Good morning and happy Saturday! Did you go to Rhinebeck last weekend? Did you go both days or just one? We had friends come down from Maine for the weekend, and we drove down both days. Saturday was absolutely insane, and I swear it gets more insane every year. There is no point trying to even get into some of the barns, let alone some of the vendors’ booths.
I forced my way through the crowds for a bit in the morning to get to the Holiday Yarns booth and see what delights Dan at Gnomespun had brought with him. He posted some pictures on Facebook of the dyeing he had done, and I really wanted to get a closer look. Dan always has amazing colorways and on a great variety of fibers from soft to no-so-soft. When I saw “Hobbes” it didn’t matter to me what the fiber was. I enjoy them all, and especially fibers that a lot of spinners would snub. “Hobbes” was on Targhee which I have spun many times before and I always enjoy how it blooms after the yarn is soaked and set.
I started spinning “Hobbes” before the end of the weekend. The Cardarelle seemed the perfect choice, too. It was newly refinished and begging for an inaugural project. No, it does not have the high ratios that my Polonaise has, which would be much more efficient for how I am spinning this Targhee fiber. However, the Cardarelle is so comfortable and enjoyable to spin on that its lower ratios really are not an issue.
At noon on Saturday I hosted a little meetup for guys who have attended or are interested in the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. We have been having these Saturday gatherings at Rhinebeck for the last few years, and this year there was a lot of excitement and interest in the Northeast Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat which will take place in September next year. Most of the guys who come to the meetup are retreat veterans and they are happy to share their experiences with any newcomers who are curious about the retreats.
After lunch at the car, which seems to be a popular thing based on the number of people retreating to their vehicles to enjoy their packed lunch, we spent some time trying to roam around some of the barns to scope things out as best as we could. Sunday was the day we all planned to do the bulk of our shopping anyway, so it was good to be able to make somewhat of a plan first.
When we returned on Sunday, my first stop was the Clemes and Clemes booth. Last year they were guests in the Carolina Homespun booth with only a small selection of their products. This year they had their full booth setup full of various tools, spinning wheels, and accessories, including the double flyer Traditional wheel that I have seen and admired (and yes, drooled over) in the pictures they have shared on Facebook from other fiber festivals they have been to. It really is a stunning piece of work, but sadly, far far out of my price range. What I was also excited about checking out, and what did ultimately come home with me from the Clemes and Clemes booth, is a JMac Lazy Kate in walnut. These Lazy Kates are beautifully simple in design and very compact and portable. I am a big fan of angled shafts on a Lazy Kate as they provide just the right amount of tension for most of the plying that I do. I will have a little more to say about this next week.
Rhinebeck for me is less about buying yarn and fiber, though I do always manage to get some, and more about books, tools, and accessories that may help and inspire me to use the yarn and fiber that I already have. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to see the full Clemes and Clemes booth this year. I was also excited that Scott Snyder of Snyder Spindles was at Rhinebeck this year, with a table of his beautifully made spindles for sale. I knew he would have a great selection of Turkish spindles, and I was looking forward to adding one to my collection. Of all the spindles I own (close to 40!) I had no Turkish spindle, and we fixed that on Sunday. It was hard to choose as they were all so beautiful and expertly made, and I ultimately decided on this mid-size Turkish spindle with beautiful canary wood arms.
Also on my list, and something I get every year, is socks from Ideuma Creek Alpacas in Unadilla, NY. This year I also treated myself to a wool/alpaca blanket. As it turns out, it is the dogs’ favorite blanket. When I bring it out to cuddle up on the couch and watch TV, they will come out from under whatever blanket they’re cuddled up in to compete for space next to me under the wool/alpaca blanket. This winter Michael and I will both have one to curl up on the couch with, and there should be less competition between the dogs for a cozy space under the blanket with us.
I cannot go to a fiber festival without buying soap. My skin much prefers handmade soaps over the big name, mass produced, commercial soaps you find in the store. Weston Hill Farm is one of my favorites for soap. They have great fragrances and their soap it always produces a good lather, which is something I have found a bit lacking in other handmade soaps I have tried. It does not deter me from using them up after I have tried them, but I may affect whether or not I buy that particular soap again. The Geranium Rose and Mint went into the shower with me as soon as I got back home on Sunday.
My last purchase of the day, and a rather spontaneous one at that, is a Russian style spindle from Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools. This is one booth that I can never pass up visiting as they have a great variety of handmade wooden tools and accessories. I wasn’t necessarily looking to add another Russian spindle to my collection, but when I tried this one made from padauk wood between my fingers, I immediately fell in love. I tried the other spindles of the same style and different types of wood, but I think because the padauk might be a little harder and heavier it made that spindle spin amazingly well.
Some of the other loot that came home with me was a birthday present from my dear friends, one of whom I share my birthday with. This included a handmade ski shuttle which I will put to good use, beautiful Cheviot fiber, and a Scottish drop spindle (also called a Dealgan) which is another style not represented in my collection prior to last weekend.
Rhinebeck has definitely become more of a social event for me over the years that I have been going, and I really do like that aspect of it. I did not go overboard with my shopping this year. I never do. My limit is usually whatever cash I bring with me, but some of it this year did involve a credit card. Not so much that I maxed out the card, but I certainly could have.
That’s all for this morning. I have long list of outside chores to take care of today, as it seems like this will be the only dry day this weekend. Next weekend is the Fiber Festival of New England at the Big E Fairgrounds in Springfield, MA. I will be going on Sunday and spending the day with Susan and Jim of Susan’s Spinning Bunny. If you see a guy wandering around spinning on a drop spindle, that’s probably me, so please come up and say hi.
Have a great weekend!