And what did I bring home?

October 22, 2013

While I know that some people, especially those not close enough to get to the festival, were interested in seeing what they missed, SOME readers just want to know what came home with me.


Three bottles of wine from the Montezuma Winery in Seneca Falls, NY (two of Diamond, one of Wetland White), 2 pounds of blue-faced leicester roving, and 7 fleeces. 6 are Icelandic and one is a Romney/Corriedale cross. The REAL prize was one of the Icelandic fleeces:


Did I NEED another fleece? Probably not, considering how much plain vanilla white wool I dropped off at Zeilinger’s. But, oh, the little undercoat thel locks with the corkscrew crimp tips! Somehow, EVERY spinner needs a fleece like this!



Rhinebeck in Review

October 21, 2013


Rhinebeck 2013 has come and gone. If you couldn’t make it this year, or if you are too far away to attend, here is a brief glimpse of some of the things you missed.

First of all, the scenery around Rhinebeck, with the leaves just turning and the hills just appearing in the distance.

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Closer and closer: a view of the Hudson River from the Rhinecliff Bridge: sorry this is not a better shot, but it is hard to shoot a good photo from a moving car. If you’ve never seen the Hudson River, this is actually a pretty majestic thing to see.

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We had made good time in our journey and were on the bridge at 9:00 AM sharp. We missed the opening gate of the show, but figured we are about 3 miles from the fairgrounds at this point so would be there fairly quickly. We were wrong. It took one solid hour to get from the bridge to the fairgrounds, thanks to traffic. It took 20 minutes to get from the bridge to the intersection where you make the turn for the fair, where this billboard greets visitors:

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We crawled the next 40 minutes. It was 10 AM when we finally pulled into the parking lot. This presented a problem, because I had the car stuffed with wool to drop off with Zeilinger’s for processing and was supposed to rendezvous around 11 AM with someone to pick up a rather large spinning wheel. The one thing I wanted to take a look at first was the fleece sale, so we decided to take a quick sweep through before dropping off the wool.

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The fleece sale is pretty big. The people who HAD arrived at 9 AM had already made their picks. See the sign to the left that says “Medium”? Right behind there is the cash register. See the line that begins on the left, goes all the way back to the wall, crosses over the back, and starts down the right-hand side? That is the check out line. A quick sweep of the fleece showed there was nothing I was missing, plus the prices were pretty hefty. Relived I wasn’t going to miss out on anything, we headed over to Barn 31 to find Zeilinger’s booth and figure out how to drop the wool off. We were told to drive up behind the buildings to the vendor parking where their trailer was set up.

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There is a WHOLE other post to be had out of the story of those wool bales! I may even have to run a contest to guess the weight — it was more than I expected. Once the wool was safely dropped off, we made our contact for the wheel, which is also a post for another day. Once the wheel was safely stowed, we had the fair to ourselves. Before barraging you all with the purchases, here are some of the sights and sounds of Rhinebeck

There were goats being judged:

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While some of their brethern waited their turn:

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No pressure to perform here: this fellow enjoyed a munch of hay.

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Sheep were being primped, fluffed, and buffed for their big appearances:

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And out in front of the show barns suddenly came the cry: “Make way for the llamas!”

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A llama parade! Not sure if this fellow is leading an appaloosa or a cameleopard!  The next llama in line was equally interesting in color and in cut:

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This noble fellow brought up the rear of the parade:

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People were on parade, too. The fair seemed to be particularly packed this year.

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Handknits were in abundance, sweaters, shawls, and hats. The morning was milder, so some visitors eschewed all outerwear. As the day wore on, the clouds rolled in and it turned into a bit of a blustery autumn afternoon. If you could find a little place to sit and relax, it was fun to crowd-watch. You might even see a young lady out walking her sheep:

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We came home with the wheel I was picking up, some raw fleeces, two pounds of blue-faced leicester roving, and 3 bottles of wine from the Montezuma Winery. The day was crowded, the traffic was bad, but we met up with old friends, made some new ones, and went home tired and happy.



