Monday, October 20, 2008

The Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival ...

was amazing. This was my first visit to the festival having learned about it only last year. My love of fibers was indulged extravagantly. I touched, fondled, carressed, smelled [this was not always a pleasant experience] all manner of wool and wool blends. There were alpaca, llama, muskox, angora, and mohair yarns. There was wool from more breeds of sheep than I knew existed. Some of the yarn was fleece-spun [washed but uncarded] which results in a very nubby and irregular fiber. Some was carded ever so carefully and spun and plied up into yarns ranging from superfine to as thick as a child's finger. Some batts were blended with silk when spun to produce [get this] a less expensive yarn: the 100% pure muskoxen down fiber costs $90 a 3 oz ball but the 50%muskoxen/50% silk was a mere $70 for a 3oz. ball. I was weak, I bought two balls of the blend ... so very very soft, so very very irresistible and such a perfect silvery sage green. Some batts were dyed before carding and spinning, other batts remained au naturel. There were spinners, knitters, weavers, crocheters everywhere. There were all manner of handmade clothing for sale: scarves, shawls, mittens, gloves, handwarmers, wristlets, legwarmers, skirts, vests, sweaters, jackets, blankets, wraps. There were felted woolen sculptures including some very bizarre but oddly appealing sculptures of topless, heavy-weight, decidedly mature women ... no I didn't buy any of these. My mirror is a painful enough reminder of what has become of my once sylph-like figure, thank you very much. There were felted hats and handbags, there were fiber art necklaces. I bought my grandson a sweater made from alpaca yarn and I bought my daughter a gorgeous felted handbag of bright blue with an embroidered mermaid embellishment ... and, no I didnt bring the camera, more fool I ... I'll have to have Ange e-mail me a picture of the bag so I can post it. I also bought myself two large [300 yard] skeins of hand-painted llama yarn in a blue-green-gold color way and three zip-loc bags of mini-batts in a variety of colors for felting.

And I drank fresh-pressed cider [after all, this took place in one of the biggest apple growing regions in NY] as I walked and walked and walked through all the indoor and outdoor exhibits and stalls. My daughter recounted overhearing a surreal one-sided conversation [quite innocently] as a woman spoke urgently into her cell phone: "What's the problem? Stay calm, don't shout ... the llama's gone into labor? ... stay calm, call Deb, she'll get you through this ... call Deb..." voice fading as the woman moves off into the distance.
All in all, a remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable day.


Erica said...

Talk about coincidences! We were up in Rhinebeck yesterday too. We stumbled upon the festival but the traffic was so bad at that point, that my husband wanted no part of it! Sigh! I would have loved to have gone. I love any kind of yarn, fiber, etc! I did speak with one of the shop owners in town who said she was rather disappointed in it because it had been commercialized for families, kiddies etc. Apparently in years past it was a very serious type event. Well I can't say because I never got near it!
Oh well at least we got a really good apple pie to bring home!

Erynne said...

Sounds like time well spent Riona!
Wow, the price for the yarn you mentioned is absolutely obscene, lol! I have to ask why...why do they charge so much for the muskoxen? Oh and what do you have in mind for the blend that you bought? I would love to see what it looks like (hint hint).
Your package is long gone by the way and I hope you like it!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!