Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Yarn for Braaaaaiiiiins at Rhinebeck

Happy Halloween!

Like my Zombie Hat?  I made it for my 5yo, but wore it to Rhinebeck earlier this month.  I never have a sweater done in time to wear it to Rhinebeck, so I make do with a silly hat.  It’s a crochet pattern found on Ravelry that’s pretty easy to do, and surprisingly I am the only other person that has made it besides the designer.  The hanging eyeball ring I found in the Target dollar section and didn’t think twice about using it in this project as soon as I saw it.  Unfortunately my son isn’t as much of a fan of it as I am, he wore it a few times but now wants a hat with a happy silly face instead.  It’s not really a bad thing to have a sensitive little boy who isn’t into monsters and gory things.  It’s too tight on me to wear regularly, so I might just pass it on to another little kid who might enjoy it.

Zombie Hat

The festival was fun this year, as it always is especially when the weather is a beautiful fall day.  I started the day off just accompanying two friends that had never been before, once you’ve been to a fiber festival so many years in a row it’s good to tag along with people that are OOoohing and Aaaahing at everything with fresh eyes.

I wasn’t in a “MUST BUY ALL THE PRETTY YARN” mindset, I’ve actually been pretty good at using my stash to make projects lately (like the zombie hat above).  The only thing I knew I absolutely wanted to buy was a new pair of glass needles from Michael and Sheila Ernst.  I can’t get enough of them!  Which is how I ended up with a 16″ circular in a size 10 –  I don’t recall them making short cable needles in the past, but it’s a good size to have for quick bulky hats.  I absolutely love how sharp the tips are, how thick the cable is, how smoothly the yarn slides off the glass and how beautiful they are.  In all the years I’ve had them the only time I’ve actually broken a pair is when I accidentally closed my sliding glass door on one and true to their lifetime warranty, I mailed it in and got them back good as new.

Eventually, the enthusiasm of my friends and ALL THE PRETTY YARN got to me  and I shopped!  Just the four skeins of yarn, the glass needles and a metal cable needle that can also double as a shawl pin.  While everyone else was obsessing over the Miss Babs booth (I get it, but I wanted the needles and more variety this year) I was was browsing across the way at Lisa Souza booth. The middle yarn pictured below was the one skein that stayed on my mind all day as I walked around, so I went back to buy it.  It sparkles!  I’ve already started knitting with the colorful one below it, to make a happier hat for my 5yo.  The other two were on clearance and I couldn’t pass it up, might make something for my husband with them.  The rest is just pictures things that wowed and amused me around the Festival.

Were you at Rhinebeck this year? How did you fare?

Leave a comment »

Rhinebeck – it finally happened!

This past Saturday I finally made it up to The Wool and Fiber Festival of New York – a.k.a. Rhinebeck!! I have been looking forward to this for years. Yep, years, no I’m not exaggerating. It was a beautiful fall day and it was packed with fiber lovers. It did remind me of Maryland Sheep & Wool, but it did have a lot of vendors that I had never met and I was able to run into some friends from Philadelphia.

I wish I could say that I came home with a pile of yarn, but my budget was very limited. I ended up with three skeins, enough to make a hat from the Drops Design Studio, an a pair of scissors with some really sharp blades. I got those for when I finally cast on a project that requires steeking, something I am determined to learn.

I am happy that I got to scout the fair and see all that it has to offer (like maple cotton candy – YUM!) I can’t wait to go again next year!!



Leave a comment »

Things don’t always work out as planned

Doesn’t that suck? You get so excited about trying different things and then you realize that your attempt, while a valiant one, was just a waste of time. Or, if you’re the optimistic type, it’s “a learning experience”.

First, my container garden: I was able to harvest some beans! Great!! Hurray!!! … except that I only got 1 ounce from all the plants and all the weeks that I invested in it. That’s not even enough to make a meal for my baby boy!
Can you get beans from container gardening?
Should you bother with it?
Not unless you are willing to fill a bedroom with many, many containers.
Lesson learned – wait until you have a yard
Resolution – planted carrots after I pulled up all of dried out bean plants. I figured it’s a root vegetable, it will grow down, so I might actually be able to get enough to add to a salad

Second, my submission to the craft fair: met the on-line entry deadline! Great!! Hurray!! …except that I thought I would have to take the shawl in a day or two before the actual fair started. The reality is that I had to hand in the knitted garment a week before the fair so that it could be judged in its category. D’oh!
Have I submitted an item into a craft competition?
Technically yes.
Should I bother taking the shawl to be displayed even if it can’t be judged?
It’s better than nothing
Lesson learned – put deadlines on your Google calendar with reminders
Resolution – called the person in charge of the committee and was told that I was too late, items were judged the following day, but that I should enter again next year

Sucks! Oh well, got no one to blame but myself.

