Rhinebeck 2009

Life has been very crazy this semester – I am TAing a lab for the first time, and experiments for my thesis are actually starting to work. But I have squeezed out a little bit of happy fiber time.

Rhinebeck was probably the most frequently said word in my vocabulary during October. At some point, my roommates, my lab mates, my students, my hairdresser, everyone heard about Rhinebeck. It was absolutely amazing.

Early in October, I wanted to learn to spin, and I wanted to learn before Rhinebeck. I realized due to crazy changes in my TA assignment, I could in fact learn to spin at a beginning spindling workshop on Friday morning at Rhinebeck. I took a Friday morning class on steeking last year (with the same great instructor – Donna Kay) and really enjoyed it. Last year I rushed back to direct a wedding. This year, this year I was doing it right. So I drove up on Friday morning, in some gosh-awful weather – pouring in Connecticut, sleet and snow in southern NY, but by the time I made it to the other side of Hyde Park it was clearing up nicely. I made it to the fairgrounds safe and sound, and in plenty of time.


This year’s workshops were held indoors (thank goodness – last year it was almost too cold to knit!). The beginning spindling workshop was great. I finally had the “click” moment and it all started working. I still need to get a good picture of my cute little mini-skein from class. I’ll treasure it forever, it’s gorgeous.

After class, I wandered over to the Vanderbilt estate and tromped around the grounds. When I was good and cold, I headed off to find the KOA Kampground in Saugerties, NY. We stayed in a large Kamping Kabin (the K’s drove me a bit nuts). It was a great little cabin, with a space heater (thank goodness). I was unpacking the car when some very friendly knitters from Pennsylvania invited me to join them at their campfire (actually, they introduced themselves saying, “We’ve been looking at your sweater and decided you must be a knitter” but I digress). They were so kind – sharing their campfire with me, graciously feeding me dinner – and I’m sadly terrible at names and wasn’t able to find them on Saturday or Sunday to thank them again. But we sat around the campfire, spinning by headlamp, and so there is the sort of odd kinship of fiber people between us none the less.

Late that evening, the rest of the New Haven crew finally joined me (and I was so happy to see them – I’d been up since five and the cabin was very cold despite the heater!

The next morning, we headed straight for the fairgrounds. I don’t want to sound absurd, but to say that going to Rhinebeck was a spiritual experience for me wasn’t far off. All that fiber. All those sheep. I loved it.

em @ rhinebeck

Emily bought the first purchase of the day, which she proudly named Kapac and has been carrying him around a lot. Her making the first purchase of the day was kind of unexpected and pretty funny, considering she may have purchased the least.

My first purchase was a lovely skein labeled “bunny/alpaca/sheep”. What a blend! We quickly found the Briar Rose tent, which Kara told me she loved at the Michigan Wool Festival. It was all SO amazing, just beautiful colors. It was also absolutely packed, but everyone was in good spirits to stand in line to check out. Everyone loved my yarn skein earrings, so that was fun. This was my treasure from Briar Rose


Continuing to walk around, I found the most perfect bag for me EVER at the festival gift shop


The rest of the day continued in a similarly amazing manner. I bought a gorgeous Hatchtown Farms spindle and finally got to see (and buy!) some FoxFire Fibers yarn, which was amazing because I really enjoy following that flock online at Barbara Perry’s Sheepgal blog. It was sight after sight and treasure after treasure all day long.

That evening, my friends and I went to the Ravelry party and had a great time. I won a set of Knitpicks Harmony Options needles, which had been on my “things I very much want but won’t let myself buy” list for a long time. I MUCH prefer wooden or bamboo needles. I had bought one set of Harmony tips and one length of cord and loved them, but already had a Denise set so I wouldn’t let myself get a whole set…I’m in love with these needles already.

Best weekend ever. By far. When do I get to do it again?!?


About Kristy Lamb

I recently finished my PhD in genetics at Yale and am currently a postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in NYC. I love science, people, and the fiber arts. We'll call it my muse. I taught myself to knit over Christmas break in 2002, when I was home from my sophomore year in college and was terribly bored. Despite starting with three big mistakes (very long aluminum needles, a very bad Coats & Clark how to knit book, and Lion Brand Homespun), I kept at knitting, even after that first 1/2 hour trying to tie a slipknot. Science...seems to be much the same process as the above.
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