Its been a bit tired and busy Chez Nous but after having repeatedly been taken to task for lack of blogging, here I am. I hope it will appease.
Last Friday, after my car was finally set free from the shop ($2600 later), I hit the openish highway (damn construction zones) heading South to cross the border into the US of A and my destination was the picturesque and movie set like village of Rhinebeck. Seriously. Think quaint yet modern New England village and you would come up with Rhinebeck. Love it.
The drive took longer than I anticipated, even though I drove it last year. I was alone this time and it made things drag. My directions didn't print off thoroughly so I had to buy a map at the duty free store, along with wine and Canadian chocolate incase of emergency and as treats for Mindy's kids. Turns out that as a map reader I don't quite suck ass but I'm pretty close. When I got to the border, I picked the shortest line but it turned out also to be the slowest thanks to Mr Hard Ass customs official who had no sense of humour and decided I was WAY too laid back to be doing something so nefarious as to cross into US territory for a Sheep and Wool festival. That HAD to be a lie. That and the fact that I had no arrests on my record made me a pretty suspecty customer in dude's books apparently. I think my knitting basket full of half finished projects convinced him...that and my warm woolies packed in my bag for the forecasted cold. grrr
Ok...so after I answered many stupid questions (where's rhinebeck?...DUDE its YOUR country, you should know!! I'm having map issues!) I was set free again to continue on what I hope will be my annual weekend long migration into the US. I had to pull over again to check my map and then I hit the highway. I drove and drove and drove and FINALLY made it to Kingston, crossed the Rhinecliff bridge and tried to get to Rhinebeck. An hour and some wrong turns later I actually DID make it into Rhinebeck and connected with sweet sweet Virginian Mindy and my fellow Canadian Veronik, at the fairgrounds. It was dark by this time and we were all tired and hungry .
We attempted a smooth return to Kingston to eat at the Olympic Diner with Carol and Laura but of course, I took wrong turns. Poor Carol and Laura. They were so fed up with waiting they had eaten and left but came back when we begged. We had a nice supper and lots of chatter and laughter as Veronik reconnected with her friends and I made new ones. It was terrific. Then it was off to target for a last second purchase of kettle, coffee grinder and corkscrew and then back to our motel for some bedtime wine, knitting in jammies and chit chat. Despite my best efforts (nose strips, decongestant, antihistamines, nasal spray AND ear plugs of two types) my snoring still disturbed their sleep. What a curse! We were a tired 3 some next morning. Mindy had to leave first to work the Kid Hollow Farm booth. V and I had the leisure to stay in bed a tad longer and linger over a yummy breakfast and coffees at Pete's Famous Restaurant in the village. Then we moseyed on to the fairgrounds.
First stop, Building B( I think) and there I hit the first booth I saw which just happened to be the one I wanted...Bartlett Yarns! They sell a lovely crisp sportweight 2 ply on cones for a marvelously good price. I got a turquoisey blue, 1750 yds, for $36 all in. SWEET! Then it was booth viewing, mixing and mingling with the knitterati as friend and colleague after friend and colleague spotted Veronik and stopped to chat. A lot of the time I had no idea who the people were even after their names were given and hands were shook so I didn't gush and make a complete ass of myself like last year's Yarn Harlot episode.
This year the fair seemed calmer than last year. It seemed to have fewer people. maybe the forecast of cold and possible snow kept folk away? Hard to say but I was grateful because I had less claustrophobia and didn't lose my friend immediately like last year.
We hooked up again with the amazing Carol and the dryly funny Laura and had lots of fun. Carol and I are a bit...enthusiastic...about Veronik's yarn company (St. Denis...distributed in the USA by Classic Elite Yarns) and took it upon ourselves to accost people at every opportunity with a sales pitch, company logo pin and free mini skein. Yay free yarn to play with! We amused Veronik and Laura, who are much more reserved and polite. Plus it helped that Carol has a fan club of her own because of her hand dyed yarns (Black Bunny Fibers) and we met many of her friends and customers. Seriously, it was like old home week! Great fun for a friendly person like myself. I even had some fellow North Shore Knitters show up on a day trip to check out the wonder that is the NY State Sheep and Wool festival. Valerie, my wonder chiroprator, and Marie-Christine, left home around 4 AM and drove to the fest in order to soak up as much of it as a day trip would allow. Valerie got a LOT of yarn! LOL
We visited sweet Mindy at her post and kept on exploring the fair until it was finally time to head for the TRavelry party in Red Hook. I did NOT get lost. Tah dah!
Now, this year the party organisers tried something different to ease last years parking issues. Everyone met at the school at the end of the same road as the Elk's Lodge and then we were all bussed back to the lodge. The school bus went all evening ferrying people to and from the party. While waiting in line, Ravelry peeps were entertained (?) by a female in a Bob costume. Bob being the Ravelry mascot, a Boston terrier of uber cuteness. The head of the costume was KNIT! Inside was none other than Scottish designer Isolda Teague.
At the party we sat at table with Pam, and Betsey, and Phyllis, who all know V, and had some refreshment and handed out more mini skeins. I met up briefly with Robyn, of Robyn's Nest, and Madeleine. Both are Montreal Knits people and it was good to see them since they tend to knit in the West Island area now. We didn't stay at the party very long, being seriously tired. Pam, V, Betsey, and I left and went to Salvatore's for supper. One of the menu items was Chicken Francais which the waitress called Chicken Frohn-chays which took me by surprise. No I did NOT correct her. The conversation at the table was fascinating for me, a yarn industry outsider. Well...can a customer of yarn companies really be an outsider? It was just really really interesting to hear some of the stuff that happens on the other side of the deal. It was eye opening and changed my perspective on some things as well. Thanks so much to Pam and Betsy for such scintillating conversation and dinner companionship.
