Monday, October 17, 2005

Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Three Bags Full...

As a knitter, (and most knitters can relate to this) I am obsessed with yarn. I love to feel it, smell it, look at it and adore it. I have trunks and closets full of wool yarn and I just want more and more. My favorite kind of yarn is that made by local sheep farmers who spin and dye their own wool. Therefore, better than Christmas for me is the day I visit the yearly New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. And guess what? That day was yesterday!

Now, another thing that adds to my anticipation and love of this event is that, traditionally, I attend it with one of my favorite people: my best pal Joanna, (who taught me to knit and who also loves yarn). Joanna lives in Manhattan and I live Upstate, so the Sheep and Wool Festival (which takes place in Rhinebeck) is a half way point for us.

Traditionally, we meet at the Poughkeepsie Train Station and traditionally, I am late. This time I brought a thermos of (still hot) Earl Grey (J's fav) tea with me to pacify her and I think it worked.

We get to hang out all day talking about and enjoy sheep, alpacas, goats, bunnies, border collies and most of all YARN. We get compare and love yarn from all over New York State and meet the people who make it.

There are people spinning, knitting, and wearing handknitted sweaters, scarves, hats and shawls. There is delicious locally grown lamb to eat (although Joanna is a vegetarian so she always gets a baked potato and steamed spinach with garlic instead). Joanna is also a little freaked out by the many sheepskin/shearling things for sale, but I happily bought some slippers that are amazingly soft and cozy. (We are both animal lovers, but my love of animals doesn't keep me from eating and wearing them, I guess!) There is yarn galore, of every type and color, and roving and fleeces for spinning. We compare, contrast, discuss, smell and touch, and also: BUY. We always spend more than we should.

This year we also got to see the sheepdog trials, which I always want to see but never seem to get to. It's so cool how the prey drive is so controlled in those border collies, they can chase the sheep in such a way as to get them to go where they want, but not frighten them too much and curb their natural instinct to bite them. Joanna and I agreed that border collies are the coolest dogs (well, except for my dog, Besty of course!). There were adorable border collie puppies for sale too but we had to resist them. We both know they would need more space, land, time and attention than we could give them.

One of the best things about the Sheep and Wool Festival is, we have a good excuse to hang out together ALL DAY doing something we both like to do without anyone to bother us or interrupt our happy knitting obsession. :-) We love our husbands, and I love my son, but it's so rare we get a chance to be "just us". This year we even stayed late and went to a delicious dinner afterwards at the Terrapin Restaurant.

I have tons of cool pictures, which I will try to post later this week.

I now have bags full of beautiful, sheepy smelling, handspun yarn. Better still, I have even more happy memories of a great day spent with my best buddy. I am a happy, happy woman.


Blogger Bubbles said...

WHERE ARE THE PICS???!!! I'm glad you had fun and had fairly decent weather although I was afraid they would have to tie weights to the sheep to keep them from blowing away!!

7:33 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I'll get them up soon, Ms. Impatient! :-) Yes, it was SO freakin windy that my little car was blowing around on the road as I drove there.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

I'm so jealous! Wool is my greatest enemy - I'm very, very allergic. I wish I could wear wooly sweaters and touch angora yarn and hug sheep. But I can't. :(

It's delightful to hear about the festival, though! Sounds like a great time for a knitter such as yourself!

8:58 PM  
Blogger As always... Rachael said...

I scrolled to check out all the pics... you lord you have ME excited about yarn! And that's impressive because at first I was like, who the hell give a damn about yarn!!

Now I totally see the coolness in it. Pretty colors, making things yourself, seeing the animals, the spinners... it's pretty cool stuff! Plus, you got to have a day to yourself with a good friend. It doesn't get much better than that!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Rusty: I'm sorry about the wool allergy, but there's always angora, mohair and alpaca! Not to mention *whispers* cashmere. :-)

Rachael, thank you! I feel very honored. :-)

5:00 AM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

That sounds like a great day! Are girl friends grand?

BTW, I loved your story about the timid chicken on k's blog!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

of course, I posted without proofreading again. That was supposed to be 'aren't girlfriends grand?' gawd!

1:03 PM  
Blogger cjblue said...

Ahhh, ain't nothing like GIRL TIME! So important. Loved your story. And I absolutely adore border collies, but I don't have that kind of time or energy either. *sigh* We're working on adopting an Australian Shepherd mix doggie. I'll post on my blog when it works out finally.

Love those rasta sheep too! Where's the hackeysack?

12:59 PM  
Blogger Urban Chick said...

you always describe your get-togethers (i forget the other one - maybe it was with joanna too?) in a way that makes me wish i could join you!

i like to hear of all the details: where you meet, what you eat and drink and so on

and hey! like rachael, maybe this is the post that finally gets me to thinking seriously about knitting...just have to get over the idea that it would please my MIL (an automatic turn off for me, usually - i am so contrary!

2:05 PM  
Blogger Salt Water said...

Thanks for this beautiful blog site. My wife does not understand why anyone would spend time blogging. I showed her your site and argued that people like what they like. She is a garden nut, so it helped her to see your love for yarn. I love the idea of any "Simple Living Craft". As for the value of homemade clothes, my stepmom Pat, whom we lost this year (Thanks for Pat, dear God), made me a sweater way back in 1980. It is still the best and warmest apparel I have. The buttons never worked right, but I have always worn it with a chop stick for a keeper. It works well and looks cool. Keep up the good work. By the way, I love that creek.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Liquidplastic said...

This has been a wonderful visit this morning Kate .. you seem to be having so much joy in your life, doing what you love .. I do so envy you my friend.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Kid Fabulous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Kid Fabulous said...

Sounds like a splendid day. Did you get a chance to see any sheep-shavin' or wool dyeing, too? I mean this with much earnest -I've only seen one sheep-shaving contest, and it was so cool!

You must show us pics of the wondrous yarns, and eventually the things your deft hands turn them into. What a great event - just enough time to knit warm, fuzzy gifts for the holidays.

This might be weird, but if you know any Star Trek fans, I came upon this site.

9:01 PM

9:03 PM  
Blogger Trina said...

What a great day! My aunt has a couple of Angora rabbits and spins *beautiful* yarn from their fur! And they're just the cutest hoppity fluff-balls!

Sheepdog trials are amazing to watch! I love how with just certain whistles, the dogs know to perform specific actions, some quite intricate!

Thanks for sharing your day :~D

10:02 AM  

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