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Rhinebeck, Day One October 17, 2010

Posted by lunarawe in Fiber Optic Yarns, goats, NYS Sheep and Wool Festival, Rhinebeck, sheep, The Fold.

Rhinebeck! Is there any event in the fiber world that I look forward to with greater glee every year? Not even close. Not even spinning on the beach. Not even on a tropical beach. Rhinebeck is just heavenly. Where else but the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival can you find so many like minded fiber obsessors artists in one place! OK, yes there are other wool festivals. I happen to love this one.

Look at all these people! Clearly it is Saturday morning at Rhinebeck. Ravening hordes Dedicated shoppers and enthusiasts are making their way among booths and animal pens, admiring each other’s handwork and elbowing their way to the goodies.

And boy are there goodies! I didn’t actually take pictures of any booths today (those who have read my posts during Rhinebeck in years past will know my camera tends to be drawn to fiber animals), but a few special things did catch my eye. Check out the treadles on this spinning wheel. Gorgeous! I will try to remember tomorrow to actually LOOK at the sign and tell you the name of the delightful man who made it. Apologies. We’ll blame it on the wool fumes.

And look at this amazing felted tapestry. Yep, again, I didn’t read the sign. Terrible, I know. But this is gorgeous wool craft! Worth admiring.

This year I had a plan, and it was a good one. I ignored all the wondrous and distracting things and went directly to what mattered to me most. The fleece sale (whoops, got there an hour after the fair opened, most of the goodies were gone… I’ll do better next year), the Fiber Optics Yarn booth (many goodies scored! gradient dyes, and some lovely OOAK pencil roving), and The Fold (Socks that Rock, Rare Gems! Not to be passed up). I even managed to stop by the Woolee Winder booth and grab some high speed bobbins. Happy spinner!

Then I stopped by the spinning competition to fondle all the yarn (which sadly this year they wouldn’t let us do. boo.) and check on the eight skeins that I entered this year. I have to admit my shock when I saw Grand Champion hanging from one of my skeins (it was the Footnotes UNSPUN in Mayan Chocolate from Fiber Optics. Yum!). I remember when I was scared to enter my spinning at Rhinebeck. To win for best skein is humbling. Of course I didn’t get a great picture of that. And I haven’t blogged about that yarn yet. Oops. Again, I’ll try to do better tomorrow. The yarns above were for the 3-ply wool class, and I am delighted to say that that blue ribbon is also mine! Rhinebeck spoiled me this year – two firsts, two thirds, and a fourth place ribbon. Hooray!

You also have to admire some of the rarer sights when a large fiber crew gathers. This is Susan Stapleford demonstrating spinning on a pendulum wheel. It’s so huge I didn’t manage to get the bobbin in the shot. It’s just off camera at the end of the long pendulum. Good Grief! She was very gracious about letting me take a photo. It is hard to tell but that pink skein fourth from the left is the sakura documented in the post below. It won fourth place in the exotic fibers class.

What else? This stunning shawl won Best of Show and deservedly so! I wish they had taken the space to stretch it out completely. What a lovely job this knitter did.

All in all it was a fabulous first day. I got to see Toni from The Fold and Kimber from Fiber Optic Yarns, and both things just brought me great joy! Kimber, this blog update is in your honor! Thanks for checking on me so regularly even when I am terrible about posting. To that end, I chose to update the joys of today. I will work on catching up with all the fun spinning and knitting from the past… groan… three months and change soon. As always, here are some of the most adorable sheepies and goats ever! I will have alpacas for you tomorrow.

Join us if you can!

Belated Rhinebeck Report November 18, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in drop spindle, Rhinebeck, spinning.
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It was so beautiful in Rhinebeck this year, contrary to all the dire weather predictions. Both of us were not feeling 100% so the warmth and sunshine really felt like a gift!

Our crew expanded this year! Kierstin, Tracy and Jeremie joined us and we weathered the cold and played with the sheepies together. Super fun!

