Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.


Dear Kay,
At the airport last night, waiting to fly back to Nashville, I’m sitting, with that stunned and hollow-headed feeling you get when, in fact, your head is not hollow but filled to the point that there’s no room left, and I see this:
and think, Pretty roving!
The jaunt to Rhinebeck was that way, start to finish. The fiber, it was everywhere, starting at the Philadelphia airport where I come across this item being displayed in a superarchival, This-Be-Art way:
So felted! So . . . vertical!
Having never been to the New York State Sheep and Fiber Festival, I was curious curious curious. We didn’t actually have all that much time, so the whole thing was telescoped into 24 hours of constant talking and gawking and hawking.
I had read about how overwhelming this event can be, how there’s just too much.
About one minute after arriving, I kind of got a feeling for what people meant. Overheard cell phone conversation: “Uh, yeah, come meet us over by the fried pickle booth, you know, near the dude in tights riding the two Percherons.”
About two minutes after arriving, we began seeing great people. After about four minutes, I realized that this Rhinebeck thing was going to be seriously fun.
I can’t believe we were interviewed by Curtis and Lisa Sliwa of the Guardian Angels! AW JUST KIDDING! That’s Suzanne and the team of Knit a Yarn, a new video podcast. Looking forward to hearing Suzanne’s talk with the dude in tights riding the two Percherons.
Dutchess County Wandering
Kay, your KnittyNav2000 worked just fine–punch in “Morehouse Merino party” and off we went.
This shindig was great, in a kick-over-a-skein-of-wool-and-you’ll-find-someone-cool kind of way. The hosts Margrit Lohrer and Albrecht Pichler seemed unfazed by hordes of knitters clogging up traffic at the Fork in the Road (there really is a literal 10-foot-tall fork outside their shop). Their woolly lifestyle is pretty much covetable. I got to say hello to designing hootyhoos Veronik Avery, Melanie Falick, and Kristin Nicholas–very cool. And at about this point it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to see six knitters around a table cranking socks. Everywhere I went, I saw people happily clicking away. Totally parallel universe.
Westward Ho!
We punched “Ravelry party” into the KnittyNav2000. It was as close to a rave as a pair of superfoxy matrons like us will ever see. The mix of locals and knitters was not unlike, you know, when the Amazon spills into the Atlantic Ocean and you can see this line of demarcation where salt water meets fresh? Well, I admired your ambassadorial tendencies in chatting up that FBI agent. I should have known that a former FED like you could sniff out the Law in a room. High FIVE!
I’m so glad you got photos on Sunday at the Authors Tent, and I’m especially glad you gave equal time to your sorry face under Lisa’s giant hat. Thank you to everybody who came by to say hello. It totally made our day.
Survival Strategy
Now, contrary to your photo of me with the mohair yarn saying it was a random impulse purchase, I bought that stuff having arrived at Rhinebeck with a carefully constructed plan. I had decided that the only way to get through the many barns of yarn was to get a project in mind, and aim for the yarn to make it. A coat. That was it. One coaty batch of yarn.
Ever since you blogged about the Coat of Mimi on August 30, I have toted around the idea of that plaid coat. Wishing for one, dreaming of one. A light, fluffy coat with a lining, perfect for these new days of global warming.
Narrowing my aim didn’t really help all that much. Even the angoras were wearing mohair.
I ended up with this beautiful, hand-dyed stuff from Mohair in Motion, located in (of course) White Cloud, Michigan. I really like the fact that if I run short of yarn, I won’t be chasing a dye lot or calling a wholesaler; I’ll be calling up this nice lady who will make some more for me.
Which brings me to my superearnest conclusion about Rhinebeck. There’s a huge amount of humanity in a place like that. I got to see so many great people. I was fascinated by each booth of yarn and roving and scented candles (seriously, is it possible to have a festival of ANY KIND without the scented candles going into the mix?). The longer I wandered, the more I felt the focus of all these humans on this one little sliver of a pastime. The more I saw, the more I wanted to take home some yarn that had the mark of the person who made it. I ended up at Spinners Hill, where I bought this:
Which had this tag on it:
You know that you’ve got some handmade stuff when it has a handwritten tag. Lisa dyed the fibers, blended the fibers, and spun the fibers. I’m grateful that Lisa is letting go of this stuff so I can take a turn with it.
PS Still worrying about that hotel bedcover thingie.
What’s up with that? A bed napkin? Are they, like, acknowledging that hotel bedspreads are totally creepy, yet they don’t want to let anybody think that they forgot about bedspreads altogether?
PSS Thanks, Kelly, fellow member of the Class of ’85 Fightin’ Wildcats, for hanging with us.
Your expression captures exactly how I felt, all weekend long.