Leave a comment »

Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair

On May 26th I went to another small fiber festival, The Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair.  This is definitely one of the advantages of living in New England; with so many states close together and long winters there are plenty of Fiber Festivals taking place.  I actually missed the New Hamsphire one and chose to skip the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, since I had been to it so many times before.  It was a quick drive, about 2 hours, to go to this festival and worth the drive.  I discovered some great local yarns, I only wish I had the budget to buy everything that I craved. I ended up with four skeins of Sporty by Spunky Eclectic two pinks, two grays, all very vibrant colors.  I plan on making the Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn with them… unless something else comes along.  I also got three skeins of fingering weight yarn to practice steeking on a baby jacket.  I’m excited to start that project, but I want to finish some of the ones I am currently working on plus I have a few more baby gifts to make. Here are some of the photos of this great festival, I can’t wait to go again next year!!!


Leave a comment »

105th Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival

I went to this year’s first fiber festival this past weekend, the 105th Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival hosted by the Connecticut Sheep Breeder’s Association .  I was so giddy and happy to be meeting new local yarn that I didn’t even mind the rain.  In truth the rain was a bit of a blessing because you know that only the die hard fiber lovers would bother to come out to a festival during bad weather.  So it wasn’t crowded and there was plenty of room to walk around the handful of buildings.  It was a small festival, but I would consider it small since the only comparison I have is the Maryland Sheep and Wool which is one of the largest fiber festival in the East Coast.  Regardless I liked it and had fun!

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment »

4T: Tips for Surviving a Fiber Festival

This past weekend was the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, more commonly known simply as Rhinebeck, the city where it’s held.   I have been dreaming of going to this fiber festival for years.   Now that we are living in Connecticut we are only two hours away from it and I had really hoped this would be the year I made the journey, my husband even offered to make it a trip of it as my birthday gift.  But I am too close to my due date to be making such a long drive or comfortably explore the fair grounds with my big belly, so I will just have to wait a while longer.  Next year for sure!

Though I haven’t made it to Rhinebeck, I have been to many fiber festivals over the past few years and just wanted to share with you some tips if you’re venturing out to one near you.

  1. If you are on a strict budget bring cash only; leave the credit cards and check book at home (or give it to someone reliable to hold them for you for yarn emergencies only).  Most vendors will prefer cash anyways and some might even have shorter lines and/or offer discounts if you don’t use plastic.
  2. Come with a few patterns in mind.  If you know the weight and yardage of the yarn you need for that sweater that has been sitting in your Ravelry queue you won’t risk buying too much or not enough. Festival are great places to discover new brands and a terrible place to guess the correct number of yardage needed to complete a project.  Since a lot of the vendors are small farms or dyers their supply is limited especially in the matching dye lot, so make sure you get what you need to make what you want.
  3. Sun block, sun glasses and a hat OR an umbrella, rain coat and wellies.  A lot if festivals take place outdoors so you need to be prepared to fight the elements.  I’ve been to muddy fairs and sunny fairs, it is rare to have a picture perfect day in terms of weather.  If Mother Nature is being cooperative, at the very least make sure you wear comfortable shoes that will keep you moving all over the festival grounds for hours.  I’d suggest you avoid sandals and other open toed shoes, people will step on you and there are animals (and their waste) all over.
  4. Pack a lunch and/or snacks, especially if you have dietary restrictions.  Festival food is made up of delicious fried goodies and fresh meat from the farm (especially lamb), not a great option if you are glutten free or a vegetarian.  Plus that’s money you could be spending on yarn.  I usually put things in ziploc bags or a container that I can throw away when I’m done eating – that way I don’t have to worry about carrying tupperware around and I end up having more room in my bag for my purchases.
  5. Water, water and more water!  You need to be hydrated or you might just pass out from the excitement of seeing all of the new fiber goodies around you.  It’s better to take a Nalgene bottle with ice and let it melt gradually throughout the day, than it is to pay the overpriced plastic bottles that the food vendors will sell.
  6. Bags! You want to carry a purse with a strap that is long enough to go across your body, leave the cute tote at home it will weigh you down.   Another good option is an empty backpack, its great to carry all of your purchases and a lot easier to handle than all the various bags filled with your new fiber goodies.  Plus, it keeps your hands free to pet the yarn.
  7. Foldable chair, beach towel or picnic blanket.  Some people go to socialize if you bring your own seat you might just join a knitting circle and make new friends.  Just remember to keep it as compact as possible, because you will have to lug it around a very crowded area when you do your shopping.
  8. Proudly wear your beautiful knitted garments!  Outside of LYSs, Fiber festivals are the BEST place to flaunt your finished projects.  You will receive so many compliments and start so many conversations with complete strangers that share your excitement, it will make you dizzy.  So don’t be shy, go ahead and wear a head-to-toe knitted outfit if you choose.  You won’t be getting a second look b/c people think you’re the crazy knitting lady; nope, instead you’ll be getting a second look so that people can admire your craftsmanship.

