Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trip to Rhinebeck for Knitting Festival

Yesterday I went to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival held on the Duchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. This was my second time going, the first having been two years ago. This time I went solo while my husband and sons were at a Boy Scout camping trip.

I had a relaxing time. I decided to travel light and left my DSLR camera at home. I was not in the mood to snap photos although there was plenty of photo worthy things seen. I snapped about a dozen photos with my Droid's camera.

It rained hard the night before and in the early morning hours but by opening time it was sunny and about 60 degrees out. It was really windy but that didn't affect me much. In a turtleneck and a handknit sweater and jeans I was just fine.

The thing I noticed a lot this time was there was less yarn and more fiber intended for spinning. I guess spinning has taken off more in the last two years than I'd realized. How many vendors can sell so much identical product for the same price?

(Above: gorgeous muted colors of naturally dyed and processed yarn by and from Maine fibers by Wind-Spun Yarn by Hope Spinnery, named since their electricity comes from windmills. I'd already spent too much by the time I saw this yarn so didn't buy any, but couldn't resist gushing over it.)

Regarding me and spinning I did really want to learn two years ago. I purchased an antique spinning wheel from an antique collector through a Craig's List ad. I have not spun on it yet as it needs more bobbins which are not easy to find since this is about 150 years old. It also is a little warped and I don't know if it really can be used. I tried teaching myself from books and YouTube video tutorials but have failed.

I have been so busy homeschooling my kids and parenting them that I barely knitted this year. I picked up the needles again this summer and am back at knitting. I reset my priorities and realized that I should stick to knitting, something I know and something I own materials to do already. Spinning would require the purchase of more stuff for the wheel (or a new wheel) and then wool roving and maybe some class fees. How much can one person do? So as of right now I'm going to stick to knitting.

Well...the other day a homeschool mother who I see once a week when we both have time to kill while our kids are at a paid class together, told me she's been spinning for over 20 years and teaches classes. She suggested I buy a $10 drop spindle and first learn to spin by hand which is portable and cheaper. So to that end I spent about $30 on three colors of wool roving yesterday and will use that to give hand spinning a whirl.

It was a relaxing day and I'm happy I went. I bought some great yarn. I have enough new yarn for at least two full projects and partial materials for two or three more.


Grenadine Girl said...

It looks like you had a great time at Rhinebeck! Great photos :)

FairyLover said...

I have always dreamed of spinning. I can see myself sitting in front of a big wheel on front of a sunny window. Unfortunately I live in this tiny little apartment. I may have to invest in a drop spindle myself. I've certainly been hearing a lot about them lately.


christinemm said...

Fairy Lover, Yes the drop spindle is portable and this mom-spinner told me she does it sitting in her car waiting for her son to be finished with his homeschool class!

There are also small spinning wheels that fold up such as are perfect for apartment dwellers.

I was told that the Babe drop spindle is well balanced and only $8.50. Many lovely hand carved wooden drop spindles exist but for beginners who drop them on the floor while learning to use them, they break.

Also she and another spinner told me the inexpensive Babe spinning wheels made of PVC pipe actually work great.


(Disclosure: I was not paid to mention this company.)