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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

Rhinebeck Redux

This was my third year at Rhinebeck, and I went in with my third different strategy.

The first year I went in almost completely planless, and let the veterans who brought me guide me around. I knew I needed a white laceweight, but since I didn't know what to expect, I didn't want to limit myself going in. I was completely overwhelmed, and I actually had to check the blog to figure out what I bought that year. As it turns out, I have knit all of it, so not bad.

Last year I went in with plans. I had a shawl and a stole I knew I wanted to make. I had to get something for a scarf for BBMM. I did quite well actually; I got those three items, and only one extra skein of sock yarn. Somehow, though, it wasn't as FUN as the first year. Or rather, the festival was just as fun, but my focus seemed to distract me from the pretty.

This year I went back to planless, almost. The fact is, I have several sweaters worth of yarn that I have plans for, but haven't touched. Sock Summit ensured that I have reached critical mass in sock yarn. I still have last year's stole on the needles, so no needs on that front. I just had no idea what I could possibly find to buy.

BWAA HA HA HA HA! Oh silly girl, of COURSE I found something to buy.

Anyway, although planless, I did go in prepared. I brought the Ann Budd's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements, and a calculator. I wanted to make sure if I found something that grabbed me, I would have enough to make whatever it told me it wanted to be. I got a hotel reservation for Saturday night. I didn't want to feel frantic (like I usually do); I wanted to shop slowly, browse copiously, and not brave insane crowds for some of the more popular booths. I will say that I will never, ever do this in one day again. Staying over is totally the way to go, and I'm booking the hotel for next year right away.

So, what was my haul? Small, but much beloved!

First, the pay-off for my strategy. We showed up right at 9 on Saturday morning, and headed straight to the A and B barns; yarn mecca as far as I'm concerned. The Fold's booth was already packed, although not as bad as usual (I have never once been in their booth, because the crush of people generally drives me away). We kept checking back during the day, and by late afternoon the booth was almost completely empty. And, there were some Socks That Rock mill ends left. Oddly, I have never, ever knit with this yarn, so I thought it was time I see what all the fuss is about.

This is the lightweight, and I'm really excited to knit with it. I've been using mostly semi-solids lately, or handpaints with very short color bursts, so this will be a departure. I think I know what I'm making, it just needs to wait for a quiet moment to get everything ready.

Next, something that just grabbed me. Another skein of sock yarn, in my usual colors. The colors reminded me of a very specific sunrise I saw a few weeks ago from my apartment window. I figure if something gives me an intense sense memory, it's really trying hard to come home with me.

This is from Ellen's Half Pint Farm. This is her wool/nylon base, and I really like it. It's a very skinny fingering weight, nice and squishy.

And finally, the big fall. Maple Creek Farms is one of the booths that grabs me every year. i think their colors are incredible, and they have such interesting yarn bases. Somewhere during the day, I started thinking about getting a sweater's worth of yarn, in something soft enough to be next to the skin. I found it here.

This is a superwash merino/nylon/donegal blend. Hmm, that content makes it sound like sock yarn, doesn't it? Yeah. I bought a sweater worth of fingering weight. That's a whole lot of yarn. I may be insane, but this stuff is irresistible. It's unbelievably soft; I keep squishing it, then checking the label to make sure it doesn't have silk or tencel or something in it. I couldn't get the real color of it in the photos; it's a little more teal than it looks. It's a semi-solid, so it's also got some grey and denim blue in it. I said that I wouldn't cast anything on until I finish another huge project I'm working on, but you can see evidence of my failure above. I actually wound the yarn Saturday night, knit the gauge swatch on my way back to the festival Sunday morning. You know, because I needed needles. Ahem.

I found the perfect pattern earlier this week, and I accidentally cast on Friday. My other huge project is not done. Whoops.

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Campfire Socks

It would seem that I have accidentally become a sock pattern designer. I have a Ravelry pattern shop and everything!

Campfire Socks, a pattern designed especially for hand-painted yarns. It's got a slip-stitch sole and a garter stitch base, both of which make it extra warm and cozy. After a chilly, wet weekend at Rhinebeck, they seemed especially perfect.

This sock was truly a labor of love. I bought the yarn well over a year ago, and have spent the entire time searching for a pattern that would showcase it. I couldn't find one, despite starting at least a half dozen socks with it. Finally, I realized I was going to have to figure it out on my own. I swatched stitch patterns until I finally found a combination that made the colors pop instead of obscuring them.

A few rounds of thank yous, first to BBMM. He took the photos, as always. He assisted with some artful prose. And, I went to Sock Summit and Rhinebeck in the span of two months, and he didn't complain. Next, to my two test knitters, Ilona and Sandy. These women were amazing, and this pattern is ten times better because of them.

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