Anyway, it was another good year for spinning as I said earlier, and I am delighted to have won a blue ribbon for the best Leicester Longwool skein. I was highly surprised, grateful, and amused (!) when I received this in the mail just a week or so later…

I love the blank letterhead… though thank goodness they included it because otherwise I never would have known why I was getting $50 in the mail. I like to tell myself that it paid for most of my favorite toy from Rhinebeck this year… an aromatherapy RingSpindle!

I love it! Not only does it sport a cauldron on the top but the delicious aromatherapy diffusion really works! I definitely commend this craft tool to everyone. There was of course much more delightfulness to experience, taste, and see! More on that soon….

Blue Ribbon! October 18, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, yarn.
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Just a brief check in from the New York State Sheep and Wool festival, where we had an unexpected gloriously rain and snow free day yesterday. What a gift! I was delighted to walk up to the blue ribbon wall for spinning and find my handspun among these lovely submissions. My work is all the way on the right. I won a blue ribbon for spinning this year’s featured breed, Leicester Longwool. Hooray!

We are going back today even though the day promises to be wet! More soon….

Spinning Lately October 7, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, pokeberries, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, Uncategorized, yarn.
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I have been pretty bad about updating the blog with recently spun yarns, but that does not mean that I have been ignoring the wheels completely! Here is a taste of what has been drafted between my hands of late…

This Leicester Longwool is lambswool actually, my first spun single! I was playing with this in preparation for Rhinebeck, where the annual New York State Sheep and Wool festival is held. Leicester Longwool is the featured breed for 2009. This is about 250 yards, spun at a low ratio (7:1) and unbelievably soft. I am working on a companion skein for some colorwork from the Leicester Longwool I dyed with pokeberries.

The roving that became this two-ply Romney came from a store near Edmonds, WA. The wool was from a local sheep named Chris and purchased mainly because I loved the colorway. This was also spun at a low ratio, and the resulting yarn is softer than I would normally expect Romney wool to be. That is not to say that it is super soft by any means, but it is sweet.

And finally some color graded Polwarth. This roving and I have had a rough time of it. There was a lot of felting and tons of little neps and pills. Highly irritating. I had been holding on to it because it seemed so terrible to waste wool as soft as Polwarth and then I finally had to stop myself. I got rid of all the terribly felted bits and and spun a heavier yarn (this is a heavy worsted) while simply allowing the neps to spin right in. At this weight they just became incorporated and we got along much better. This 200 yard skein will likely become a hat at some point in the near(ish?) future.

HONK! March 15, 2009

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, stash enhancement, yarn.

I want to begin with apologies for the lateness of my honk, and yet honk I must for I was one of the many caught off guard by this latest revelation. Fluffy, delicious batts. They are so much fun to spin! We all want them. Let’s be honest… making fiber potions of fluffy goodness is the main reason why any of us owns a drum carder in the first place. For example, I can’t wait to card some milkweed into… well, that is a story for another time. For now, suffice it to say that when I read on our beloved YarnHarlot’s blog that wool fibers should be loaded onto a drum carder sideways I was as stunned as most of the rest of you.

So here I am honking because yes, I was told to load my fibers facing toward the drum and yes, even my written instructions say to do the same. In fairness, I have an amazing drum carder. I got fluffy batts the other way… but nothing like this. The one drawback is that so much less fiber fit into this batt of lusciousness. Here is the story.

I started with this beautiful mass of wool locks that I purchased at Rhinebeck this fall. The vendor never told me the breed of sheep, and the locks were already dyed. While one of my friends tells me this looks a bit like a diseased brain, I see only fibery goodness waiting to be spun up into something heavenly.

From this mass of potential I separated out the  individual locks (above) and teased them open with my fingers (below).

I then did what I think we all ran to our carders to do (if we were lucky enough to have a drum carder. Mine was a gift for which I am constantly grateful). I loaded up my carder with overlaping locks laid sideways so they would be pulled at from their sides by the rows of tiny metal teeth.

