If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Rhinebeck Blowback, Or, The Attitude Is Gratitude

Dear Kay,
Seriously, it took me about a week to get over the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I may never get over it. Maybe it was the superb weather, or the breathtaking and MEMORABLE traffic, or the serendipity of running into so many cool knitters–whatever the convergence, Rhinebeck was deeply, awesometastically great. I think it was that moment of bonding with that Cotswold sheep that did it. She was telling me something, and yes it did sound a lot like “BLAAAA. BLAAAA.” But there was a lot in that BLAAAA. Hey sheep: I get it. I totally agree.
It was inspiring to be surrounded by people who are comfortable in their skin, who don’t give a crap about listening to the beauty industry. (Now there’s an oxymoron for you.) There were all sorts of people at Rhinebeck who knocked me out with their cheer and their matter-of-fact way of navigating life–everybody was having such a good time doing the goofy thing we like to do.
I took maybe one photo at Rhinebeck, and it was this:
This is Ann Weaver, the dervish designer who is modeling her own pattern, the brilliantly Zen Albers Shawl from her first book, Craft Work Knit. Kay, you may recognize this as the shawl you yourself finished in the car on the way up to Rhinebeck. Isn’t it amazing? Don’t you get kind of tearful just looking at it?
I bought a copy of Ann’s spectacular new book, White Whale, Volume 1. It’s a collection of patterns based on Moby-Dick. I don’t think I need to add anything to that. I also bought a whale-gray batch of yarn from Tess Designer Yarns. Oh, Tess, why do you abuse us so? Your yarn is insane. I was lucky to get out of your booth with my credit rating intact. I have never seen so many grown women weeping openly at a skein of cashmere.
Here’s possibly the first memorial yarn I have ever bought:
I bought it from kilt-rocking Mel and David, who live in Maine. David sells the heck out of Red Maple Sportswear. As for the yarn, it’s Henrietta. I mean, it’s yarn made from their neighbor’s creature (a sheep? an alpaca?) who passed away recently. All I can remember is Mel telling me this story about the kibbutz they live on, or something like that, and there was this friend’s awesome sheep/alpaca, and now she’s gone, but here’s her fiber captured forever in these lovingly spun skeins.
ETERNAL LIFE FOR HENRIETTA. I had to get in on that.
And Finally
I continue to work away on Laurel from Rowan 50. This is one of those deceptive patterns. Once you get your comfort zone set, you start watching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. (Have you seen these? Young love!) Then all of a sudden you discover a wayward cable snaking halfway across the sweater. It’s a good thing I like to knit, because there’s one five-row stretch in there that I redid three times.
Wishing you authenticity, and enough frowns,




  1. I saw Before Sunrise before I moved to Vienna. And then I lived there for four years. Now just thinking about the movie makes me homesick for Wien. I haven’t seen Before Sunset, I’ll have to check it out.

  2. The Tess Designer Yarns booth had some beautiful stuff, but NO prices, nothing was labeled properly. A big turnoff.
    Hopefully next year, she will have prices on her product.

  3. Oooh. I am in the middle of reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (highly recommend).
    Coincidence? I think not.
    Still floating on fluffy Rhinebeck clouds, trying to rise above the fact that when I got home I FELTED THAT ANN WEAVER SHAWL. Stay tuned for plaintive wailing or stoic denial of pain.
    xoxo Kay

  4. I guess that Ann Weaver book won’t have a pattern for a white jacket in it, she’ll be saving that for the next book.
    HA HA MELVILLE HUMOR I’m a nerd.

  5. I love the Albers Shawl. I won’t finish mine this year, but hopefully for next year. The density of the fabric makes me hope that mine looks so good when I am done!

  6. I finally saw my first small batch of Albers squares at the MCA in Chicago – loved them! Now to make the shawl. . . .

  7. The kibbutz they live on….”snort”
    Missed it and you both!

  8. Took a class from Ann Weaver and she is the coolest. Sparks of creativity just fly off her. She’s also a warm, very nice human being.

  9. I heart Ann Weaver but that Botox website creeped me out. I’m focusing on the White Whale book, and the Albers shawl. And completely envious of the Tess booth.
    (Melissa, when I saw Tess’ booth at Stitches East, they had price lists that you could use while you wandered around cooing over the yarn.)

  10. Yes, young love movies — talk, talk and more spirited talk …. ah, youth.
    Is there a cable genie around? YarnHarlot also had some cable issues this week … hope it isn’t catching!

  11. say there – the loverly albers shawl picture you posted – it looks like it might be a heavier weight than laceweight her pattern calls for? was it, do ye think? and if it was, what do you suppose weight it was, or could be? i’m thinking a bit heavier would be a bit warmer – but too heavy, and you’d be wearing an elephant?

  12. It’s difficult to pull off a movie consisting solely of dialogue and make it so interesting, but it works for Before Sunrise because so much of it was improvised.

  13. My Albers is indeed very slightly heavier gauge than the Isager lace weight called for. It is the Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2 ply, which they call lace weight but it’s a bit juicier than most laceweights.
    It felted like a champion felter, by the way. Did I mention that?

  14. Those Botox ladies look high as hell after their “treatment”. I’ll just keep on frowning.

  15. Aw, thanks for posting the great photo of me and for the shout-out. I only wish you had also captured me at “maximum frown.” My brow at maximum frown rivals ANY of those “before” photos, and I like it that way! Wither under my displeasure, those who see me at “maximum frown”!

  16. kay – i only saw your post (that you had felted yours) after i sent my comment in about the heavier weight yarn. now i can’t wait to see your’n – i’m hoping your idea of felting and mine are the same…cheers, libby

  17. once in awhile it helps to know experts
    make mistakes after one has had to rip out
    row after row after row to find one mistake
    thank you for the links my wish list is growing

  18. I love Rowan.

  19. I’m sure Henrietta would have been thrilled in her own sheepie way to be remembered thus.


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