what could be better than collecting your best friends, loading up the car with all your favorite stuff, and taking off for a trip which is entirely focused around wool and fiber activities?
the answer has to be almost nothing. well, sharing the many, many pictures i took might come close . . .
kim, beckie, and i set off from home a week ago, set on having a fabulous vacation together and that is exactly what we did for the next six days.
our trip east was a bit rainy, but not too bad and we arrived in the hudson valley just before dark, unloaded the car, had a quick dinner, changed into comfy clothes, and settled in to knit almost immediately. and talk, of course—even though we talked all the way there, we still had a lot of catching up to do.
before long, we headed off to bed though—we had a big day of power eating ahead of us at the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici the next day.
(actually, on the way to CIA i had to stop and deliver patterns at the fair, which gave kim a chance to pick up her bel air yarn from the spirit trail booth—she was intent on starting the sweater that day; she’s been waiting for it.)
we were joined by our good friend kim from the woolen rabbit as well as our friends nathalie and mary fischer. john stopped in too, for a quick hello between classes and we kicked off the weekend with a prosecco and lambrusco toast.
lunch was amazing—we groaned with delight over every bite. i had hand-rolled pasta with a variety of mushrooms, preceded by a pumpkin/leek appetizer tart that was simply divine (those of us that had this appetizer are still counting ourselves among the luckiest of the day).
and there was still dessert afterward—kim and beckie opted for the chocolate lava cake and gelato, while i tried a lemon custard tart encrusted with pine nuts (which was heaven on a plate; i never had anything quite like it, but i wouldn’t mind having more some day!).
i think this is the best meal i’ve eaten at the CIA, and that’s saying a lot, haha.
after lunch we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the school by nathalie and then we all rolled off to kim’s car for a little tailgate yarn-buying party—you know, just to prime our engines for the fair (it doesn’t count toward the weekend spending if it happens before 5pm on friday). we literally sat at the side of the road, pawing through her small box of leftovers from the fryeburg fair. pitiful, right?
with promises to meet up with the fischers the next day at the fair, we headed off to our next destination—the poughkeepsie marriott for an evening of knitting with our new england friends.
we spent a few leisurely hours knitting with manise, kim, laurie, among others. kim wound up a skein of her spirit trail sunna (deep ocean, a rich teal with green and turquoise highlights) and cast on the sleeve of her bel air sweater, while beckie continued working on her jackie jacket in briar rose fourth of july. this is just her second sweater, but she’s already mastered the one-row buttonhole and side seam shaping in pattern.
the next day, we got up bright and early to head for the fairgrounds, stopping first to tank up on coffee and bagels at bread alone, our favorite morning eatery.
while waiting on line to get in, i saw alice in the heartland, who i met at sock camp. outside the spirit trail booth (which was absolutely mobbed all weekend), she corralled clara and i into signing her shirt. since we had first pick, we signed front and center on the “knitspots” so to speak, hee-hee! there’s clara, measuring to make sure she gets the right placement . . . be sure to take a look at her delightful rhinebeck video—it’s three days of sheep and wool packed into an adorable three-minute package.
beckie, kim, and i ran first to the moving mud booth, where sarina, john, and scout had their beautiful glass buttons and accessories displayed.
we wanted to get there early to enjoy the best selection. i fell for this card of turquoise round buttons; i don’t have a project in mind for them, but i bet they’ll look great on a sweater or jacket in natural handspun or maybe a special hand-painted yarn.
i bought some earrings too—i see them once in a while on other people and always notice how pretty they look. i’m making an effort to change up my jewelry a little more often and hope these will be a good incentive. and if i don’t end up wearing them, they will make excellent gifts.
we wandered toward the briar rose booth next and marveled at the swarming crowd scene for minute before plunging in. actually, i stood outside while they went in—i was in complete awe of the mass of knitters waiting to shop there. while i waited, i visited the booth of jennie the potter and talked briefly with karin of the periwinkle sheep, who is from albany and who i hope to see more of in february. she gave me a lovely gift of yarn that i’ll show you in the yarn and knitting post that’s coming tomorrow.
