what a week! i’ve been across the country and back(with practically no internet access anywhere to keep in touch with you) and gotten up for the day at 3:30 am three times in the last six days. from frosty new england to the frosty southwest desert, i’ve done so much talking and met so many incredible knitters that i can hardly figure out where to start. maybe just at the beginning, ok? we’ll see how far i get today and i might extend the travel journal into tomorrow, with a break later on to put out the spiraluscious pattern tonight.
first, there was rhinebeck, which was amazing. the wool show is one thing—it gets bigger all the time and has so very much to see. but the trip itself is what makes it a real event for me—six days and five nights of vacation with good friends, good food, good environment and good fiber; what could be better??
in fact, there is a real scarcity of yarn/fiber pictures among my 500 or so rhinebeck photos. ooops.
i really was playing hooky, you guys . . .
we started out very early thursday morning from ohio with the goal of getting to newburgh, NY in time to pick up our housemate david from the airport at 3pm
along the way we appreciated some groovy art at bathroom stops in pennsylvania
and awesome driving scenery along the taconic parkway in new york’s hudson valley
that is, we did once i figured out how to use my iPhone camera. poor david; i thought he was going to bust a gut trying not to laugh as i attempted to take photos with the camera held backwards.
i accidentally got this picture of him while i was trying to figure out how to use the viewfinder from the wrong side of the instrument. that might be what he means when he says i’m a nerd—i’m not quite sure—i’m a nerd in so very many ways. cough, ahem, oh yes—and then there was the thick folder of printed driving directions and maps i plopped in his lap once he got into the car; that may have been at fault, too. (shrug) hey, i needed a navigator and thought i’d help it along, you know?
we found the cottage with no trouble and were delighted when we drove in to find it was situated right in the barnyard of a beautiful thoroughbred farm, complete with a wide variety of small livestock and pets making up the welcoming party. there were ducks
and a fine goat standing atop the stone wall.
but the star of the show (and my fave) had to be butchie
who immediately let all of us know what game he liked best, and that if we wanted to enjoy our stay, all we had to do is play along—endlessly.
we think he liked david best, even though kim was angling every which way for the honor.
after we grabbed some food we settled in for the evening to knit. david worked on the start of a frost flowers stole and kim worked on her stonewall, which she is knitting up in some beautiful soldier-blue alpaca/silk she bought in ecuador last summer. but did i take a picture?? nooo—apparently being a naturally diligent blogger is not yet entirely ingrained in me.
i did some spinning on my joy wheel
this is the yarn i spun and plied in the evening from the woolen rabbit’s new line of splish-splash. rovings; it’s either dear prudence or fool on the hill colorway (i’m betting on the latter). it is really soft and drafts quite nicely; i spun and plied the whole braid i had in just a few hours.
kim and i got up very early the next day to go walking along the narrow roads of the surrounding the area—we needed to work up an appetite for the big day ahead.
the air was very crisp and the terrain beautiful—the trees were on fire with color and there was mist rising from the fields. we saw a lot of deer and discovered an old family cemetery
with graves dating back to 1810 (and maybe beyond; some of the oldest gravestones were very difficult to read as the letters had mostly worn away).
it was a pretty large burial ground and no wonder—this is the view looking outward from amongst the graves
who wouldn’t want to end up there some day??
i mean, if necessary, of course . . .
for friday we had a very special day planned; we had reservations for lunch in the escoffier room at the CIA. this has become an annual tradition that we all very much look forward to. we arrived early enough to take a little walk around the place
in the pastry kitchen they were just putting the final touches on some sort of pumpkin confections. it was a good thing there was a window between me and this full tray of café pastries
i wouldn’t want to have to wrestle that young chef for them.
in the dining room we were seated at my favorite table—it has a full view of the kitchen and we could watch the cycle of the lunch service.
this was the first day of the new student rotation, and though we couldn’t hear any of it, the chef-instructor seemed to spend a lot of time laying down the law throughout
nevertheless, the table service was consistently calm and enjoyable—we had the good fortune to once again be the guests of our friend frank (left, below), who was our waiter last year. this year he was doing a turn as maitre d’hotel
on the right there is jeff, who was our waiter for the afternoon.
