Thursday, October 23, 2008

Carol and Susan's Wonderful Adventure --Rhinebeck 2008

Our day began at Wegmans before dawn, even before the bagels were ready. Actually our day almost began in Watkins Glen, 40 minutes west of us, but thanks to the Ithacans Ravelry group, we were the majority so the bus was making one of its stops in Ithaca. As bleary eyed women lined up for coffee, we immediately recognized them as other knitters, and one from her Ravelry photo. We all gathered in the café with our coffees and food, keeping an eye out for the bus. Most of us that is. 

Susan went into the rest room for one last stop before getting on the bus, and set her full cup of coffee on the toilet paper dispenser, just as the Yarn Harlot did a few days earlier. And like the Yarn Harlot, Susan left her coffee in the bathroom…but also on her clothes, on her undies, on her shoes, on her jacket….never getting to drink a drop. Fortunately she had a dog towel and dry jacket in the car, so she made it to the bus on time, a bit wet, but ready to knit.

As the day dawned and all through the morning, until we arrived at Rhinebeck, all of us spent our time busily knitting and chatting. From where we sat we could see more or less the entire bus of women repeating similar hand motions. That’s almost enough to mesmerize a person. We kept knitting despite the bumps, jerks, and roller coaster motion that, we decided, must be normal at the rear of a bus. However, we don’t recommend knitting at under 55 mph, unless you like nausea nor snapping photos at 55 mph. 
Growing up Susan always surmised that the Hudson River marked the NYS border (another little NYC centrist assumption). Of course it doesn’t but it does cut a large spectacular swath through beautiful hilly countryside. Flashes of green and clear blue sky set off one of the last days of majestic gold, red, and orange leaf display.

Moving along at a steady pace for over 4 hours once we got within maybe 4 miles of Rhinebeck, our bus became one with a sea of slow moving vehicles. We decided to blame it on Ravelry. With close to 200,000 members, more and more knitters, spinners and crocheters are able to spread the word and converge during a two day festival of wool fume overload. Finally though, we made it to the billboard.

A few minutes later, at about 11:30, the bus dropped us at the Main Gate. With instructions to be back by 4 pm. 

Susan and Carol had an agenda. We headed right for the Harlot. NO bathroom. NO food. NO bunnies. Just the Harlot. Most of us Ithacans picked up her new book of essays and had them signed. Susan told the Yarn Harlot the morning’s coffee story whereupon Stephanie sympathized appropriately saying, “The worst part is you had NO COFFEE.”


l->r: Michelle, Susan, Kay, Carol, YH, Kate, and Brenda of wash cloth fame.

That “must do” out of the way, finally we could go relieve our bladders and listen to the rap poetry of The Whoopee Goldberg of the Restroom (minus the braids this year).

“If you don’t see feet, take a seat.” “The lady in green flushed it down clean.”
She is amazing. We felt privileged to use her spotless rest room, where she provided free hairspray, hand lotion, aspirin, Tylenol, and other amenities, along with her good humor and upbeat disposition. We think she earns more tips in a day than most people earn in a week. She is a shining example of how you can take any work and make it into something enjoyable and positive.

Continuing with our agenda, we went shopping! Building A is always our first stop. Usually we have something on our list that we search for fruitlessly all day, like last year’s nonexistent hunter green yarn. This year it was CVM fiber. 

Susan went off to deliver a prize to a customer, while I started the search for CVM, which I immediately located. Amazing!   SCORE!!!

You don’t know what CVM is? It’s California Variegated Mutant. Still don't know?  It seems that a sheep farmer who was improving the Romeldale breed kept culling out what he considered mutants. However, culling to him meant killing, so somebody slipped some live ones out and began to breed them, hence CVM.  At Mountain Spirit Susan, the micron snob, chose a lovely golden shade of dyed CVM and some undyed CVM/alpaca. Carol found some very nice alpaca/merino/silk/mohair in shades of olive green. The men in our lives will be pleasantly surprised with their presents.

Then we proceeded to go round and round Building A looking for Fenwick Alpacas, sellers of the nicest alpaca sweaters and jackets that we’ve ever worn. After we had gone around the building at least twice, we finally looked up their booth number and went circling one more time looking for and asking other vendors about them, only to finally find they had to cancel at the last minute. Major darn! Susan was really looking forward to a new jacket.

Next on our agenda was the herding demo, where some very intense Border Collies showed off their work. Susan thought the dogs were upset and fearful because they were hunkered down and their tails were low, but we were told it really meant that they were working intently. By just using a whistle the handlers were able to direct the dog’s actions, and soon the sheep were around the field and into the pen.


We enjoyed showing a newbie, Ellen, around the fairgrounds, as she exclaimed in awe about the yarn that was everywhere. Despite having 4.5 hours, we barely had a chance to see half of the vendors. We never did catch up with guild member Lisa Merian. But we did get to see the sheep this year, since we weren’t looking for green yarn.
This is a sweet beautiful Longwool Leicester.

Susan got stopped by angora everywhere we went (while Carol kept saying, “Come on. Hurry up. We’re missing something.”).

A beautiful pair of dapple gray Percherons provided wagon tours of the fairgrounds, but we didn’t have time for a ride, just a portrait shot.

And the food….Cajun, burgers, Italian, Mexican, macaroni and cheese, apple dumplings and pie a la mode, decadent desserts, wonderful coffee. Not your typical fairgrounds food. Right next to the food court, a group of Andean musicians played hauntingly beautiful and calming music, using modern and traditional instruments.


3:45 came all too soon. Just one last trip to the restroom to say goodbye to The Whoopie Goldberg of the Rest Room, with hugs and “see you next years.” 

With only 2 minutes to spare we dragged our tired bodies and loot to the main gate to wait for the bus. And wait…since 2 of our group were MIA. Just before we sent out a search party, Kate appeared. She had gotten lost. The bus was more than ready to leave, yet still one was missing. While we waited, we amused ourselves with a delightful Show and Tell. It turns out our missing person just couldn’t tear herself away from a barn. With fiber and yarn filling much of the available space, we joined the long line of departing vehicles, knitting our way home.


3 comments:

fleegle said...

Oh, that sounds like the most wonderful day in history! I wish wish wish I lived nearer and could have gone.

Thanks for the compliments on my hat :)

FUZZARELLY said...

New York looks beautimous this time of year!

Sounds like the only thing wrong with your visit was that it wasn't long enough!

Heather said...

Hmmm maybe I should make a goal of going next year... I mean, I could easily justify driving 20 hours for a great fiber fest.