As everyone I know (where know is loosely defined as am friends with, go to church with, work within a quarter mile of, pass in the hallway, etc) already knows, the third weekend in October is my favorite weekend of the year.
It’s better than my birthday, or Christmas, or the two combined (though they’re close to combined anyways).
It’s the weekend of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth the third weekend in October.
As I am wont to do, I took a workshop on Rhinebeck Eve, also known as Friday. I took Finishing Finesse with Judy Pascale, a Connecticut knitter who is just a brilliant, energetic instructor. It was a long, intense day of knitting theory, and while it was exhausting, it was amazing. I’d take another one of her classes in a heartbeat.
That evening, Kara and Amy and I headed to the KOA Kamping Kabin and attempted to grill in the wind and rain of a Nor’easter. I have one recommendation for you: don’t.
However, once we were able to warm food up via this method, we had the most delicious sausage dogs known to the history of all mankind. Nothing makes food taste better than having to fight mother nature for it. Our traveling companions made it up from New Haven despite the wind and rain.
We were up and at’em early the next day. The festival was, as always, not terribly busy right at the open but awfully busy by 11am. I love wandering through the sheep breeds barn with the displays and talking to people. I have an affinity for curly haired sheep (who’d a thunk?). A nice lady at the Icelandic display started Emily down the exciting road of spinning.
Which she took to quite readily.
Here she is less than 24 hours after that first spindle purchase, after a Saturday night spinning lesson in the Stop & Shop parking lot in Rhinebeck.
In the course of helping Emily pick out a first spindle (a Hatchtown Farm spindle, like my first spindle!), we wound up in the Golding booth. My first spindle is about 1.5 oz. To go up to 2 oz, or down to 1 oz? Hard question. And then I made “the mistake”. I actually spun with the Golding. Those things go on spinning forever. Like buttah. And somehow, I left with not one but two Goldings, the one above and the one below. Swoon.
Other highlights from day one included some great conversations with various vendors – the Rhodie Hill Llama people are so kind! – discovering Lamb ravioli (has my name written all over it, no?), and sampling some wines.
Lara found some maple cotton candy that looks suspiciously like roving. Also, she makes my fingerless mitts look damn good.
We decided to head out earlyish, and visited the Historic Village Diner in Red Hook. I love breakfast, I love omlettes and pancakes and French toast, and I really love diners. This was a great one. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places due to its train car awesomeness.
That evening, we went to the Ravelry party in Red Hook. It was fabulous. It’s so much fun to see the knitwear on parade. This year, we even wound up doing some headlamp knitting. I try not to think of it as “cold” out so much as optimal weather for knitting.
I have more to say about Rhinebeck, but I really feel like a day in which you go to a lleaping llama competition deserves it’s own time. More on that later.