despite the threat of a nor’easter (of which we knew nothing, heh), the fair was pretty crowded once again this year—a good sign that our industry is healthy. word from the parking attendants was that they had never seen the car lot so full for any fairground event, ever. for some reason, this is the one fair at which the crowds don’t bother me much, no matter how packed it is; maybe it’s the cooler weather, or the pretty scenery, or the fact that i don’t really go with any particular shopping goal in mind, but i always enjoy the scene (and i always manage to spend my pocket money too, crowded or not, haha).
since i have a lot of yarn and fiber (ahem), and am in touch with so many dyers from home, i tend to stray toward the booths that feature producers of unusual items or those that don’t have websites. hatchtown farm is a favorite—they offer delicious coopworth fiber yes (and i have some stockpiled), but are also known for their turned wood spindles and flyer hooks, of which i am becoming a collector.
new to the fair this year, fiber optic, “neighbors” from the state of ohio, drew a lot of attention for their beautifully dyed yarn and roving. i met kimber (right) and ellie (left) when they took classes from me earlier this year. they had a fabulous rhinebeck i think—their booth was pretty picked over by saturday evening. i have yarn from kimber to show you, too—really pretty yarn. more on that later . . .
we headed next for the much anticipated knitspot ravelry group meetup, a lunchtime picnic event and brainchild of these three lovely knitters—cathy, our intrepid moderator, nancy, and agnes (who should really be an official moderator too, don’t you think cathy??).
and there are susan, laurin, and donna, enjoying a rest and a chat. don’t they look pretty in their knits?
we have been talking about this event for weeks, planning who will bring what, and which knit pieces to wear. you’d think it was the prom, haha!
and it was fun—beckie, kim, and i agreed that it was the highlight of the whole fair for us. there were about 30 or 40 knitspot participants assembled, grazing the delicious food and wine and enjoying each other’s company, some meeting for the first time and some reunited after a space between events.
christine recently moved back to new england from germany, so she finally had a chance to make her way to the fair and the meetup this year, yay. isn’t she adorable? i love that color combination in her sweater. if i ever do a fair isle piece, i’ll have to remember to pick something unusual like that . . . and her la novia scarf sets it off perfectly, sigh.
and look at his trio of cuties in their cozy knits—the child in the middle began knitting over the summer and is carrying her first FO, a blue caterpillar. she’s very proud of it.
kristin AND her husband brennan were there together, all in blue—they were so cute. kristin, wearing the trevi shawl, started knitting a highlander sweater for herself earlier this year and when it didn’t fit, she made it into a vest for brennan (he’s wearing it here, good sport that he is). they also brought me some fibery goodies that i’ll share in the next post—very yummy; thank you kristin!
liz has lots of exciting work to show on her blog—she is taking up new fiber pursuits like crazy and is becoming an accomplished spinner. i’m always so happy to see you two, thanks for stopping by!
one of the great highlights of the day was that craig from great northern yarns came down for a taste of the sheep and wool experience. craig had never been to a fiber show before and kim (who moderates the GNY ravelry group) talked him into making it a weekend destination with his daughter, irene (an enthusiast, for sure). there’s kim, talking about her ariann sweater, knit up in craig’s mink/cashmere DK yarn; kim and susan seem terribly impressed (as they should!).
craig has a couple of new yarns for this season, including a yak DK and a fingering weight mink/cashmere blend—just in time for knitting cold weather gifts and accessories (i’ll be showing those off in tomorrow’s yarn parade, too).
craig was so impressed with the fair excitement that he’s going right to work on getting booth space at rhinebeck next year, as well as a few other shows in new england, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.
one of the best things about the knitspot meetup is that everyone comes decked out in their best knits, usually the items they are most proud of. it’s hard to find words to describe the vibrance this brings to the atmosphere around our party—so i thought this photo from the after-lunch fashion show would say it best
it’s a heart-swelling moment to see people basking in their own accomplishments with such abandon—everyone trading compliments and telling war stories about knitting their pieces or getting them done in time to wear to the fair. i mean, in what other realm would we all be laughing about the dumb mistakes we make and the power of knitting to humble us so?
obviously, the rewards are great enough to erase all of that pain and turn it into something grand.
sigh, what a nice break that was . . .
after lunch we realized that during the morning, we had only gotten through one half of building A—not very far. while we didn’t feel rushed to see the whole thing in one day, we decided we should try to move a bit faster during the afternoon.
