Monday, October 22, 2007

If you build it, they will come

Breaking news! I think there just might be a future in this hobby we call knitting. Un-be-lie-vable. Un-real. Un-imaginable.

I'll just begin by saying that I had no idea that Rhinebeck would be such a humongous freakin' affair. I mean, DUDES! If you've never been, it's absolutely crazy! Everything and anything that has to do with sheep or yarn is represented, from sheep (and angora rabbits, and llamas, and alpacas) to yarn to sheep dogs. And the knitters (and spinners, and farmers)!!!! They came in droves.

We arrived at the fairgrounds at about 9:25 in the morning, and were already freaked out by the number of parked cars. As soon as I had paid for our tickets, I made a beeline for the Briar Rose Fibers booth, and began rooting about for some Abundance (to make Ann Hanson's Totally Autumn throw). I didn't find any (rats!), but I did get my hands on this lovely 1200 yard skein of Grandma's blessing (I'm thinking of making either this or this with it, I haven't decided yet). When I casually asked about the Abundance, I was told that their supplier had run out, but that I could substitute for some Sonoma (same gauge, different fiber), which they had in stock. Since Phil was dealing with an impatient Emilie and a screaming Maxime, I thought "I'll be back later". BIG MISTAKE!!! When I returned, there was no more Sonoma to be had. Oh well, at least I scored a 10% discount on my next purchase! (Insert evil laugh here).

I'm trying to give an accurate account of the day, but honestly? It all boils down to sheep gazing (for Emilie, the animals were really the high point of the day) and yarn fondling. The yarn fondling was actually kind of intimidating. As I mentioned here, I really don't know that much about yarn (no, really!). Sure, there was lots (and lots, and LOTS) of beautiful yarn out there, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to look at a skein of yarn and visualize what it wants to be, you know? I can't say "That would make a great sweater, give me 1500 yards". I even bought the Ann Budd pamphlet that Jennifer was kind enough to mention, but I was still a little flabbergasted. So for a while, I was limiting myself to one skein projects, like socks or scarves.

From left to right: Three skeins of Soft Touch Heather sock yarn in the fury colourway, from Shelridge Farm; Three skeins of sock yarn from Pennsylvania-based Maple Creek Farm (in my opinion, the jewel of the show): Superwash merino in the Jade colourway, Superwash Merino/Tencel in the Hot Cocoa colourway (my favourite), Superwash Merino/Nylon in the Pond Rocks colourway (this one's for Phil)).

Below, on the left: one skein (about 500 yards) of Boucle yarn (mohair/wool/nylon blend) from also Pennsylvania-based Persimmon Tree Farm. Last but not least, this yarn. I don't know what it is or how much of it there is, nor do I remember where it comes from (Way to go!). It's just funky, and every time I would walk by it it would catch my eye, so I bought it. I think it'll make a great scarf.

So there I was, confused, disoriented. Even Phil was telling me to get out there and get shopping (I know!!!). Enter the kit. Now, I've been meaning to blog about how my feelings toward the kit have changed over the years. See, I used to look down on them. "Kits are for amateurs" I'd say. And that may very well be. But there's just something about getting everything you need in one convenient package, you know? It's like a Happy Meal for knitters. Sure, you can get the individual components separately, but it's just not the same, right? It's not a Happy Meal. Plus, at least when it comes to knit kits (and possibly Happy Meals), buying the kit is usually cheaper than buying the yarn and patters separately. So there.

First up: The Tree Frog scarf kit from Morehouse Farm. I had actually meant to purchase enough yarn to make a sweater from Moremouse, but when I got there all I could find were these cute scarf kits. So I bought one. Then, a couple of hours later, I realize that there were actually two Morehouse booths, and that all the Morehouse Merino was in the other one. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the place was crawling with savvy knitters who had cleaned them out of most of the colourways I fancied.

Second: the Wanderer sweater kit from the afore-mentioned Shelridge Farm. I bought the L/XL kit, mainly because that's all they had left at this point. I'm thinking I'll either make it for the big sweater-wearer I know (who's L/XL), or I'll make the medium sized-one for Phil and then try to make a matching, smaller version for Maxime with the leftover yarn. Tempting as that may be, there is one caveat. In all the years I've known Phil, he's never voluntarily worn a wool sweater. He's just not a sweater lover. I'm not sure I want to put myself through the aggravation of making him something he'll probably never wear.

There you have it! I had a blast, and barring any disasters, I'm definitely going next year (but maybe without the kids? I'm just saying is all) :)

By the way, you can check out all the pictures we took (a big thanks to Phil for having the presence of mind to take pictures while I walked around in a yarn-induced trance) here. Enjoy!

P.S.: A big Hidey-Ho to Michelle, from the Sweet Sheep. I can't believe that I actually bumped into her among the thousands of knitters and spinners ambling about on Saturday! It was great to meet her in person :)


Mrhide said...
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Mrhide said...


Sereknitty said...

Wow, looks like a fun day, but talk about fibre overload! It's probably a good thing I live so far away ... too tempting!

Jennifer said...

Wow...where to begin? I so wish I was there! I love the yarn you picked out, something about the colors of that boucle are really catching my eye. I wonder what that mystery yarn is!

Oh, and I love the name of the Grandma's Blessing yarn...I would vote for the Waves in the Square shawl.

And look- Emilie's in her sweater! Yay!

ps- I love that you accidentally wrote "Moremouse". :)

Knitting Mama said...

Love the haul from Rhinebeck. Wish I hadn't missed it. There's always next year, right?? When I come to your house for our knit afternoon next month, I want to touch your yarn.