Even the sound was different! I could almost hear a chorus of young girls complaining about their mothers being too rough with the tangles in their hair. It takes focus and grim determination sometimes to keep that handle turning. Oh the flashbacks of it all! As the fiber started teasing apart between the almost touching metal I could instantly see the depth of color that would be in the final batt. Lustrous. I don’t know what breed of sheep this is from but I wish I did.

The full drum looked like this after the first pass. It took three total passes through the carder to make the batt above.

By the time the batt was really finshed it had an even color, great loft, and a wonderful shine. I did a test twist that doubled back on itself into a two ply just to see what the fibers would do. Though in truth I really just have a hard time keeping my hands off of the wool.

I made three batts in all just 15 grams of wool each. I only purchased 70 grams to begin with… just pulling a bit out of the basket of fluff to try on my carder. I still have some wool in glorious reds from the same basket. I will have to card that into a blend with something fun. In the meantime I decided to start learning to spin using the long draw technique. It is humbling, and a good reminder, to start learning to spin all over again in a sense. So different from a nice (read control freak spinner) worsted method. The result is 50 yards of three ply. A happy and fuzzy green ending to my story.

More Rhinebeck Sitings October 19, 2008

Posted by lunarawe in Rhinebeck, sheep, spinning, stitching witches.
Fluffy Cotswold fleece

Fluffy Cotswold Fleece

Full confession to those who pay attention, this post was most certainly not written in October. That said, some things are worth documenting, no matter how late.

One of my absolute favorite Rhinebeck events is the Sheep to Shawl competition. In just a few hours groups of determined (mad) carders, spinners, and weavers transform unprocessed wool into beautiful shawls. It is really a thing of beauty to watch. One weaver per group, several spinners, and often a dedicated carder. They do most generously allow the weaver to warp the loom in advance. And then the madness begins!

My favorite group this year, no surprise here, was the team of witches working feverishly on their craft.

You have to admire a weaver who can hold her own in a pointy hat. Extra style points!


And this spinner was definitely a favorite. I admire the posture as much as the outfit. Plus, this group was energized and fun. There were tons of other good groups too! The group  below is gathered around their wool at the start of things. Such a lush color. Beautiful.


 A quick moment to admire the winning shawls, blue ribbon on the left and red on the right:

The blue ribbon shawl was dyed using natural dyes. Really stunning. As a non weaver this boggles my mind even without the frenetic racing and the time limit. Wow. This was also the same hall where the spinning competition was judged and displayed.

Three ribbons this year! I am very proud because at one and half years of spinning I am no longer considered a novice. One blue ribbon in the laceweight competition, a second place ribbon for three ply, and a fifth place for two ply. Super fun. And the lovely judges gave me this delightful mug (that I had been coveting in the fair, to be honest) with sheepies and knitting on it. Happiness! *delicate cough* And next year I will have to make sure to have neat ties that match. Oh the shame of it all. But I really appreciated the in depth notes this time around. Helpful.

There can be no sitings report complete without a photo of the delightful winner of this year’s hooked rug competition. I think this is both phenomenally done AND adorable. Definite points. And lastly, I leave you with a few llamas to tide you over until next year:

Full Day At Rhinebeck October 18, 2008

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, Rhinebeck, spinning.
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Well the 2008 NYS Sheep and Wool Festival certainly did not disappoint! It was COLD though, for this Florida resident. But the goats were lively, the rovings were plentiful, and everywhere there was yarn to be had.

As you can see above the fair was packed today! Gone was the calm preparation and quiet of yesterday. This was a race to the shopping with no holds barred. The socks that rock line literally was half an hour long, but I got three rare gems! Hooray! I don’t think I have even seen one before. Stash enhancement photos tomorrow.

Devorah and I got to meets lots of animals today. Here was one sheep who could not get over his excitement at her, let’s be honest, orange parka.

And here I am succumbing to a friend’s insistence that I capture at least one photo of myself WITH the sheepies. The nerve of some people. *grin* At least green and purple are good witchy colors.