Have I missed anything?  What tips do you have for spending all day at a Fiber Festival?

Leave a comment »

Powhatan’s Festival of Fiber 2013

The first Powhatan Festival of Fiber was held on April 27th this year and I was happy to attend.  It was relatively small, but given the fact that it was its first year it had a lot of great vendors.  That was one of the advantages of going to such a brand spanking new fiber festival; you come across beautiful new yarn that you didn’t even new existed!

One of my favorite stalls to visit and revisit during the few hours i was there was the Fair Hare Rabbitry.  They actually had live English Angora rabbits for sale!  They were so soft and fluffy to pet, that I wanted to take one home with me.  My husband had to talk me out of that idea because the dog would not do well with that addition.  But at least we can see the Rabbitry’s “inventory” on their live Bunny Webcam – how neat is that?!?

One of the most colorful booths I saw belonged to a small independent dyer called the Unplanned Peacock Studio.  One of the ladies and my current knit group mentioned that was the booth she wanted to go to the most because she loves the colors and the yarn.  I can vouch for the colors, they are as vivid and as beautiful as you would expect from a dyer that references a peacock in her studio’s name. 

As much as I wanted to take a few skeins home with me, I only went to ogle at the stuff for sale as I didn’t really have any cash to spend.  Luckily,  I got something better for free and that was an impromptu lesson on spinning!  I have tried to teach myself how to spin my own yarn off of books and YouTube videos, but there is nothing better than a hands on experience with someone who knows what they are doing!  I tracked down the tent where a local group of spinners were hanging out promoting their craft and started asking some questions.  Next thing I know I was asked to pull up chair, given a spindle and some roving and the lesson had begun! Awesome!  I did pretty well under the tutelage of the enabler, my yarn was coming out incredibly thin and hardly breaking. Of course that all changed one I tried it on my own at home, but I am still learning so I know I just have to keep at it.

Overall, I enjoyed the Powhatan Fiber Festival and would recommend it to anyone that wants to discover independent dyers and local farms.  It has everything your large size fiber festival has: sheep shearing demonstrations, sheep dog demonstrations, deliciously fatty festival foods, beautiful fiber, great notions, and people that live for the love of yarn.

1 Comment »

Upcoming Fiber Festivals!!

I am looking forward to going to two upcoming fiber festivals: The Powhatan Fiber Festival and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

This Saturday, April 27th, is the Powhatan Festival, a small local festival here in Virginia.  I have never been, but found out about it from my knitting group.  It sounds like its going to be really great, the vendors appear to be small local dyers and spinners.  That means I am going to come across a lot of unique one-of-a-kind yarns!  Which means I either have to go with a pattern in mind or be prepared to find one skein patterns that will work with whatever I might buy.

Then on the first weekend of May is the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival! With the exception of last year when I was living in California, I have been going to this mecca for yarn lovers since 2005 and I am excited to go back.  I am hoping to meet up with some friends from Philadelphia there, since I am very familiar with so many of the vendors.  A lot of them are LYS from around the East Coast, but there are some specialty booths around too – like the Signature Needles and the Flameworked Glass Needles that I mentioned a  post or two ago.

I am hoping that attending these two fiber festivals will pull me out of my knitting slump, this has never gone on for so long before.  I am still only knitting during my knit nights.  I need to soak up some powerful and positive yarny vibes, I need to re-energize my knitting mojo, I need to get my fiber groove back.

Regardless, I promise to share with you guys all of the exciting beauty at these Fiber Festivals and if you plan on being there look for me! 🙂

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: