Rhinebeck 2012: The Results

Once again, we came, we shopped, we bought more than we probably should’ve, and we had a blast doing all of it. Of course I’m talking about the annual knitter’s pilgrimage that is Rhinebeck, or formally known as the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival.

There are three reasons I do this: 1. It’s a great opportunity to spend a day out of the city without going too far and spending too much money. 2. I get to indulge in my hobby, which incorporates bargain shopping and 3. My (self) appointed task each year to encourage my friend Nikki to give into her temptations to impulse buy yarn.

I’m not one who enjoys getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a train, but that’s exactly what I did to make the subway trek to the Penn Station to meet Nikki. The journey, in this case a 2 hour ride on Amtrak along the Hudson river is as relaxing as the destination. There was evidence of some rainy weather the night before. One moment, there was mist and fog above the river:

and in the next moment, the sky was crystal clear:

The train ride reminds me of the annual car trips my family took to visit my dad’s relatives in North Carolina. The countryside was full of miles and miles of pine forests. How can you not help buy enjoy those views? Autumn is in full effect up in this area, with trees completely covered in red or yellow leaves. I’m born and raised in the city, but everyone needs a bit of country to spice up their brick and mortar life.

Like I said in my last post, I didn’t have any specific projects in mind to buy yarn for. I was just winging it, buying whatever yarn I liked. I was on the lookout for some fancy crochet hooks similar to the ones that I found on eBay a while back. While I did see some hooks, nothing came close to the beauty of these.

I didn’t keep receipts, but I believe I spent about the same as I did last year. Bought slightly more yarn this time. I passed up the opportunity to buy more “sexy needles” in favor of spending on some more fancier yarn.

This year’s stash:

Clockwise from top:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport 100% Blue Faced Leicester, Colorway: Bittersweet. I had to google Blue Faced Leicester to find out it’s wool imported from English sheep. It’s very smooth, doesn’t feel heavy at all despite the gauge calling for a size 8 needle. I didn’t buy enough skeins for the original pattern I have in mind but found a shawl substitute from one of my old issues of Vogue Knitting that should work perfect with this yarn. Can’t wait to knit this one up.

Bittersweet hand dyed DK weight yarn 40% Merino, 40% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk. Color: Dark Heart I’m not really a big fan of alpaca because of it’s tendency to shed, but this yarn looked very tempting and the variegated purple color combination looked fabulous, plus the price was great. Spotted a couple of knitted clapotis scarves at the fair and thought this will work well. I bought all 5 skeins they had in stock that should be enough to knit the scarf as well as a matching hat.

Oasis Fiber Farm Mill: These yellow skeins were on sale. Not much info on them except that they’re a combo of 50% merino wool and 50% nylon. What I will do with these, I don’t know yet, I’m taking suggestions.

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool, worsted weight in Turquoise A nice lightweight wool that I may make into a hat or scarf depending on the yardage required. Or maybe a couple pairs of gloves or gauntlets.

Angoraonline.com handspun, hand dyed, handpainted angora yarn. 80% merino, 20% nylon sock weight. Initially I had in mind making some gloves with this one, but since the yardage is so great, I may work these two skeins into some type of shawl or coverlet. I also like that the wool feels light and won’t weigh you down.

I’ll leave you with more photos of the picturesque scenery we were surrounded by during the day.

View of Hudson Valley north of Rhinecliff Station Way in the distance is the Kingston-Rhinebeck bridge.

My latest creation

Sometime last year I told my loctician, Tameeka about my knitting hobby and she requested I make a hat & scarf set for her. Searched online for gray & pink yarn, the colors she requested & found this set of wool yarn from Italy. They sold it in bulk of 10 skeins which was plenty for a hat & scarf set. The result below, using a pattern I found online….

The scarf turned out to be pretty wide, and being 100% wool very warm when wrapped around. Tameeka enjoyed it so much when I presented it to her, she even found a new way to wear the scarf.

