Sunday at Rhinebeck: Food, friends, and snow

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Sunday at Rhinebeck is a calmer affair.  For one thing they don’t open the gates until 10 AM so visitors are forced to sleep in and relax before hitting the fairgrounds.  We arrived just after 10 and cruised right in.  The crowds were smaller, but still formidable.  I had a list of some places I wanted to return to that I missed the day before.  In addition we wanted to have a hot lunch before heading home, I wanted to get back to the book signing booth, and walk through one barn that I couldn’t even get close to the day before.     Continue reading

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Jill Draper’s open studio

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The front door of Jill Draper’s studio

On the Saturday of Rhinebeck Jill Draper had an”open studio”.   Jill Draper is the owner of Jill Draper Makes Stuff.  She is a knitter, dyer and spinner who sells yarn sourced from American sheep and spun in the U.S.  and dyed lovingly by her.   For the past several years she has shared a booth at Rhinebeck with Jennie the Potter.  As they both attract a crowd of loyal followers, sharing a booth was no longer a viable option.   Jill recently got dedicated studio space to dye and dry her yarn, so it was the perfect time for an open house.   Did I mention that Jill lives in Kingston, New York, just a hop and a skip from the fairgrounds, and close to our hotel? Continue reading

Saturday at Rhinebeck: how to have fun in the midst of crowds

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Saturday at Rhinebeck means lines and crowds and waiting for almost everything including the ladies room.  Being a man at Rhinebeck has its advantages.  Getting in and out of the restroom is the first, and getting a lot of attention from yarn-crazed women is another.  My husband is a real trooper.  He comes along with me to these fiber gatherings and doesn’t complain.  He doesn’t always tag along with me, but that’s ok.  There are some more manly things to do, like wine-tasting and watching the dog herding demonstrations.  He comes home with some bottles of chile sauce and can eat whatever he wants. Continue reading

Rhinebeck: Friday before the festival

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The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, or Rhinebeck for short, attracts thousands of people.  While the sheep and the wool and the dogs and the fair food can make for a full day — or two, there is a lot more to Rhinebeck.  There are many attractions in the area and a number of local stores have additional activities.  You can also sign up for one or more of the classes that are offered at the fairgrounds starting during the festival.

We always get to Rhineback a day or two before the festival opens on Saturday.  Now that we are living in Pennsylvania and not in the metro DC area, we are three hours closer, so we left on Friday instead of Thursday.  The dogs went to their doggie daycare/boarding place on the farm.  They were set for a weekend of fun and so were we.

As we had already seen a number of the local attractions, we didn’t have anything particular on our agenda.  We decided to go into Saugerties, a small town north of Rhineback, and walk around.

And what better place to start than a local IMG_3349yarn store or LYS.  The LYS in Saugerties is called The Perfect Blend.  I know, I was about to attend what is probably THE largest single place in the U.S. to buy yarn and I was going to a yarn store.   I did browse and help a customer choose a color for a sweater she wanted to knit for her sister, but I did not buy anything.  I was saving myself for RHINEBECK.

We were walking down the street and stumbled upon an antique lamp store.  By pure coincidence we needed a part to replace a broken piece of an antique lamp of ours.  What good luck!  During any move things get broken and sometimes, horrors of horrors, even lost.  We like antiques and had a few antique lamps  We went completely on memory and bought a replacement for the piece that was broken.   I think we had a 50-50 shot at getting the right size.  We took a chance but the prices were reasonable, and for just under $7.00 we were willing to give it a try.    Unfortunately the piece did not fit.  Next time we go antiquing we are going to bring the lamp with us.

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As we were heading back to our car we came upon this bookstore.  As avid readers we often bemoan the loss to the independent bookstore.  Heck, you are hard pressed to find a Barnes & Noble these days.  For a small place like Saugerties this was one big bookstore.  We had to go in and browse the shelves.  After yarn fumes, book fumes come in a close second.  My husband, not being a knitter, would undoubtedly argue that for him, the books win hands down.

Originally the home of the local paper the building now houses Inquiring Minds Bookstore

Originally the home of the local paper the building now houses Inquiring Minds Bookstore

After checking into our hotel we headed for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show.  This is the second year this event has taken place.  It was so popular last year that this year they got a venue twice the size.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t big enough.  The event is organized by a group called Indie Untangled.  Indie stands for independent.  It “connects buyers and sellers of hand-dyed yarn and fiber, handspun yarn, and knitting-related notions and accessories”.

The Trunk Show allows the smaller vendors who don’t have a booth at Rhinebeck to get some exposure and connect directly to buyers.  It give buyers a chance to see something they wouldn’t normally get to see up close.  It’s a combination that works for everyone.

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This is a small part of the line of eager fiberistas waiting to get in for the 5:00 opening.   The first hundred entrants received a goodie bag.  I got there at 4:45 and there were way more than a hundred people already in line ahead of me.

The event was a lot of fun.  Here are some pictures of a few of the vendors.

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Alice the owner and dyer at Backyard Fireworks, proudly displaying some of her handiwork

To top off the evening yours truly won a prize in the raffle.  I bought two tickets and put them both in the Bijou Basin bag and I guess that lady luck was with me that night.

Lisa, who launched Indie Untangled and organized this event, calling off the names of the raffle winners

Lisa, who launched Indie Untangled and organized this event, calling off the names of the raffle winners

I won two skeins of emerald colored yak-silk lace yarn and a pattern.    For more information on Indie Untangled, click on this link  http://indieuntangled.com.   Thanks to everyone for organizing this event.  I’ll see you next year.

Weeds as a metaphor for life

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I don’t like dandelions.  I don’t like crabgrass either or other weeds, but my dislike for dandelions is extreme.   For the past two weeks I have been outside every day with my forked tongue garden tool digging up the dandies.  They yield willingly to me after a rain or in the early morning when the ground is soft.  When the grass turns brown from lack of rain, the dandies thrive in spite of it, sticking out their dandelion tongues at me in defiance.  See, they say, I will grow in any weather in any soil and   Continue reading

Little Lost Creek Alpaca Farm

One of the alpacas at Little Lost Creek farm

One of the alpacas at Little Lost Creek farm

We recently visited an alpaca farm in Salford, PA about five miles from our house.  I met one of the owners, Alex Frazier, at a craft fair at Pennypacker Mills.  He and his wife Sandy are the owners of the Little Lost Creek Alpaca Farm.  He told us about their upcoming open house and we decided to take a look.  By the way, it’s called Little Lost Creek because the creek so rarely has water in it that it gets “lost”.  Continue reading

What are profiles?

You may have noticed that I added another page called “Profiles”.  What are Profiles, you may ask.  This is where I will write about people I have met who have their own stories to tell. While I would like to think that I am unique in this journey I am not. I am joined by many others who have made interesting discoveries, worked to create and build new enterprises, and reached for things outside of themselves. As I try to figure what I am capable of on my search for that sweet spot where contentment and personal value meet, I will share their experiences — or “profiles”, with you.

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Manning the table to tell people about Pennypacker Mills at their craft fair in September 2015.