Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rhinebeck Recovery

Where to start? We packed so much into 4 short days that I couldn't possibly share it all. My road trip companions (Geri and Dianne) and I hit the highway early Thursday morning and spent the better part of the day traveling down to Kingston, NY, where we stayed at the Quality Inn.

The Beekman Arms
After settling in, we made a quick trip to Joann Fabrics for some creative inspiration - an appetizer to Rhinebeck, if you will. Then we crossed the Rhinecliff Bridge (toll $1.50) and drove into Rhinebeck proper for an amazing dinner at the Beekman Arms,  "America's Oldest Inn", established in 1766. It was dark when we arrived, so I don't have any clear pictures of the Inn itself. But outside the door are some plaques commemorating its long history.

Good food and good wine

Inside, we enjoyed the most delectable meal accompanied by a robust glass of cabernet sauvignon.

Friday, we three all had classes at the fairgrounds. I took  a class with Lily Chin, of Vogue Knitting fame, on customizing patterns to fit. It was essentially a class on designing your own pattern, as she explained each step of the process for creating a custom sweater that matched your exact proportions and is shaped to flatter. I learned so much! If ever you have a chance to take a class with Lily, do it!

PS - most of the techniques we learned are covered in Lily's book Couture Crochet Workshop, Mastering Fit, Fashion and Finesse. Lily stated that even though the book is about crochet, the same techniques apply to knitting. I'll have to check it out at the local library!

Me (wearing my Low Tide cardigan), Dianne, and Geri.
Saturday was the big day - the NY Sheep and Wool Festival! As veteran fair goers, we knew to arrive early (8:00am) to avoid the traffic and long lines to cross the bridge, turn at the lights and enter the fairground parking lot. As we waited in line, we chatted with the ladies in front of us who were from Ohio and PA, sharing knitting stories and spotting patterns in the crowd of people around us.

By shortly before 9 the lineup to enter the fairgrounds was immense. But the gates finally opened and we began our Rhinebeck experience.

I can't even begin to describe the sights and sounds of the NY Sheep and Wool Festival. There are at least 20 buildings full of vendors selling everything imaginable that is fiber related.

My first stop was the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth, where I snapped up 3 braids of Polwarth and silk in a lovely blue, and a scrumptious merino braid - also blue. We made our way through the crowds, stopping at booths to examine their wares. Some yarn bowls joined my purchases, nestling in among my braids of fiber to keep the pottery safe. Next stop was the Woolee Winder booth where I became the proud new owner of a Woolee Winder for my Lendrum spinning wheel. They truly do make spinning so much faster. After some more browsing I completed my wish list of purchases by buying some weaving bobbins to wind my spinning singles onto for plying.

By then it was time for some light refreshment, in the form of a soft pretzel and lemonade. Dianne and I met up with Geri shortly around 11:30 and declared that we were done. Our feet were sore and we'd crossed everything off our wish lists. I had accomplished my mission, purchasing exactly what I'd planned on and handing out a decent number of contact cards with info about my Low Tide Cardigan. I love their designs so much, I wanted everyone to know how great Tin Can Knits designs are.

We decided to spend the afternoon in Rhinebeck itself, examining the shops there, while Geri finished her rounds at the fair. Dianne and I sampled some fantastic olive oils and basalmic vinegars, purchasing a few bottles to take home. Then we wandered around, stopping in at art galleries, ice cream shops and other sundry shops.

Saturday afternoon saw us all back at the hotel, replete and exhausted. We napped, we knit, and we enjoyed another fine meal. Sunday morning it was back on the road, heading home.

All in all, it was another successful Rhinebeck trip. I love hanging out with fibery people and spending time with my two knitting friends. I couldn't wish for better traveling companions.

And really, what more could one ask for in a long weekend than good food, good company, many laughs and a ton of shopping?

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