The weather is changing. The leaves on the trees are changing. No matter how many times I beg them to stay on the trees as I cross the Croton Reservoir to go home, they disobey me and fall. Now I see patches of gray branches between the oranges, reds and yellows. Summer is gone. The bright green of the foliage is gone. I resign myself to a shift in the temperatures and the morning frost on my car's windshield. I try to look for a bright spot in the up and coming cold winter and I find it. The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. Now it's okay to celebrate the crisp weather, the apples ready for picking and a warmer jacket.
My friend Chris and I made our annual Saturday foray up the Taconic to beautiful Rhinebeck, New York. She graciously offered to drive and I took up up on it. First, we dropped our sons off at the high school at 7:30 AM so they can take their PSAT's. My son, who is only in 10th grade, is taking it as a practice test. Chris' son is in 11th grade. His will count. Either way I sort of feel sorry for both of them since their moms are teachers and are probably annoying about stuff like this. (Yes, I am!) I stayed up with Ben the night before so he can go over the types of questions the PSAT's has. While he was reading and calculating, I pored over two of my newest knitting books, Simple Style (Ann Budd) and Reversible Knits (Iris Schreier)to see if there's anything I want to make and if I can find the yarn at the festival. I made a cheat sheet for myself with a little sketch of the project and the yarn requirements. (People complimented my organizational skills at the festival but I told them that it filled up the time while I helped Ben. BUT I would definitely do it again!0
We reached the admission gates at 8:45. It wasn't supposed to start until 9 but we were let in. You could feel the excitement in the air. One woman commented, as she was walking through the gates, that this was her drug. We could all relate to that! Chris and I have a habit of walking through every booth and exhibition hall and then we go back to buy what we liked. For some reason we are both hesitant shoppers. Maybe it's the economy or maybe it's just us. It gives us an excuse to see everything twice. We quickly ran into one of our Knit-Out people, Carol, whose birthday was coming up. For a birthday gift, her husband told her to "Shop with Abandon!" We liked that! I was not going to shop with abandon this year but I can live vicariously through Carol's purchases. In fact, Chris and I were there when she made her purchase of a beautiful hand-dyed cherry red yarn that she'll make a sweater out of. We separated soon after and Chris and I went our merry little way.
I ran into Karin, a KnitTalk person, who was at her usual booth. It's an annual tradition to say hi to her. It's like that old play, "Same Time, Next Year". She looked as well as ever. It was amazing how much Chris and I talked during our walking around. First, the people watching aspect is amazing there. People are wearing some beautiful things they've made and some very questionable ones, especially hats. Kathy, another Knit-Out person, who was waiting on line for the famous Chicken Pot Pies, had her camera out with a big zoom lens. She was taking pictures of the crazy hat people and trust me, there were many. I hope she makes a slide show of her unknowing subjects.
We walked through all of the buildings and noticed in the totally enclosed structure, after all the buildings with animal stalls, that only one side of the top floor was being used. It use to be both sides with a very narrow space to walk through. I guess this year the organizers felt it was too crowded and had the festival spread out into other buildings. Personally, it was a great idea. Less congestion, happy people. It's funny how vendors usually stay in the same space year after year and it's even funnier how I remember where they are. We realized, after running into my friends Lori and Sandy from temple, that we forgot to run to the Socks that Rock booth. That booth usually has people lined up out the door with their arms full of colorful sock yarn. We hit it later but I didn't feel like spending so much for sock yarn. I also didn't need it. The colors are gorgeous and their exclusivity makes them a hot commodity. You can only get some of their colors by being a member of their Rockin' Sock Club.
One of our traditions when we attend the Sheep & Wool is buying Chris' husband fudge. There is a building where non-wool things are sold. Believe it or not! There's wine, cheeses, hot sauces, cookies and more. Then there's the fudge lady. I'm not ta big fudge person. It's like sticking sugar into my fillings. I'm also not the biggest chocolate person either so I would like to taste non-traditional flavors. We both bought some hot sauce that's more like a condiment. It tasted great. My husband is a big fan of things hot and spicy so I knew he would be interested in something like this. Then we went for lunch. Another tradition Chris and I have is that we eat a baked potato for lunch. It's at the same booth as the chicken pot pies but we get ours first since the demand for the potatoes is far less than the pies. But we broke tradition! We didn't feel like standing on that line. We decided to eat something new! (Do we sound like little old ladies or what?) We went Cajun! It was so delicious and more filling because we had protein! And it was so warm! (Did I mention that it was getting nippy?) We also had a band play while we ate: banjo, bass, guitar and drums. I felt like we were at Splash Mountain in Disney World!
We were ready to make our way back through the stalls and buildings to start purchasing yarn. We hooked up with Carol again who was truly shopping with abandon. She bought some beautiful yarn to make herself a sweater. It was a snowy white with subtle strands of grays and blues. We called Edie, our intense shopper and hooked up with her and the four of us made it to Wild Apple Hill Farms. That's where Carol bought this apple red worsted weight yarn. I thought it would be good for the jacket I wanted to make. I chose a blue/teal color and bought up the last 5 skeins they had. When I turned around, there were two more of my friends, Lori and Sandi, who I know from temple. Then there was Loren, another temple person who is so creative in so many different media. Chris called me the mayor but I told her that I had a lot more knitting connections than she does. That's why I knew so many knitters. I turned back to where the yarn was and there was Edie with her arms full of garnet and Carol was holding a granite color. We pooled our purchases together to get the maximum discount and that was my first purchase. What a rush! Then I found some merino yarn to make a scarf out of. It was perfect because I needed two different colors and I didn't have to worry about matching colors. These were probably the ends of dye lots. I was feeling great. I also forgot that I bought a very cool shawl pattern. I didn't like the color they used in the kit but once I found out that I could just buy the pattern, it was mine. It uses sock yarn so I'll get some elsewhere. Here's a picture of the pattern: I had some projects covered, I had fun with my friends, I was now able to say goodbye to Sheep & Wool 2009.
Chris and I decided to leave at this point and decided that getting their early was the best way to go. I really didn't want to come home yet. I was enjoying myself so much but all good times must end. I'm sooo looking forward to next year.