kim was on something of a mission—she traveled to rhinebeck with the express stipulation that we would eat the winter squash soup at CIA again this year. now that’s a tall order, as the restaurant menu is constantly changing.
but as you can see
once in a while, the universe bends to one’s will.
actually the soup was a little differently flavored this year but kim deemed it “yummy”, and worth the trip. david and i had a sublime mushroom velout.
we moved on to appetizers and entrées, but i got so busy eating that i forgot to take pictures of those. however, i do remember now and again what’s really important
this was extraordinary. it’s a frozen lemon souffle with a layer of something crunchy accompanied by a blueberry sauce. jeff actually made it himself on the previous day when he was still in the pastry rotation
in this photo kim is deciding whether to go home to her family on tuesday or run away with jeff and eat just this for the rest of her life. she decided that she should go home but ordered a second dessert to console herself . . .
comforted by the fact that anything eaten at the CIA on the third friday in october has absolutely no calories. this one of course was the chocolate “brownie” which turned out to be a mere random label for a pile of muddy-dark chocolate of the type you might find in heaven.
i love to watch the kitchen wind down after the intensity at the height of the main service. first, another, more important (i think), chef comes in to see how everything went
while the the wait staff relaxes a bit and begins to visit the tables to see how we enjoyed everything (as if they need to!)
the kitchen is quickly and efficiently returned to its immaculate pre-service state and slowly begins to empty of students
until we are left with just a clean, organized space awaiting the dinner frenzy.
we rolled ourselves out of our chairs; kim headed to the blookstore and i went outdoors for some air. when she came out after what seemed like hours, she had a surprise for us. as she was chatting up john fisher, the professor of table service and our maitre d’, and asking him to sign the cook book that she bought (he wrote it) she found out that john is a spinner
well, of course she had to run outside and drag us back in to talk to him about it. turns out that john has been spinning yarn for four years for his lovely wife natalie and adorable sister mary to knit into sweaters for him. we ended up having a good gab session right there and making plans to meet up over the weekend.
now i know that in this picture john doesn’t exactly look entirely thrilled to be hanging with us, but maybe this next photo from the ravelry party the next night will convince you that this is not just stalker-talk—we really did make friends with him (i got his card, too).
(ps: he spun the yarn used in that sweater he’s wearing)
next year, john, we’ll make plans to have dinner with you guys, ok??
that night we met up with the ravelry group at rosarita’s in kingston for margaritas . . . we ended up at a great table with kate, irene, and julia, from twist.
it was the perfect table for us—we had a blast talking to them and downing some “fortifications”. it was a challenge to get good photos in the available light, what with all the action . . these people just never stop moving
but they are fun and that’s what counts, right?
after that we got ourselves home to get a good night’s sleep for the big day saturday—we were in town to go to a wool show after all.
along with just about everyone else east of the mississippi river.
boy-howdie, was it ever packed that day—truly i’ve never seen anything like it at rhinebeck. you could not move inside the buildings at some points in the day, which i found kind of exciting (of course, i wasn’t looking to buy anything particular, so my patience was pretty high for that).
fortunately, there was plenty else to do. we watched the dog trials for a while, enjoyed the cool autumn air, and took our time seeing the fiber booths. it really was not a good environment for taking photos, though (sorry!). we also saw many friends, admired countless stunning creations, and were awed by new ideas and products everywhere.
this is kate-the-enabler with her gale stole (and her awesome rogue hoody). she was with a friend who had a cluaranach that matched mine, but i can’t seem to find a photo of us together (darn it!)
[well, tara was much more on the ball than me, so now we have a photo, yay]
at the end of the day we headed first for coffee, then to the ravelry party and got on line
which actually was kinda fun. it was pretty cold out there but we warmed up by chatting with our line neighbors who found clever ways to pass the time
once inside we grabbed a drink and mingled. there were bob cupcakes
for miles. and wall-to-wall people too. we actually couldn’t stay long because we wanted to go over to the small briar rose party that chris was throwing at her hotel
this is one very happy woman—i don’t think there was a single skein of yarn left in her booth by mid-afternoon on sunday. the place was so mobbed all day saturday that we just ducked and ran in. kim scored some excellent choices in several different fibers.