Oh but there was madness to behold… a speed spinning competition:

Folks trying to knit the fastest on chopsticks if you can even believe:

And a glorious pumpkin from the culinary institute of america.

And to round out the day’s collection of photos, a fine selection of goats. If you missed today, come tomorrow! Rhinebeck was a blast, as always.



Erev Rhinebeck October 17, 2008

Posted by lunarawe in Rhinebeck.
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Twas the day before Rhinebeck.

All ‘cross the grounds,

the Sheepies were bleating

and making strange sounds…

It is always a joy to stop by the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival the day before it opens. I got to drop off my spinning for the competition (I can’t enter as a novice this year, sniffle) but usually wander around to admire the good folks getting themselves groomed before fair.

You can generally tell the already clean guys by their oh-so-stylin’ jackets.

I really just can’t get over the cuteness. Anyway, I am heading back to the fair tomorrow morning! Oh the joy and excitement! See you there…

In Sheep’s Clothing October 24, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in Rhinebeck, sheep.
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More Rhinebeck photos! Again, all the credit for the gorgeous pics goes to Devorah, who has the dubious honor of being our official blog photographer. *smile*

We had the unexpected pleasure of arriving at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds the day before the New York State Sheep and Wool festival began. I had to go on Friday to drop off my skeins of handspun yarn, and we made the most of an unexpected benefit. It turns out there were sheep competitions happening the day before, the first National Bluefaced Leicester competition to be exact.

Such joy. Recalcitrant sheep, loving owners, and open fairgrounds with almost no people in sight. We got to wander about and meet a bunch of fabulous animals. The sheep pictured above (like their friends below) were sporting supercute outerwear to keep their newly shorn selves neat and clean. Almost Paddington the Bear up above, but not quite.

I also loved the mad racing look of these sheepies. Aren’t they perfect?

I have to admit that I also learned a lot about Bluefaced Leicester, and sheep breeding just by listening to the judge. That would be the determined looking gentleman (wearing a cowboy hat)  in the upper left of this competition shot:

Oh the intricacies of sheep holding! Turns out I really loved the naturals (dark brown ones). They were just beautiful. And this sweet dam from what I think was the head competition. She didn’t win, but I still think her head is adorable, if not the “elegant” look of the winner.

This guy, whose breed I cannot remember, has four horns! Only three were captured here, but I think you can get a sense of his inner determination. Poor thing was having a hard time scraping all the paint off of his pen like his friends were, because his horns got in the way.

Too cute.

We also learned that next year’s featured breed is the Romney. I got some yearling carded wool in advance, for the spinning competition. They look like such traditional sheep, don’t they?

Thanks to Devorah and more soon!

Rhinebeck Ribbons! October 23, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in blue ribbon, handspun, Rhinebeck, spinning, yarn.
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Rhinebeck was amazing!!!

We could not have asked for a more perfect weekend and this was a phenomenal experience.  I have so much to write about Rhinebeck that folks are likely going to get sick of reading about it. The best part was going with my most beloved friend, who deserves huge credit as blog staff photographer! All the Rhinebeck photos (except for a few sad fuzzy ones of mine – don’t worry, I will take the blame for those) were taken by Devorah… she of hat modeling fame. My favorite is the one above. Couldn’t you just kiss that nose?

Anyway… in total self promotion I really kind of have to start by sharing my excitement. I submitted three handpun skeins to the novice spinning competition (for folks spinning for less than a year) and I took first, third, and fourth place!

I am super proud. I think these may be the first ribbons I have ever won… well, maybe some swimming ribbons as a kid. Anyway, in celebration I came home with piles of loot… I mean stash… I mean fiber for spinning. Woo hoo!

Here is the proof:

It was a huge joy just to see that much spinning on display as well. There were some 15 or so categories of competition for skeins alone, so there was a lot of soft fluff on hand.

Stay tuned for tons of photos and more Rhinebeck news (Yes, the green and pink in front are mine).