We had beautiful, if unseasonably warm, weather for our trip west to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. Although it didn't start out as well as it finished. When we left our house around 5:15 am it was very dark, 60 degrees, and muggy. Bleh.
Hubby was understanding and let me knit by car light until the sun came up. We were deeply rewarded when in full sun we could see the blaring fall visage of the Berkshires. I forget, from lack of travelling, how fabulous the view is from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90). The mountains sported every vibrant, fall shade imaginable, moss green, yellow cab yellow, fiery red, and a panoply of every hue in between. The Taconic Expressway in New York was as beautiful, if not moreso, since the woods and rolling hills were much closer and gave us a far more intimate view than the Turnpike.
Even with one missed turn, we made it to my Aunt's house by 8:00 am. Her favorite pastime is rug hooking. She's really good. She won a ribbon in a 4H contest a few years ago. She showed me the piece she's working on and it was fabulous. She has a great sense of color, as well as a strong command of design, both of which are imperative in hooking.
We spent some time going over her expansive wool collection which aside from filling up one entire closet (jealous!) also gets housed in bins in her guest bedroom and living room. I could have spent the morning going through all of it piece by piece. I am so deeply attracted to wool (and plaid wool!) it makes me doubt my sanity. I'm definitely on one of the shallower ends of the bell curve.
We were then on our way with me already overwhelmed. I'm not sure what time we arrived at the fairgrounds but the traffic near the grounds was light and our parking spot was pretty close to the entrance. We paid our fares and headed straight up the main thoroughfare towards the back corner, Building E, which had specialty food vendors my Aunt was interested in. We purchased some artisanal cheese and then moved on to the main event: yarn viewing. We hit Building A (I think) first and the intimacy and crowding began to take their toll.
In situations like this my senses are overloaded and I respond only to swaths of color and/or large shapes. So though I don't remember much of what I saw, I do remember we quickly noticed a long line on the other side of the building. We didn't know what it was for until we got closer and saw it was a Blue Moon Fiber Arts vendor with a booth chock full of STR. Without a second look, Hubby valiantly took to the line while I braved the crowd. I wound up picking four skeins with similar hues (red wines and pale greens). I immediately felt I was wasting this opportunity by my narrow choices and returned to the overcrowded booth. I could only manage switching out one of the skeins.
They had some nifty patterns for sale that utilized alternating colorways. I mentally catalogued that for the future. Once clear of the building, and clear of the first hump of spending, we hit the rest of the stalls at a brisk pace. Hubby kept his much keener eye out for sock blockers while I was pulled left and right by an overabundance of color.
I was consistently drawn to variegated colorways but quickly found that most of the yarn I loved was a wool and mohair blend. Not something I'm interested in. I want sheep wool and only sheep wool. But as stall after stall and colorway after colorway were passed up I came upon a vivacious alpaca/merino mix that proved impossible to resist. The beautiful colors of this yarn also proved difficult to capture on film yesterday in sunlight or shade.
As we wound our way through the final set of stalls the hope for finding wooden sock blockers was acknowledged as dashed, dashed, dashed. The remaining cash in my wallet was eagerly parted with when I happened upon a variegated yarn from Manos del Uruguay. It was a perfect colorway for the season, with colors complementing the hues of fall, in direct contradiction to the balmy, late summer day feeling in the air.
Speaking of weather, the bright, sunny, and warm day did not stop everyone from donning their favorite hand knits. I saw some amazing sweaters, and even a cabled, long sleeve, knee length knitted dress on one gal. It takes a much, much stronger constitution than mine to brave such warm weather dressed in wool. One sweater I saw on the way out was an instarsia knit sweater (or cardigan, as I only saw the back) showcasing a border collie herding a small group of sheep. So pretty and so fabulous.
Within three hours my mental energy was depleted and it was time to go. I would have liked to have seen more of the agricultural side of the festival, as well as to spy on the Ravelry meet at noon to see if I could spot any members based on pics from their online profiles or blogs, but I was mentally caput.
We returned to my aunt's house for some delicious home made food and fine conversation and then, a bit later than expected, a long, happy ride home.
In reading this post over I can't help but chuckle at my clinical description. I'm an Aspy and there's nothing I can do about it. I can't wait to spend some time out in the blogosphere and see the festival through much, much different eyes.