Monday, October 19, 2009

No Yarn for Me!

photo by Sara MacKenzie

Ah, Rhinebeck!! Annual pilgrimage to fiber Mecca. What a fun weekend!

The weather did not deter us one bit. In fact, it was far better than the dire predictions we heard the days leading up to the Great Friday Escape. I don't know if it was these same predictions that made the crowds feel just a bit thinner on Saturday, but on Sunday the light drizzle did keep shoppers at home.

My high point came at dinner on Friday night. A dinner dominated by hearty laughter, hilarious story telling, and good food. It's soul food, and it's been seriously lacking in my life this past year.

Earlier in the week I came to a major decision, one that will shape my actions in the next few months. That decision lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. New optimism and eagerness, gathering with friends who share a common passion. Oh yea. I've seriously missed laughter. What a year.


After a hearty breakfast on Saturday we were off to conquer the fleece!! Oh the fleece!! This year's highlight sheep breed, Leicester Longwool has a beautiful long curly fleece and I fell in love. The sheep are handsome, aren't they? They have an interesting history in America - these are the sheep George Washington and Thomas Jefferson imported from England. They are the sheep you see if you visit Colonial Williamsburg, and are considered a rare breed in America and England today.

I found the most adorable little fleece from a ewe lamb named Sarah, and decided this would be my first foray into processing fleece to yarn to shawl!! I am so psyched - tomorrow is Saturday and I'm ready to scour! It's lovely and I can't wait to show you the process.

We were lucky to get a quick demonstration on how to use combs to separate the long fibers from the short and now I am on a quest to find the perfect combs. This little fleece has a lovely luster and will work really well combed out.

I met a bunch of people (and forgot to photograph them, of course). I met sheep and goats (and did remember to photograph them!). I learned how to spin Cashmere which comes from stinky devilish goats like Duke, this handsome guy. He's gorgeous. Mmm, black cashmere.

Duke the Cashmere Goat

We ran into friends from last year and well, I might have been wearing a few handspun and handknited items on Saturday and got Busted! (scroll down, but don't forget to read the blog entry - it's super entertaining) by Ann and Kay. Ahem. It was cold, girlfriends! And of course, the Ravelry party. There's nothing better than the gourmet combination of beer and cupcakes when gathering with a bunch of yarn crazed knitters.

Bob Cupcake and Beer

The exhaustion got to us and we departed early but not before meeting some lovely knitters from Montreal and learning about the yarn stores in their hometown.

photos by Sara MacKenzie

Sunday morning four of us arrived to the Fairgrounds bright and early for a spinning workshop - we got to play with Cashmere, Camel, Yak and all manner of fine, downy fibers. It was challenging, and you can see I am perplexed by the long draw.

photo by Sara MacKenzie

Of course, we shopped. Some of us more than others. I'm looking at you, Sara! But seeing this haul it's hard to believe I bought not one skein of yarn! Fibers yes. Fleece, yes. Just no finished yarn!

bursting at the seams

I'll show you the stash as I spin it up. There's lots of fibery goodness in there.

Thanks to my good peeps for such a fun time. I can't wait to do it all over again next year.


barefootrooster said...

hooray for sheep, fleece, and most of all, great people. looks like you had a blast -- cannot wait to hear more about your adventures in fleece processing!

shansays said...

Good times:) I am glad to join you this year, in diving into the land of fleece.

Oiyi said...

No yarn? What?! I am impressed.

I would love to try my hand at a fleece, but was too intimidated and don't know how to buy one at Rhinebeck. I went up on Saturday with the Park Slope Knitter's bus and bought my fill of yarn and fiber.

Sara said...

I had so much fun as well! We're so glad you decided to come along.

Katie M. said...

I know what you mean, it's hard when laughter goes MIA. Glad you found it again! Can't wait to see your adventures in fleece.