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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

Knitters, Knitters Everywhere...

...but not a one on camera! In other words, I went to Rhinebeck, and the only pictures I brought back were of animals. Er, non-human animals, I guess. Also, I brought back effusive praise for the joy that is Rhinebeck. Get cozy, this is a long one.

First things first, I guess. My friend Cathy drove me there, then squired me around all day. She has the Rhinebeck experience, see, and knew just the right order in which to do things. As she is wise and good, she said shopping first.

First, yarn for the wedding stole. No, I don't know which stole I'm making yet, but that's no reason to turn down bargain prices on alpaca/silk prettiness.

I was originally looking for something finer and slipperier, but I was convinced otherwise. The Q & A went like this.

Cathy: When's the wedding?
Me: Next September.
Cathy: And where is it?
Me: Minnesota.
Cathy: So it's going to be cold then.
Me: Oh. Yeah. I guess it is. Oh.

See how dumb? See how I just NEED other knitters around to keep me from doing stupid stuff all the time? So yes, I went for a little heavier weight than I thought originally, and a little warmer fiber than I thought originally. It will be a little more substantial, and may actually keep the bride from shivering like a scared bunny all day.

Other than that, it was all sock yarn. Don't worry though; I am not feeling deprived. First, some boring solids.

These are "Aussie Sock", 90% Aussie superwash merino, 10% nylon. 400 yards. $13 each. I KNOW! Although the color in the picture is awful, these are an olive and a dark brown. They're destined to be socks for BBMM; he is direly in need of socks made from soft, squishy yarn. I'm thinking of a houndstooth or herringbone pattern; I'm ready for a little colorwork. In all honesty, it was difficult to spend money on basic solid sock yarn when there was so much hand dyed beauty about me. I probably should have gotten more. But then there was this:

Can't you just see all that Autumny goodness wrapped around your feet? It's Spirit Trail Fiberworks, 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon. It's loosely spun, but I think the nylon content will keep it durable. There's no color name listed, but it's mostly pumpkin and olive, with a little bit of cocoa brown thrown in. This is actually for BBMM too; they're the perfect colors for him. If this knits up the way I think it will, I'll just do some plain stockinette socks, or a simple garter rib. I don't want anything that will distract from that gorgeous color.

Last but not least, something for me! Maybe more than one thing.

This is all from my very favorite booth; Brooks Farm Yarn. We blazed through when we first arrived, and for some reason I didn't see the WALL full of sock yarn. When we went back the second time, I did. Wowsa. It's called Acero, the sock yarn. It's superwash wool and silk and viscose, and the shimmer will just kill you. And the dyeing... We spent a solid hour in there, and the whole time we kept saying "OK, I want this one. No wait, look at that one! Oh, and how about that!" I swear, I don't know how I made it out of there with only three skeins. While we were in the checkout line, Cathy asked who did the dying. The guy we were talking to pointed to someone and said "Sherry does". Seriously, one person. First, she's AMAZING, and second, how does one person dye all that yarn?! There must have been at least 50 colorways. Crazy talented, she is. I think maybe you need some close-ups. you know, so I can prove it to you.

First the solid:

It's not really a solid though. It's LIKE a solid, but upon closer inspection it's heathery and marled and the fibers all took the dye differently and I want to use it for a pillow. I have been looking for a red semi-solid for a long time, and I thought I knew exactly what I wanted,but I was totally wrong. This is what I wanted; exactly this.

And here's the variegated.

We have a phrase in the garment industry; denim-friendly. It basically means something that will look good with jeans. This here is the friendliest of the denim-friendly. It's also very me-friendly. I love it so much.

After the shopping, we took a little lunch break. I wanted to go see the animals, but Cathy said we had to look at fleece first. And wouldn't you know it, fleece is pretty cool! I didn't take pictures of it, which is probably for the best, because who wants lanolin all over their camera lens? Quite a learning experience, the fleece gazing. Cathy taught me about crimp and staple length and all that jazz. She's trying to turn me into a spinner. Her favorite is Cormo, because she loves spinning with it. My favorite is Ramboulet, because mmmm, silky... I thought it was cool that I walked in knowing nothing and walked out going "oh that one feels dry" and "what's with all the vegetable matter?". Anyway, I will, from this day forward, snort in disgust at the phrase "wool".

After the fleece, I got to see the animals. My favorites, of course, were the llamas and alpacas, although I can't really tell them apart. BBMM and I decided afterward that the long snouted ones are probably llamas and the shorter snouted ones were the alpacas. The fact that we both agreed probably means that we're wrong, but hey! Look over there! Cute things!

And then came the sheep. This one loved the camera, and the people, and was trying to say hi to everyone.

This was my favorite sheep; his butt wiggled a lot when he walked, and seemed very excited to be there. He was quite talkative. Plus, chocolate wool!

So yes, My First Rhinebeck may be over, but the memories (and the yarn) will live on for a while. Certainly long enough to ensure that I go back next year.