Back home to the room where once again we jammiefied and did some knitting and gabbed until sleep took us away again...except for when my snoring woke them up.
DAY 2: almost as good as day 1! It sucked mightily that Carol and Laura had to leave us in the early afternoon. I am telling you, they are super fun to spend time with and I have serious girl crushes on both. Carol got to buy the colour of yarn that I loved but didn't suit my colouring. Dang her for being blonde. Enjoy it Miss C. It was hard to see them go.
While Veronik did some book signing I did some (more) book buying. I got the 99 Yarns pattern book from Green Mountain Spinnery and LOVE IT. It could be my suprprise new favourite pattern book of all time. Also, I got it signed. Yay. V went off for some quality time with her dear friend Pam afterwards and I got to browse booths at my leisure, visiting ones I'd missed and revisiting ones I hadn't been able to linger at before. When I was good and tired I went to see Mindy and she got a break for coffee. My energy was failing but a nice big hot chai latte gave me renewed life. While with Mindy at her booth, the show was quieting around us and vendors were more able to visit back and forth. I got to know Pat and Heidi of Kid Hollow Farm better (and bought a sock yarn called Foggy Mountain..its lovely!!!) and what great folks they are. Otto and Joanne of Straugh's came over to chat and lo and behold, Joanne is into locker hooking rugs!!! I was in 7th heaven asking her all about this technique which I had briefly tried on my own a few years ago. She cleared up a LOT of my confusions...gave me some excellent advice...and was so nice and friendly and warm I just wanted to take her home with me to be my rug hooking buddy/mentor. On her advice I invested in a "normal" rug hook and am very glad I did. the booth where I got them had the kind I had seen for biggish prices but also had much less expensive makes. I got 2 of the cheaper ones because I tend to misplace things alot. Joanne and Otto raise cashmere goats and he had on a 100% cashmere sweater under his plaid jacket that was a dream to fondle the collar of. we all might have fondled more, because our hands were cold and Otto was cozy, but we are all good (ish) girls and Joanne's sense of humour probably only would have gone so far! LOL What a jolly bunch we were! Much laughing and fun.
Earlier in the day, V and I had found a treasure I'd been searching for at Carol Leigh's Hillside something or other booth. Nostepinnes! I'd found some before but none of them moved me to purchase. Here at this booth they had some Snipe's made nosties and there were a coupkle darkly finished ones that I was taken with. V got one and I the other and we called ourselves Nostepinne Sisters. Later V took Pam there but the dark ones were all gone and Pam's didn't match ours so she's a Nostepinne Sister but of the adopted or step variety. This struck us as quite funny when beer was added to the equation but I think you had to be there. Mmmm beer. Sam Adam's Octoberfest to be exact. But more later.
We had also found our knit friend the mighty and glorious Deeawn and her pal Susan FINALLY. late in the day. I'd missed her call somehow...I think my reception had been interupted. Deeawn is a force of nature and we crack one another up. Susan was a love and fit right in. We all helped Pat and Heidi and Mindy pack up shop, filling tote bins and disassembling "walls" and shelving. Then V, Deeawn, Susan, and I headed into the village for some supper. Mindy was supping with Pat and Heidi at a fancier place. Our budgets were hurting a bit so we went to Foster's and had some great BEER and food. And MUCH laughing, waiter appreciation discussion, and storytelling and fellow patron annoying. Sorry, less rowdy people! It was wonderful. Then D and Susan were off to their abode of the night and V and I went to the grocery store in search of a few items and more beer. We got a Sam Adam's mixed dozen and in it was the Octoberfest we'd had a pitcher of at the pub as well as a nice brown and wonder of all wondered Cherry Wheat beer! It was actually quite tasty!!!! There was much giggling back at the room once we were all 3 together again and in our jammies, knitting, sipping, and with Veronik translating Beau Dommage songs to our hysterical laughter. Poor Mindy had been fighting a cold all weekend and was so tired from that and work and our late nights and we were tired from all outr fun and disturbed sleeps that it was very easy to find things funny.
We didn't cry when my "Mindy Lou Who" left next morning with Pat and Heidi...headed back to Virginia and not to be seen again in person until next year's festival. It was hard to have her going but we still have each other online. Its both a curse and a blessing these internet friendships, because we are so far away from one another with Carol in Pa and Mindy in Va and I forget where Laura is...Pa or Mass?
Anyways, sad to see Mindy go but mindful of our owwn schedule we got showered and packed up and ready to leave. We wanted to book an extra room for next year for more friends to stay with us but ALL THE ROOMS ARE BOOKED. Popular place for Rhinebeck weekend and most people are return guests. Dismayed at our foiled plans, we headed for Red Hook and breakfast at The Historic Diner. Best poached eggs I've had since my mommy used to make them for me when I was small. Ever notice how sometimes simple things just are so much better when someone else makes them?
We hit the road, forgetting to gas up with all our chit chat, and I noticed just in time while driving that my car was seriously on E and got to the next gas station, disturbing poor V's intended nap. I begin to understand why Hman worries about letting me out in the world alone but alls well that ends well and our weekend was way better than "well".