we visited norm hall in his booth, where i talked to him about buying a lazy kate to match my wheel. he has one at home that i will be able to buy and pick up on my trip through new york state in november.
we got through several other buildings over the next few hours and for some reason, i have no photos. it was a very good afternoon, though i found at the end of the day i had not made many purchases at all. my shopping bag was only about one-quarter full and weighed nothing.
i guess i talk too much and don’t shop enough . . .
well, there was still sunday to go.
we left the show grounds and stopped for coffee and a pick-me-up at bread alone (i’ll tell you now that during this week, we could have been mistaken for the furniture in that place).
we knit for a bit and chatted over the details of the day—so much excitement to digest. then we headed off for kingston to visit with the briar rose clan for the evening. beckie is wearing the sweater she knit over last winter in briar rose charity—her first and it fits her perfectly.
this is one of our favorite traditions—we meet up with chris and her family for a post-show pizza dinner and catch up with all that they’ve been up to since wooster. we get to talk to her grown children and play with her grandchildren—it’s so nice to stay connected that way.
i must have been bleary indeed by then, because once again, i have no photos of this get-together. i do remember though, that kingston has some gooood pizza.
the next morning dawned clear and still. i am usually the first one up when we’re on the road—getting to bed at an early hour has that effect on me; long before it gets light, i’m awake and ready to do something. so i get up and make the coffee, warm up the house, and watch the sun rise.
our rental house has the perfect back porch for this activity, if you like your morning crisp and cold (that’s where the coffee comes in). look at how pretty is is with the colors of the trees reflected in the water—i just love this part of new york state, with it’s old, old, terrain and ghostly legends.
sunday was a little different at the wool show—more relaxed and less crowded, yet there was still plenty to look at. at least, i found plenty to buy that day, haha. yes, sunday was my downfall, alright, starting with blankets.
last year, i bought a bed blanket from peggy hart of bedfellows blankets which we love. woven on antique looms, using wool yarns produced by small spinneries, peggy’s blankets have some of that artisan quality present in a handspun/handwoven blanket.
while i can be very restrained about personal purchases, i’m a complete sucker for spending money on the house, in creature comforts and things that make the place feel more comfortable. blankets and rugs are particularly dangerous territory.
and this herringbone throw was no exception. having spent so many years fondling fine woven suitings while working as a men’s tailor, a good twill or herringbone weave is likely to make me weak in the knees. need a closeup?
a creamy mix of brown and white corriedale gives this throw an especially cushy hand, while the varied width of the weave provides and intriguing treat for the eye. i was immediately smitten.
oh, but that’s not all . . .
we’ve treated our guest room, which is mostly neutral, with accent pieces in blues, such as the rug i bought last year from marilyn magnus. so when i saw this blue cotton hummingbird throw, i couldn’t resist getting it, too.
peggy explained that she was given a box of pearl cotton in assorted blue colors and set herself a challenge to make as much as she could of what she had in the box. once they are gone, that’s it for this color combination. i like that kind of thinking.
although i buckled and got two pieces, i comforted myself with the knowledge that it still wasn’t as bad as last year’s purchase and that we’d have these the rest of our lives (and probably then some).
the herringbone one will be all mine—it’s perfect for napping and, coming from a long line of family that are talented in that way, i am in need of a good throw of the proper length to cover my feet AND my shoulders at the same time. peggy makes hers six feet long—’nuf said.
after a run to the car while beckie and kim indulged in an early lunch of chicken pot pies, we continued to explore the buildings we hadn’t seen the day before. i got sidetracked at the needlefolk booth after spotting the mr squash head you saw earlier—there was just something about him i couldn’t resist. i tried to walk away (twice!), but was dragged back each time.
this stuff was way too cute, but it wasn’t just that. when i got talking to the proprietor, she had such a sweet relationship with her handmade items and the detail that goes into creating their personalities, that it made them irresistible—they each have names, for heaven’s sake. so yeah, mr squash head ended up in my shopping bag . . . i think he might make a good pincushion (maybe not the future she intended for him, but he could do worse).
on leaving the booth, i ran into my friend lynne from waterloo, who i got to know a little bit while i was up there teaching in june. she works at shall we knit? with karen. and look, she finished her irtfa’a shawl, which she started in our shawl project class while i was there. stunning lynn, really!
