweater!
Shawl: Kauni. I don’t know what the line is, since I can’t read the language, but it’s a sock weight stuff with a beautiful, very long color progression. It’s sturdy and very woolly, just the kind of wool that non-knitters crinkle their noses at, sort of scratchy and lovely and with the promise of a nice bloom, but certainly not soft enough for your neck. This reminds me of all the yarn I bought in Latvia (or was it Estonia?). I’m tempted to warp some of the stuff I bought there and dye in some stripes!
I blew $308.79 at Webs, about 3X what I would have allowed if I had gone in with a budget. But I figured, what the hell! You only get a first visit to Webs once, right? And for over 6 pounds of fancy yarn, that’s not too shabby. Since I used many different payment methods at many different vendors, I don’t actually have a tally of what I spent at Rhinebeck proper, which is probably for the best. Next year, I’ll be more modest.
Despite the cold & rain Rhinebeck was terribly fun! We spent Friday night at a “cabin” (a 4-bedroom house with pool) Adrian found, where I got to meet & drink with a whole pack of really friendly & hilarious people, plus I finally got to see Carolyn again! Everyone arrived and unloaded food (David and Amy brought enough sweets to rot the teeth out of a good two dozen heads) and drink. We were supposed to go to a cheese party, but Adrian brought a whole case of local cider (a case of wine bottles, not beer bottles), and everyone was so eager to, um, taste all the different varieties, that very quickly, we were too lacking in designated drivers and too soaked in cidery inertia to actually leave the house. Instead, we played Apples to Apples and stuffed ourselves with Carolyn’s amazing baked ziti & Amy’s rich fudge brownies.
Saturday day was cold, but at least not raining, and we headed out to the glorious New York Sheep & Wool Festival, hurrah! Much delicious food, mad shopping, sheeps-a-plenty, and a ravelry meetup at noon featuring Ysolde as 70% adorable/30% menacing Bob.
If I ever got more sheep, I’d have to get something like this. It’s some kind of Leicester, I think–the signage in the sheep barn was pretty obscure–usually just farm names & not breeds. But they’re so cute! I do love that by mid-summer, all of my sheep look like they could be in a sheep-based civil war re-enactment movie, but these clean faces and erect rabbit ears are just so cheery! Cheviots have the naked head and rabbit ears, too, but their noses aren’t so arched, so they don’t have such a kangaroo face.
There was also a farm there showcasing another intriguing breed, the Ouessant, the world’s smallest breed. (No pictures–too blurry, thanks to my aversion to flash photography and my poor low-light skills). It’s a teeny little European black sheep they’re trying to upbreed with imported semen & Shetland ewes (because EU law forbids export of them as live sheep or embryos, apparently). In a couple years of upbreeding, they should have ones that are pure enough to be considered purebred. Ouessants are really wee: ewes are less than 18″ tall at the shoulder and only about 30 pounds!
After a few glances around, I quickly got down to the business of putting myself in the poorhouse. I was pretty restrained yarn-wise:
Future angora mittens (Maybe for the pattern I made last week?), 50% angora, 30% nylon, 20% superwash merino.
Socks that Rock mill ends, lightweight, about 13.5 ounces. Not sure what these will be. Long underwear? I think I’d really need to whittle my ass down a couple sizes to make that work. Or I might sell it. The plan was a sweater, but this color isn’t good close to my face, but I really liked it. This is one of the many colors I really want to look good in (much like the babyshit greens I keep buying) but can’t really pull off.
And more Socks that Rock mill ends, 5.5 ounces. Either socks or a really cushy bunchy cowl.
Fingerlakes Soft wool, 4 ounces. Cowl, probably, or maybe cushy socks! This is like Beaverslide, only finer.
And one lonely skein of random Zeilinger alpaca blend, because I can’t resist the natural browns, but I had enough sense not to buy enough for a sweater, with all the dark brown roving & top I have at home.
See how good I was? Except I wasn’t. I went a little apeshit on the spinning fiber.
Future Sweater #7: Spinner’s Hill batts, wool, 21 ounces. This will be a hoodie like this year’s Rhinebeck hoodie, only with a big pocket! And maybe a zipper, if I’m feeling froggy.
Future Sweater #8: Spinner’s Hill merino batt: I can’t remember the weight, but, it’s merino, so it will make more yarn than the regular wool, so I should be set for a tight sweater.
Future Sweater #10: Decadent Fibers Jelly Roll. About a pound of Corriedale. Unfortunately, it’s not all rotten watermelon colors; there’s a bunch of blue on the inside. Hopefully, it won’t spin up as mush, and next year, I’ll know to look inside first.
Future Sweater #11 (realistically, a vest): Triple R Farms tri-color wool roving, 8 ounces. More on the rotten watermelon theme.
Future Sweater #12 (again, a vest): Triple R Farms wool & silk roving, 8 ounces. There’s more dimension to the color than you can see here.
Future Sweater #13: Cloverleaf Farms merino top, 12 ounces total.
And some undecided fiber…
Cloverleaf Farms merino top, 4 ounces
Cloverleaf Farms BFL top, 4 ounces
Fingerlakes hog island/alpaca blend, 4 ounces
We went back to the house for a little cheese party of our own before heading out to the Ravelry party. Ravelry hired a school bus to shuttle everyone to the Elks lodge where the party was held. Both Jen & John won prizes, only John didn’t get his, because apparently they wrote the number down wrong. It was definitely his number though, because when they called it out, it was the one right before Jen’s, and she was just after him in line. Poor John. If I’d realized, I would have called witnesses and had them go through the tickets they drew, but apparently John isn’t one to make a stink. So polite. Not me, not when it comes to prizes.
Those earmuffs may be my favorite Rhinebeck souvenir. They’re sheepskin, and I’m hoping wearing them all winter will really keep the sheep on good behavior. If that doesn’t work, I want Ron to make me one of those butcher cuts signs.
Sunday was really wet and miserable, so after we said goodbye to the housemates, we just did a quick run-through of the shops I wanted to hit again, then checked out the photo gallery and the sheep-to-shawl competition. I got to meet Otto & Joann Strauch (as lovely in real life as they are long-distance) and eat a scrumptious lamb kabob with one last batch of freshly-cut fries, then we headed back to Adrian’s, inadvertently (thanks, Garmin) taking the very scenic route. Actually, come to think of it, it really was scenic, all windy roads wending through dense woods, and leading up to snowy winter altitudes then back down into fall. We also got some fantastic ice cream on the way home. After all the fried food and cheese, Adrian made us a huge, delicious salad for dinner, then we packed up all or goodies and heckled Stigmata before hitting the hay.
Of course, Monday was stinkin’ gorgeous, just in time to leave. We ate an amazing breakfast at a sugar shack, then headed back to the airport. I finished up my Rhinebeck project on the plane.