  1. I am too too envious. Looks like it was a great weekend.

  2. It sounds like soo much fun..one year, I will be there, too..

  3. the family forces conspired against me but it is always a blast reading about everyone else’s experience!

  4. I love the tag from your own personal spinner. I bought some handspun at a local yarn shop and the tag included the name of the sheep too! I am now knitting a scarf from “Andy”.
    And I’m with you on those bed thingys…what’s up with that!

  5. It can be a bit overwhelming, can’t it? I’m so glad you guys were able to make it and glad I finally got to meet y’all. And I still haven’t fully rested up.

  6. I just spent a few nights in a hotel in Tucson with one of those things. I wondered, too. My idea was a Bed antimacassar – but napkin works, too. I was a little afraid of it and what its dark tapestry weave might be hiding…..

  7. my bed looked exactly like yours, Marriott courtyard perhaps? My husband and I had no clue what it was for but upon further inspection of the room I found the lost bedspread in the closet. We just tossed our…bed runner (?) on the floor.

  8. I just want to bury my FACE in that wonderful handspun (I just bonked my nose on the monitor, thxbye). That looks like a true Trip to the Holy (“Holey”?) Land of Knitting, Fibers &c, and I’m going to see if the next 12 months is enough to get up a party of like-mindeds to wend our way thereward. And thanks for YOUR pictures too, not a bad one in the lot!

  9. Not Percherons – Brabants.
    But the guy was DEFINITELY in tights!

  10. I am getting so homesick looking at this! It IS a great artsy area, AND I missed getting to go to the Ravelry party too!!! Thanks for the great pictures. Guess I’ll just sit here and cry in my knitting! Oh, well, that’s what rainy days (and Mondays) are good for……

  11. Hey.. my high school was the WILDCATS too!
    Our school colors were black and gold– what were your school colors?
    Thanks for the photos full of awesome yarny goodness. Someday, somehow.. I wish to go to one of these special events: where ‘yarn lovers’ are all walking around at the same time.. in the same place.. thinking, dreaming of yarn and knitting and other fiber hobbies.

  12. They weren’t Percherons, though. They were Brabants. And they were magnificent (not to mention the rider….)
    Fiber everywhere … as if I needed to learn how to spin on top of knitting!! But I’m hooked now (somewhat like a rug …) Oy!

  13. Ohh,
    to be wandering a yarn festival- when I grow up, I hope I get to do neat stuff like this!!

  14. Every year I have to go through these kind of posts on peoples’ blogs – I’m breaking down. I’m going to have to go, it looks amazing, like a Star Trek convention feels for Trekies.

  15. I loved how the man on the Brabants kept appearing behind Steph while she was talking. Quite distracting! I brought a friend who had expected a lot more rustic yarn and was completely blown away by how many different fibers were represented. Thanks for the pix, and the hat!

  16. I loved how the man on the Brabants kept appearing behind Steph while she was talking. Quite distracting! I brought a friend who had expected a lot more rustic yarn and was completely blown away by how many different fibers were represented. Thanks for the pix, and the hat!

  17. Actually, that’s exactly what the bed runner thing is- people have gotten wise to the unlaunderedness of hotel bead spreads, and hotels responded by using all white duvet covers. Then the guests said it looked too sterile, and the designers needed to reinforce their color scheme. Hence, the bed runner.

  18. looks like a lot of fun.just went to an amazing horse show and country festival with all this and more. My fathers perinees brought home her own sheep from the local sheep trials. I guess being a sheep dog with out sheep will drive one to do some crazy things. he ordered her to take it back, which, she reluctantly did poor dog! Iam trying to carve out more time to do these things but when you work 12 hours a day and teach knitting lessons 2x a week on your days off there is not much left.christine

  19. So felted! So… vertical! So… disturbingly reminiscent of both a ’50s bath accessory and a cuddly Ron Jeremy stand-in at the same time!


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