Stitches and Ribs: Kings County Fiber Fest and IKEA

Yesterday began the first day of my vacation, or should I say more accurately, staycation. Started out by deciding to check out the Kings County Fiber Fest in Brooklyn.

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I first heard about this festival last year after missing it by about 2 weeks. Occurring annually the weekend before the huge Rhinebeck festival, I made it a point to see it this year as a possible alternative to making the trek 2 hours upstate.

So I made plans to meet with my friend Nicky from D’NALI and made the long trek all the way to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Thanks to constant MTA track work & rerouting of subways, what should be a hour or less commute from Harlem ended up being an adventure.

I finally get to the site, which turned out to be a neighborhood park with a small, stone house in the middle of the block, aptly called the Old Stone House which has an interesting history in it’s own right.

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I expected to see dozens of stalls from what I read online, but was disappointed to find only a handful of vendors situated along the the perimeter of the park. Outside of the house was a table of folks demonstrating arm knitting, looming and a man spinning wool into yarn. By the time I got there Nicky had already stocked up on raw fiber, but I did manage to find a couple skeins of variegated merino wool from a vendor out of Pennsylvania.
Not certain what plans I will have from this yarn yet, but it has a soft feel and a nice light drape, perhaps a fancy scarf or shawl.

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After the festival Nicky and I ride the bus over to IKEA. You will all forgive me after reading this, but the last time I was at an IKEA store was the first one that opened up in Elizabeth, NJ. Since then, 3 more stores have opened up in this area so it’s been years since I stepped foot inside of an IKEA.

Made a beeline straight for the cafeteria since we hadn’t eaten all day. Nicky amped me up for some ribs, only to be derailed at the last second when we got to the counter to find out they ran out and told us it would be 20 minutes before the next batch. The woman serving behind the counter had multiple tattoos and was clearly in a bad mood. I don’t like to judge folks based solely on looks, but she reminded me of one of the characters from Orange Is The New Black as I watched her almost throw plates of food at waiting customers. I ended up settling for some chicken tenders with fries, feeling defeated, lol.

But then it was on to the shopping. Stores like IKEA are dangerous for me. A huge warehouse style space full of lots of things you didn’t know you needed. I didn’t do too bad, but I did need one of those iconic blue bags, and it was a good thing I didn’t come with a car. On the shuttle ride back to downtown Brooklyn, we listened to a young man who grew up in the local area give us a tour and tell us stories of his struggles having grown up in the old neighborhood. One of 8 million stories that make living in NY interesting.

I’m sure I’ll be back to IKEA. If only to get the baby back rib plate that I pined for. But first it’s off to Rhinebeck next week.

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.

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