Rhinebeck 2013 Sweater: Enniscorthy by Maggie Jackson

October 14, 2013



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Yarn is Rowan’s Summer Tweed: Sweater is mango, bolero is torrid, contrasting stripe is toast. Bolero on a size 9 needle, sweater on a size 8 and this helped with sizing. The bolero is a tiny bit large on me. Great buttons from the local JoAnn’s crafts.

This is the first full sweater I’ve ever knitted so, in case you can’t tell, I am just overjoyed that it came out as well as it did. Are you going to Rhinebeck on Saturday? Say hello if you recognize the sweater!


Maggie Jackson’s Enniscorthy Bolero

October 6, 2013

Irish knitwear designer Maggie Jackson wrote almost two dozen books of patterns for her lovely garments. It was not until I stumbled on Volume 16, Irish Fashion Knits, that I discovered her ornate and seemingly elaborate designs. Seemingly, because they are deceptively simple. Most are squares and rectangles and many are knitting samplers, containing squares and panels of different stitches. Combined on the same panels, the different stitches blend and contrast and play off one another to produce truly unique garments. The instructions are not always easy, being written as abbreviations, but a little perseverance and they are fairly easy to parse out, section by section.

As I was finishing this year’s Rhinebeck sweater, the Enniscorthy, I realized I hadn’t photographed LAST year’s Rhinebeck sweater, the Enniscorthy Bolero. So, on a foggy, misty Sunday afternoon, off we went to the beach and the newly-restore boardwalk:

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The Enniscorthy Bolero has an asymmetical closing and a huge, sweeping collar that doubles as a hood. There are miles of moss stitches in this!

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I also learned how to do a bobble stitch with this. The bolero is knitted in one piece, starting with the left cuff and ending on the right — knitted right across from one arm to the other, stitches cast on and cast off as needed.

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I couldn’t find  the Maggie Jackson yarns readily available in the U.S., so substituted Rowan’s Summer Tweed. The bolero is knitted in the color “Torrid,” with contrast of “Toast.” Along the final edge of the hood I added two rows of “Mango,” which is the color of the matching sweater I am finishing up.

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Summer Tweed is 70% silk and 30% cotton. I have read that silk is four times warmer than wool and I believe it. This was extremely warm on a 60-degree day, even with a loose knit that let the breezes through it.

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In the “if I were to do it all over again” department, the one size fits all was a little big on me. Because it is knit end-to-end from the cuffs, this tends to stretch end-to-end, even with the structuring of tubes to prevent stretching. I had to go back and take it up at the shoulder line, folding the fabric and stitching it in additional tubes. This did tuck it up by a few inches on each side. If the arms stretch again, I would be inclined to add two more of these folded tubes, one on each arm.

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This knitted up fairly quickly (for me), probably about a month’s time. It took just under 9 skeins of Summer Tweed on a size 9 needle and I had I known it needed to be shorted, I probably could have gotten it done in 7 skeins. It was a challenging pattern to decipher, and certainly challenged my knitting skills by making me learn new stitches, so all and all, I would need to say this was a successful project.

Northanger Abbey Mitts

October 4, 2013


I am a big mitten fan. To me, they keep my hands warmer than gloves. So, I’m always on the lookout for a good mitten pattern.

I am also a fan of the specialty pattern magazines like Jane Austen Knitting, even though the patterns are typically aimed at sweet young things who envision themselves as Austen heroines. However, there are often accessories like shawls and mittens that are cross-generational enough as to not give me the “mutton dressed as lamb” look, if you get my meaning.

These mittens were one of those pattens:

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I happened to have two skeins of Berroco Blackstone Tweed in my stash, although a different color than used in the original pattern. The simple design appealed to me, along with the long arms. Something else I liked — while this yarn is suggested for use on a size 8 needle, these mitts use a size 5 and I always like a dense fabric. This is dense but keeps its soft hand.

It is not quite mitten weather yet, but the firepit area makes a lovely knitting spot:

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The weekend is shaping up to be another one of mild, sunny days so I am hoping the get the mate to the first mitten completed.

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