Tameeka sporting her hat & scarf

Did I do a good job on it or what?

Circle of Sisters 2011

After not having been able to make it for the past couple of years, I finally got a chance to attend Circle of Sisters Expo at the Jacob Javits Center. My intention was to go on Saturday but after seeing a ridiculously long line of ticketholders waiting to be admitted inside that extended the length of the convention center and not having bought a ticket in advance, I decided to come back the next day.

Sunday was definitely the better day to go if you’re not into huge crowds. There was no line and I was able to walk right in. I read that various artists were scheduled to be there, but I didn’t take in any of the performances or workshops, I just stuck to the vendors. Some of you may remember the former Black Expo events from the 90s, except the exhibitors here offered products & services targeted specifically to black women. Beauty, hair & makeup were well represented. One well known hairstylist had a booth sellling his line of hair products as well as a book he authored on how to find a mate. Not to go off on a tangent, but it’s ironic almost none of these “how to get a man” books targeting black women are written by successfully married men. But I digress……

I did meet two unique vendors I like. The first is a jewelry manufacturer, Tribal Gauges  which makes exotic, tribal style jewelry from natural materials. I was particularly interested in their gauge pierced earrings which are made to resemble having your earlobes stretched. I would never stretch my earlobes for real but I liked the look of the jewelry so much I ended up buying 2 pairs of earrings.

This style is called Brown Cobra. One of the vendors at the expo was modeling this pair and I liked them ’cause it not only represents a cobra in attack mode, they’re also shaped like my initials.  And they look really pretty when worn.

I also got these “standing spirals” I don’t know what they represent, if anything. I just liked the shape of them and the color.

I also liked a vendor called Curvy Divas Rock! selling glittery t-shirts with their namesake. I’m nervous about buying t-shirts without trying them on first, and I wasn’t sure if their shirts would fit my physique, but decided to give it a try anyway. When I got home I was surprised & pleased to see that indeed the shirt did fit. I find the V-neck flattering for me also.

Only complaint I have about the expo is I did notice a number of empty booths the day that I went. It appears some of the vendors packed up and left early. I also found it ironic that one of the corporate sponsors, McDonalds had a stand giving out samples of their smoothies next to a giant display depicting cardiovascular diseases complete with a display of a giant blood vessel. But a good time was had anyway, and I got to discover a lot of new businesses.


I love this photo…….

I’ve also been intrigued by waistbeads since the first time I met this lady Sewra who was selling waistbeads at a neighborhood crafts fair several years back. After doing some research and reading various websites, I got interested in making some of my own.

So a few months ago I posted that I went to a local bead show and purchased several strings of beads with the intent on making a few sets of waistbeads. Well after a couple of false starts, failures, and thanks to some slow evenings at work, I finally was able to get a couple of sets done. I have an affinity for genuine stones. Though I’m not deep into metaphysics, I am interested in reading & learning about each crystals healing qualities and that has somewhat influenced my choice of stones.

The first set is made from tiger’s eye. It’s been said that tiger eye is used for focusing the mind and promotes balance and strength. Roman soldiers wore it during battle for protection. I’m not sure if the claims are true, but wearing this set came in handy when I had some trying moments at work.

tiger eye waistbeads

These are the first set of waistbeads I ever made. After some weight loss I had to restring them making the length shorter. I chose garnet for this set honestly because there was a sale at the beadstore at the time and I was able to get the strands cheap. Plus I love the rustic look of the chipped stones and the way they reflected the light.

Garnet is said to have a strong healing & purification capacity. Helping to balance the chakras, it removes inhibitions and taboos, alleviates emotional imbalances, associated with career success & enhances creativity. It’s also associated with enhancing libido & balancing sexual energy.

garnet waistbeads

The next set I’m working on will be from those african christmas beads I posted in the prior blog post. I’m excited about that one ’cause I like the look of multilayered sets of waistbeads and this one will be a triple strand set.

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