Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fiber wise... The NY Sheep and Wool festival

I'm still riding high from my trip to the NY Sheep and Wool festival yesterday. It hit the spot--big time. It put me in touch with so many things I love and enjoy: The beautiful autumn country side--colorful leaves and earthy smells. The serenity of sheep and alpacas, and the excitement of so much fiber, roving and yarn! Craftsmen and women. Not to mention wheels, spindles, cards and drums! Food, lovely company, and exquisite handiwork.

There are several ways to get to the festival from NYC without a car. For one, there are several knitting groups around town that organize buses. I took a bus the first year I went to Rhinebeck. It was fun. Very well organized and very well run by Brooklyn General. They haven't sponsored a bus these past few years, to my disappointment. There is also Metro North rail road which offers a package deal to Poughkeepsie where a special bus awaits to whisk one to the Rhinebeck fair grounds. I took Amtrak. I like it because it's more comfortable than either a bus or Metro North and it stops in Rhinecliff, which is not very far from the fair grounds. It means arranging for a taxi to get from the train station to the festival and I learned from last year to arrange this in advance. I called on Friday and was put in touch with someone who would be at the station waiting for me. A little preparation ahead of time contributes quite a bit to peace of mind and goes a long way to making the trip a relaxing and enjoyable one.

The weather was to my liking--cool but not cold. There were a couple of passing showers, each about 2-minutes long. One was the perfect excuse to stop for an ice cream break. The other was near a roof, as I was enjoying lunch with a high school classmate which I met up with.

Personally, I felt the festival was better this year than last. I don't know how that can be since it's hard to imagine surpassing it at all, one year to the next. Maybe it's that I was more relaxed this year--this being my 3rd trip? Whatever the reason, I had a perfect day. Beautiful and fulfilling in many ways and on many levels.

The sheep were so beautiful I wanted to cry. Several of them enjoyed my attention and head rubs. A couple were a bit too shy. Something about a sheep just makes me want to get down and hug them. Perhaps because they give us so much. They're a blessing.

The samples of knitting and weaving I saw left me in awe. Does not knitting and weaving (and ALL craft) bestow great dignity on the human race? When I set my eyes on a piece of masterful craftsmanship something stirs very deep inside and leaves me speechless. Tears well up, a smile breaks forth, and a deep breath heightens an ecstasy of joy. Sigh.

It goes without saying: there was yarn and there was fiber. More than one can imagine in one place! So much fiber and yarn. Every imaginable color and color combination. Every imaginable preparation. Every imaginable (and some not pre-imagined!) weights.

And the people. Beautiful people... The fiber art crowd is a comfortable and pleasant crowd to be around. That is it.

The day did not pass without a few surpises... I got myself to several spindle vendors and reflexively ooh'd and aah'd over their goods. Yet--to my surprise--I wasn't moved to make a purchase! I did not feel a strong need for another spindle. Funny, because just Friday I had quite decided I'd get a new one. But when the moment came I realized that the spindles I own are suiting me well and that I'd much rather spend on fiber. Surprise! :) And I made a last minute decision yesterday morning to wear a hat which I hand spun.

I purchased some Spinner's Hill. I think it makes a very useful yarn and it's really enjoyable to spin. I also picked up some merino in hand painted roving form. Some wool for a rug. Some chocolate dipped maple walnut fudge--to die for--from Mapleland Farms. I'm glad I got their web address because I'm going to have to get more of this! Some taffy (love the stuff). A few hand made soaps and some special wooden dishes for hand made soap.

Made good progress on the baby blanket on the trip to and fro.

I got home last evening around 10ish feeling elated and wholly satisfied.

Pictures in next post...

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