beckie purchased one of these baskets in the food building and when i saw it, i wanted one too—i like the natural color of the woven part with the black leather handles. though i’m not a fan of useless baskets, i do like the ones that are plain and have a function, like holding bread or spinning fiber.
we wandered a little more as noon approached, trying to think of anything we wanted that we hadn’t seen yet. on the way, we ran into jen, wearing a beautiful wing-o-the-moth shawl
knit in blue moon fiber arts peru, mmm.
and as we were saying goodbye for the day to woolen rabbit kim, i had the opportunity to meet jen and maikke from montreal
who will be part of the group that is hosting me when i go to teach at the montreal knitting guild in november. now, seeing two such happy faces really made me feel welcome there; i can’t wait to go.
since we had a big evening ahead of us and a brilliantly warm and sunny day, we decided to head back to the house to relax and knit on the back porch for a while.
beckie worked on her longjohn sock, which hadn’t been getting enough airtime, and i worked on my hellebores beret. kim got back to work on her bel air and regaled us with commentary on how gorgeous the yarn is and how glad she is that she bought it.
here’s an important travel tip: look for companions that do not moan and groan with regret about having indulged themselves.
we even wandered upstairs to take naps after a bit—ahhh, vacation life; i could get way too used to it.
in the evening we set out once again over the winding roads to visit our friends, the fischers and spend some time wining and dining with them. the dinner we had with them last year was a standout event for us and we’ve been looking forward to this year’s get-together ever since.
to kick the evening off, john treated us to a smorgasbord of cheese (mostly local, all artisan and yummy), fruit, and wine while we knitted and and talked feverishly about the fair, yarn, patterns, publishing, and tattoos (don’t ask). nathalie’s friend anne also a knitter, was in town for the wool show too and we spent some time getting to know her.
then the dinner commenced, beginning with bowls of warm cauliflower soup, that was to die for. i could have made it the whole meal. i need to make a list of recipes from this weekend and see if i can track them down . . .
after the soup we had a main dish of roast pork, with swiss chard and roasted yams, cooked to perfection by john. the wines were luscious and the whole table was abuzz with good conversation—a perfect way to enjoy friends.
we took a little break after the main dish to make space for dessert and coffee—once again, nathalie treated us to her famous concord grape pie, which we all enjoyed so much last year.
see? it’s so good, it’s illegal to post detailed photographs of it.
but i can give you some insight as to how good it is . . .
plate licking good, that’s what.
and some of us had to taste it twice to be sure it wasn’t a dream . . .
of course, no dessert is complete without chocolate, right kim?
john procures the most delectable chocolates, sigh. the only problem is that we are all so full by the end of the meal that we can’t do them justice (or maybe that’s his plan, hhmmm.)
after dinner, john did some spinning, while we knit and talked some more. we could have stayed all night if we weren’t so sleepy. we just love going to the fischers house.
well, we had one last day of vacation to spend doing whatever we wanted. as with other years, we headed for woodstock to check out pegasus shoes and a make few other stops.
one of which was crafts people, in hurley, ny, a collection of galleries representing american craft artists. i love the pottery gallery best, and keeping with my spree of the previous day, i fell hard for a ceramic art pot in black clay that i’d drooled over on a couple of previous visits.
i was thinking about it on the way there and looking for it when i got inside, so this time, i buckled and bought it, feeling it was right. i’m not sure it has an actual use, but i know i will gaze on it often and enjoy just looking at it. i think i’ll put it in my study.
i also found a smallish serving bowl that will be great for side dishes—this we will use a lot at the table.
i love its childish motif, rendered in sophisticated glazing—i’m fond of forms that make the most out of dripping glazes.
after this, it was time for us to head back for one last evening of spending time together. it was the perfect way to end our trip—we got a pizza and ran home to get comfortable. then we knitted for a few hours before bed.
we packed up the next morning, dropped kim at the airport, and headed home to ohio—david was happy when we pulled up that evening; he even saved us some cake.
so that’s what we were up to all week—a lot to sift through and put in order for this post. and i didn’t even get to the yarn, but that’s for tomorrow . . . see you then.