I posted a few photos of Rhinebeck in my last post, but didn't say too much about it. The only other Fiber Festival I have been too was Estes Park in June, and it consisted of animal barns and one large barn of vendors. They were great, mind you, and bought my fabulous Tracy Eichheim spindle there, as well as some fiber, but Rhinebeck is about 10 times as large. There was vendor after vendor, barn after barn. I was only there on Sunday because of my HS reunion on Saturday night so I arrived early Sunday, even before the official opening time of 10 am. It was a chilly morning with frost on the grasses, and the drive up the Taconic was fabulous for the colors. Here in Colorado we usually get golden colors, but in the northeast, the fall colors have always reminded me of a bowl full of Trix cereal: red, orange, yellow, green. I grew up on the east coast and didn't remember how vivid the colors could be, especially the reds.
On Ravelry, I had gotten directions from Spinnerella, and they were great. I am glad she also warned me about keeping down my speed, because the State Patrol was all over the place pulling over those who were not warned in advance.
It only took about 1 1/2 hours to get there from Norwalk at that early hour and I parked by the 4-H gate in about the fourth row. I was hoping that I wouldn't buy so much that I would have to make a trip to the car to unload, but if that was necessary, I was parked in the perfect location.
I met the sweetest lady when I entered at the gate. They were temporarily out of maps/books of the site, and she offered me hers. She said she comes every year and has the buildings memorized, so she didn't want me to be without, since it was my first time. Not that I studied it, but it did come in handy to find some specific vendors.
Mostly I wandered in and out of the vendor barns and other vendor spaces. I was totally overwhelmed at the number of booths throughout the site. Since I had arrived so early, many were not even open yet, and many were still setting up. The first thing I bought was hand cream and lip gloss from heal my hands. Of course, he was from Santa Fe,NM, closer to my neck of the woods, and he definitely understands what dryness is and what it does to hands and lips. It comes in a cute tin with a solid bar inside, like soap, that you rub on your hands. It is fabulous and I will definitely be ordering more when this runs out.
There were artisanel cheese vendors from NY and I sampled and purchased some of that for Marion where I would be going the next day.
I definitely had a few goals in mind as far as purchases go. I knew that Bosworth spindles would be there as well as Golding Spindles. It is always good to see all the options in person and to test them out. Since I already have a Golding from this summer, I purchased two from Sheila Bosworth. Johnathan was busy working on some wheels at the back of the booth, but Sheila was very gracious and I spend a lot time overhearing her conversations with others. I even helped another gal who was shopping for her first spindle. I should have gotten a commission!
Later in the afternoon, I spent some time at the Golding booth and watched Navajo plying on the spindle. I have tried the ply on the fly method, but this can be done from a spindle of singles in a chaining fashion. I will definitely have to give it a try. One thing that was really neat, was that that a Ravelry person, Photozurn, recognized my name from the Spindler forum and introduced herself.
Of course, I had forgotten to bring my list of recommended vendors with me in my bag---it was in the car, so I mostly wandered. Someone with an unlimited budget would definitely do a lot more damage to the bank account than I did, but I did my bit to support the economy. I was very impressed with the fibers of Creativelydyed. I bought 8 oz of Seawool fiber, which is 70% superwash merino and 30% seacell in a rose, burgundy, and copper color. It is spinning up so soft and I think I will make a 2 ply fingerweight for a scarf/shawl.
I can't remember the name of the booth (I paid cash there), but I bought great buttons for my February Lady Sweater in progress.
In the same building as Golding, was The Fold where they sell Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarns. By Sunday afternoon, they had sold much of their product, but I did find a nice color of medium weight sock yarn in burgundy and purples. I understand that the lines for this booth and their mill ends is hours long on Saturday. I don't think I would have done that, and as it was, the line was about 20 minutes for me. Once I knit them up, I will let you know whether I think the hype is worth it.
Mid day, I spotted Cat from Let's Knit 2 gether, a video podcast that I have been downloading to my IPOD. I introduced myself and chatted with her and her hub for a few minutes. She recommended the Lamb and Barley soup and I took her up that and had some for lunch. It warmed my hands and my insides as I made my way to the Ravelry meetup on the hill near the main entrance.
I already had a nametag pin and my tote, so I was ready to "meet up." I didn't know what to expect, but I wandered around looking at name tags and suddenly spotted Peaceful Knitter who reads my blog and I read hers. I had never asked her if she would be there, so I was surprised to actually see someone I knew...at least in the blog world. She had on one of her fabulous neck warmers and I must make one with one of my home spun yarns. We talked about the knit to fit class I had taken and the philosophy of it and I encouraged her to try a sweater. I am really surprised, with her skill, she had not yet done one. I also had my photo taken with Jess and Casey who ARE Ravelry. It was chilly so I didn't stay too long at the meetup, and I guess I missed the group photo. Oh well.
With my purchases so far, I went to the car to drop them off and went back in for one last go round of the buildings. I didn't buy any books, but saw the area where Stephanie Pearl McPhee was signing her new book. There were several other authors, but I didn't feel like waiting in any more lines. I stopped again at Briar Rose Fibers where they had some fabulous yarn, but I bought 17 oz of BFL (blue faced leicester) roving dyed in greens and purples. And I saw some silk hankies in really bright colors that I thought I would give a try spinning. It will be nice to ply this with some other yarn, and I couldn't resist.
After all, I didn't know when I would get back again.
The ride home was 2 1/2 hours long because of the heavy traffic leaving the fairgrounds. But I was sated, and happy to have spent the day amongst fiber, fiber people, and eastern fall colors. And broke.