chris’s whole family was along this weekend to help out and cheer her on—they are just a happy, generous pack, they are and i always enjoy spending time with them. chris is such a special friend, too; it was SO so nice to have a good talk together.
and look who else was hanging with us on saturday night
while we chatted i worked on my mitts
i decided to cast on a pair in a natural colorway of my own handspun as well as the beautiful berry blend from new hue handspuns just to show how this mitt would look in a colorway that a lot of guys might like.
the next day was a little more of the same, but we also explored the building with the fiber exhibition for a good long while
this is the wall with the knitted lace entries
this piece won every award, i think, and deservedly—it is an incredible piece of work. there were woven rugs i lusted after and some i did not
though i did appreciate each of them greatly—how could you not??
we also looked in on the sheep-to-shawl competition—there were five teams i think in all and they were hard at work already by 10 am when we walked through.
this is our favorite team simply because they have the youngest member operating the loom.
overall i didn’t shop very much—i spent most of my money on a few things for the house. i got a nice handwoven rug, a deep, thick, coopworth sheepskin for david from hatchtown fibers, and a norm hall niddy-noddy (a great suggestion by amy).
i picked up just a couple of small bumps of coopworth fiber from hatchtown, one from stefania, and a couple of naturally dyed bumps of soft maine wool from bill huntington’s hope spinnery, a new vendor at the show i think (i could be wrong about that, though). i think i brought home less than a pound of fiber and i bought no yarn—can you believe it?
actually, i very much wanted to buy yarn from bill to knit a hat (it’s really soft; don’t let the maine wool label fool you . . . ) but i just could not decide on a color, so i opted for six ounces of spinning fiber for now. it was completely the right choice
about four ounces of it is a deep apricot with some gentle streaks of brown and gold; the other 2 ounces has yellow, pink, apricot, and some green. i’m spinning for a 3-ply yarn and hoping it will turn out to be about worsted weight. here’s a better photo of the actual colors
the fiber drafts like a dream—i got almost all the way through what i had before we left for home on tuesday. i’ll ply it wednesday night in spinning class (we are doing a make-up for the sunday classes we missed).
i’m thinking i might need some more of this stuff—and maybe now, in the quiet of my own home, i’ll be able to choose a yarn color as well.
on monday we went off to woodstock for the day for shoe shopping at pegasus shoes and browsing in thrift shops (which were sadly not very well stocked on this visit). we also had an excellent lunch at joshua’s.
on the way back we stopped here
for a much-anticipated visit—i was here a couple of years back and was looking forward very much to showing kim the place. crafts people is a quiet enclave deep in the woods of the catskills.
each of the four unassuming buildings is home to a gallery for a specific craft discipline—these galleries are fabulous inside.
i spent most of this visit in the pottery building
drooling over one astounding piece after another. i settled on some mugs (much needed at home) and a few small bowls. i have so enjoyed eating my lunch each day from the bowl i bought last time, that i thought a couple more would be a nice addition to our dish cupboard (but just a couple—we are severely limited for space that way).
kim found an aMAZing adam and eve ring that i forgot to take a picture of (maybe she’ll send us one . . . ); i’m hoping she puts my name on this piece in her will . . .
it was getting dark by then and we knew that we needed to head back to get ready to leave for home in the morning (pout). the weekend was suddenly over, but we had plenty to take back with us.
kim and i drove together and she spent one more day visiting us in canton
she sat in the office with me while i went through email and got the pictures ready for this post. but once i was done i just couldn’t make her wait while i continued working at the computer—it was a gorgeous day and my friend was here for just 24 more hours—i knew we should spend it together doing something fun.
so out we went to explore the neighborhood and stockpile some chocolate sustenance for her to take home.
we had a little knitting-and-potluck get-together that evening with beckie and karen who came to rhinebeck with us last year (but sadly, couldn’t make it this time).
the next morning we were off again—up early and to the airport so she could go home to san diego and i could go on to teach my workshops in new mexico.
sigh—i really wanted that visit to last longer, but we’ll just have to do it again, right kim?
ok, now, i have run on long enough for today i think—if you stuck with me this far i am bowing at your virtual feet.
i have tons of photos from my second trip to share and lots of excitement about that experience. tune in for another installment tomorrow (probably in the evening—i really do have lots of photos to go through!).