I am just now coming down off of my Rhinebeck high enough that I can talk about it without using the words cool, awesome, and incredible five times per sentence. All day yesterday, I daydreamed about my fantastic finds and vibrated with excitement over what I would knit first. I had intended to take photos of everything in the sunlight, but due to unfortunate and boring circumstances, I didn't get home until dark, so indoor shots will have to do.
I'm sure you've read by now that the crowds on Saturday were unbelievable. Amy and I arrived at 9 a.m. when the gates opened, and there were already a lot of people there. An hour or so later, the crowds seemed to reach their peak and stayed there until about 5 p.m. Ordinarily, I can't handle crowds. I feel constricted and claustrophobic and need open space. These crowds, however, were the nicest crowds I had ever experienced. Only one time during the whole festival, and late in the day, did I experience anything bordering on rudeness. The rest of the time people were respectful, kind, and patient. Everyone was having a great time, it seemed. It made me think that if only knitters ran the world, we could really get somewhere toward world peace!
The great thing about the crowds was the people watching. For about an hour or so on Saturday, Amy, Nell (who we met the night before the festival and had so much fun with!), and I sat and watched people. It was like the world's biggest knitting fashion show, and it was so great to see so many designs in person.
The vendors were amazing, naturally, and just what I was hoping for. First of all, I found a Plisse kit! I was certain there wouldn't be any Falkenberg kits at the festival, so I wasn't even looking for them. I turned around in one of the barns and saw the familiar plastic totes and audibly gasped. They even had it in the leaf green color I wanted! If I had found nothing else I liked, I would have been satisfied with just this kit. But fortunately, there was plenty that I liked.
The first stall we visited was Ellen's Half Pint Farm. I had heard good things about them, and they did not disappoint! The browny-purple sock yarn in the front is their merino/nylon blend, and this skein was the last of its kind in the bottom of the basket. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't buy variegated yarn in this trip (I rarely actually knit with it), and the only thing I wish Ellen's had had was more solid yarn. In the heavier weights, the hanks for sale were enormous! I'm talking sweater-sized, and very reasonably priced. Another favorite booth was the Skaska booth. It was draped with exquisite shawls, and full of beautiful laceweight, including a merino/cashmere in the perfect shade of green I've been searching for to make the Estonian Shawl! While I waited to be checked out, I pawed through a basket holding balls of Australian merino/cashmere and found a nice gray one. The single ball is enough to make a generous shawl, and it was only $15! Since I had found the two things I was hoping to find (the laceweight and the kit), I concentrated on finding some patterns and kits. On Sunday, it was much less crowded, so I decided to check out the wine. I asked one of the purveyors about ice wine, something I heard a lot about when reading about Rhinebeck, and learned that most New York ice wines are not true ice wines, as the grapes are not harvested frozen. He said that if the grapes were left to freeze, the birds would eat them all as they migrated from Canada. He gave me a couple of samples of dessert wine instead, and as you might notice in the picture, I've been enjoying that. It comes from Clinton Vineyards, and is called Nuit. I've been having a glass at night as dessert, but I think it would be outstanding with a flourless chocolate cake. I plan to order more wine from this vineyard.
Of course there were loads of other bloggers at Rhinebeck. Most of them, I just saw from a distance or passed by on the walkway. We weren't aware of the Ravelry meetup, so sadly missed it, but I did spy Jess and Casey twice. I also saw Adrian from Hello Yarn, but each time she was in conversation and I didn't want to be rude. We stopped and chatted with Cheryl from Seed Stitch, who was wearing a gorgeous Imogen. Our hotel was a happening spot, too. Saturday night, rather than hit the parties happening around Rhinebeck (we were pretty wiped), we went back to our hotel and had a nice evening with a rather large group of knitters. I had the pleasure of meeting Ann of Purling Swine, Vickie of Knitorious, Tara of Knittable Kitten, Cara of January One (though I decided not to harass her about how much I love her blog as she didn't seem to feel well), blog-free Liane, and Kate Gilbert. As I said before, I was pretty tired, and on top of my shyness I wasn't very talkative, but it was so nice to just be with a group of people who were all excited about knitting!
When planning our drive to Rhinebeck, Amy and I discovered that WEBS was almost exactly in the middle of our route! How could we not stop?
This time I came prepared, armed with a list of yarn and projects. It really helped! The first time I went to WEBS, I sort of wandered around the store, completely overwhelmed. This time, even though I didn't come away with exactly what was on my list, I had some guidance. The Rialto is a substitution for RYC Cashsoft DK, which didn't have any colors I liked together. I'm using this yarn to make Briar Rose for a super girly-girl, hence the double pink. I planned to buy some Shibui, since I'm hearing so much about it, but I had no intention of buying Knitscene when I went. This issue of Knitscene is the one with the famous Central Park Hoodie, so how could I resist? My brother has expressed an interest in Cobblestone, but seems to have a genuine sensitivity to wool, so Amy had the brilliant idea of trying a hat in the yarn I want to use and see how it feels to him, so that's what the Mission Falls is for.
It was a weekend for a bit of gluttony, sure. Maybe someday I'll get to the point where I don't feel like a kid who has to eat all of the ice cream right now, but for my first Rhinebeck, I wanted to really go all out, and I did! I'm already thinking ahead to next year!