Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carol and Susan's Wonderful Adventure

I wrote this with my friend Carol shortly after Rhinebeck last October.  That seems ages ago and certainly feels far from when I decided to start a blog (Maybe it was a seed that grew? It certainly was fun to write).   I hope you agree that we have a fine sense of humor.

Carol and Susan's Wonderful Adventure

On Sunday 10/21/07 before dawn, Carol and Susan drove for about 40 minutes from West Danby to Watkins Glen, and boarded a small bus sponsored by Finger Lakes Fibers Yarn Shop for a day trip to Rhinebeck’s New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. How delightful it was to get on the bus and see people knitting already at 6 a.m.! But a bus with no rest room…how could 24 knitters survive? Fortunately we stopped at Dunkin Donuts in Liberty, and literally took over the entire building and the single rest room.

Susan was especially looking forward to seeing and hearing the Yarn Harlot, who was speaking at 1 p.m. That meant getting on line no later than noon. Carol was more interested in seeing the entire festival, and not missing a single vendor. At 10:30 we were concerned because the bus took a turn near Ellenville and headed in the wrong direction for several miles before Mary Jeanne realized it and got us turned around towards Rhinebeck. But we’re running late. Oh, no! How could we fit in the entire festival and the Yarn Harlot, too?

We finally arrived at 11:30, and immediately headed to the rest room, which was quite an adventure in itself. A Whoopie Goldberg look-alike rest room attendant greeted us and everyone else like long lost friends. She recited bathroom rap with great joy and a big smile on her face. Needless to say, she received lots of tips.

That done, we high-tailed it to the book-signing tent, where the crowds were not as dense as we expected. There we found the authors of Mason-Dixon Knitting, Felted Jewelry, The Complete Yarn guide and others…but could not see the Yarn Harlot. We kept walking further and further into the tent, and lo and behold, there she was. There was only one person ahead of us, and no one behind us! Our lateness to the festival worked in our favor; we had a private audience with the Yarn Harlot for about ten minutes. She signed our books and checked out Susan’s fabulous sock yarn gift.
Don't you think this is her color?
Stephanie proudly wore her Kauni cardigan, showed us the beautiful buttonholes, and shared her source of buttonhole expertise, Sweaters from Camp, by Meg Swanson. So now we could go see the rest of the festival, because we had seen THE YARN HARLOT, and touched THE FAMOUS KAUNI CARDIGAN, and saw THE FABULOUS BUTTONHOLES, and no longer felt the need to get in line for her talk. Stephanie recommended a vendor in the next building, Spirit Trail, where we headed to see the Jacob roving.

In Building A we found Skaska, Goldings, Pollywogs, Spirit Trail and many other wonderful fiber vendors, but no Grafton Fibers, as they are now wholesale. We saw Grafton’s new made-in-Vermont multicolored wooden needles at Seaport Yarn, but found them to be tiny, short, and very expensive at $30 for a set of 5 inch DPNs. We were delighted to discover Fenwick Alpacas from New Jersey, not your average alpaca vendor. Fenwick’s owner designs garments and has them made in Peru to her specifications, with her own alpaca fiber, rather than importing the usual mass-produced offerings. She is a talented designer, and in fact sold 16 of her Pacific Jackets in an hour. Carol had to order one, because her size was already gone by noon. Susan bought a gorgeous Two Tone alpaca/silk sweater. Were Carol 20 years younger and 5 inches taller, she would have bought a very attractive long fitted sweater.

By then it was after 1 p.m. and we were famished. And the food…anything you could think of – pasta, sausage, tacos, Chinese, wonderful desserts, fast food, good coffee, ice cream…amazing. We ate at picnic tables under huge umbrellas, which we needed because it was at least 80 degrees and sunny. We were now fortified, rested, and ready to take on the entire festival’s vendors, all 275 of them. 
We decided to start with festival souvenirs, a Blue Faced Leceister sweatshirt for Susan and a denim shirt for Carol. All proceeds from the souvenirs went to the scholarship fund. What scholarship fund, we can’t remember, but they definitely went there!
The search for forest green yarn had begun. Susan wanted some hand-dyed worsted weight yarn for a Wallaby sweater for her grandson. Yes, we know Susan could dye it herself, but she wanted to BUY some. We must have walked miles, down one aisle, across the alley, down another aisle, around a tent, into more tents, and back into barns with tiny stalls. We saw fellow guild member, Lisa Merion, whose booth was nearly sold out. We spoke with and rested at the booth of Jackie Jones from Down in the Country. She imports Gotland roving top from England, which is the same wool used for the cloaks in Lord of the Rings.

We searched high and low, pulling skeins of yarn out into the sunlight to check for the proper shade of forest green. We searched for so long that we almost forgot to buy fiber, but there was no forest green worsted weight yarn to be found, as forest green is not “in” this year. Susan was so focused that it kept her from adding to her stash, except for the Gotland, which she couldn’t resist, especially after hearing the Lord of the Rings story. Carol now hates forest green, so she bought some beautiful silver Wensleydale cross locks.
At that point, we were ready to refuel at the apple dessert stand with some pie and apple crisp. Suddenly we had an idea. Let’s go have our photo taken with the Yarn Harlot for the guild newsletter! Problem…no camera…but we did have a cellphone. But we only had 17 minutes before the bus would leave. We visited with Whoopie Goldberg of the rest room, and then, with just 13 minutes left, headed to the book signing tent. There we found Stephanie all alone at the back of the tent, knitting on a sock. She was delighted to pose with us for a photo, and told us that she only had 5 more minutes of work before she could head out for a beer. We were like two little kids, so excited about the photo with the Yarn Harlot, and we ran back to the bus to tell everyone.

PS.  I eventually did dye the yarn for Tucker's Sweater. -- Blue Spruce angora/merino fingering/sport yarn knit with 2 strands.  Tucker loves it.  He is modeling the sweater along with last year's dark green hat. Um, and, yes I did modify it to make an open lapel collar instead of the hood.

1 comment:

loribird said...

Stop! You're making me even more sorry I had to miss Rhinebeck! No, really, it sounds like you ladies had a wonderful time, and the picture with the Harlot is great!
I've given you one of my "You Make My Day" awards (awww!) over on my blog if you want to pick it up :)