The Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Two weeks ago I attended the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF),  a  fiber festival in Europe.  After years of going to Maryland Sheep and Wool and New York Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck), I wanted to see what an urban fiber fest was like.  It did not disappoint.  The Edinburgh Yarn Festival was on held on March 9-12 this year.   Friday and Saturday were market days — codeword for shopping, and 8 – 12 March were class days.  In between there were opportunities for seeing the city, taking a day trip, joining others for knit night, and a traditional Ceilidh – Scottish dancing.  It you’re a fiber fest officianado you probably knew that some of these events were limited and required a combination of luck and dedication to score a ticket.  Esther and I signed up for classes at 9 am on the Saturday of Rhinebeck in October 2016.  Advance purchase tickets sold out quickly as did space at the Ceilidh.  But no worries.  There was plenty to do in the evening in a city that parties hearty. Continue reading

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A pussyhat goes to Washington

 

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A pussyhat in progress.

In the past weeks I have been literally knitting my fingers to the bone trying to complete as many pussyhats as possible for the marchers in the Women’s March on Washington on 21 January.  Last weekend I had to go out and buy more yarn.  Pink yarn is getting hard to find.  Word has spread about this project and it seems that everyone who can lift a needle is making pink hats.  I still have to make labels, photograph them and get them in the mail.  Somewhere in deep stash I found two more skeins of pale pink yarn.  All over the country messages are coming in on Ravelry, requests for more hats to warm more heads who have a seat on one of the buses going to DC.  I am living vicariously through all the anticipation.  I won’t be there, so it’s especially important that I do my bit to support the sisterhood. Continue reading

Film and Fiber, October 2016

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Two weeks ago we went to upstate New York for the New York  State Sheep and Wool Festival, otherwise known as Rhinebeck.  Unbeknownst to us it was also the same weekend as the Woodstock Film Festival.  What luck!  Yarn, knitting, and film.  What more could you ask for but a crisp Fall weekend sporting hand knit sweaters and scarves, independent movies, good food and new friends.   I was in vacation heaven.

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I wrote multiple posts about Rhinebeck last year.  This year I’m just going to touch on some of the highlights.  We only spent one day at the festival this year.   My DH was not willing to go back for a second day.  Boo hoo.  I’m hoping to do a ladies weekend next year so I can fully enjoy all that Rhinebeck has to offer.  That means two days at the fairgrounds.  Woot! Continue reading

An Icelandic knitting odyssey

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Icelandic sheep hanging out by the side of the road.

Larry and I just returned from a one week vacation to Iceland.  While we saw a lot and I took many photos, I want to start with a post about knitting.  Why, you ask?    I am an avid knitter — that was one of the draws to Iceland.   Also, it’s that time of year when the days are getting shorter and the evenings have a crispness in the air that lends itself to all things wooly.   On top of that, Rhinebeck is coming up next  month, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.  I am in a knitting frame of mind. Continue reading

Finished objects

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Newly finished object,  Knitspot’s “Pedal Pusher”

There is a special vocabulary for knitters.   A UFO is an unfinished object, and a WIP is a work in progress, and DISO means you are almost finished with something but ran out of yarn so you are desperately in search of some more of it.  These words are a shorthand knitting language.  Then there is the SABLE,  which means stash acquired beyond life expectancy.   I have been working hard since October to finish some projects, and have sprinkled pictures of them throughout this post.  All of them have been completed in the past two months. Continue reading

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.