Monday, October 17, 2011

Trucks and Sheep and Wool and Stuff

I've spent an inordinate amount of money on getting a water leak fixed in my Land Rover. This ruined my plan to spend a lot of money at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool show. However, it's worth it not to have moldy carpets or fried (or should that be boiled?) electrics in my Rolling Living Room. According to the Weather Underground, we've had a little over 1.5" of rain since the Rolling Living Room was declared fixed. Most of that in 2 days. The carpets are still dry. I have hope.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Show.

Friday night I slept appallingly badly. So when the alarm went off at 6:00am, I'd only had about 3 hours sleep. Still I leapt gaily out of bed, showered, shaved, dressed, and hustled out the door to go meet up with Ken (of The K is Silent). Then we drove to Rhinebeck. A lovely day for a drive, pretty weather, pretty foliage, even the traffic wasn't too ugly (at least not by MassPike standards) and we were making very good time.

Then we turned off I87 to go over the bridge and take the local roads and everything came to a screeching halt. It took us well over an hour to go the last five miles. We thought about parking the truck and walking the last mile or so to the showground, but decided against it as we'd be doing plenty of walking when we got there. So we arrived hungry and in need of restrooms well after noon, instead of 10:30 as we'd intended.

Neither of us had been to Rhinebeck before and Ken had never been to a sheep and wool show at all. So we made a couple of mistakes (other than not knowing about the traffic issue). The first was day-tripping. The second was not looking at the map and planning a route, but just randomly wandering into the barns. My 3rd mistake was not having enough cash (for which I blame LR Hanover). Still we saw about 1/3 of the show before it closed.

Ken did very well on the loot front. I bought a skein of sock yarn and a 7oz bag of gorgeous fawn alpaca roving which was so inexpensive I couldn't leave it there. We both collected as many business cards as we could for both online purchases and next year's raid visit.

Our random barn tour led us through several of the animal barns. We had a great time admiring the various alpacas, llamas, (no dalai lamas though), sheep, and goats. Ken is having his first spinning lesson this week, so we spent quite a lot of time comparing the different breed fleeces, and talking to the shepherds. It was great fun to talk to the shepherds about their breeds (and in my case why I like to spin their breed's fleeces). The shepherds certainly seemed to appreciate talking to people who knew a little bit about sheep and wool too.

The show closed at 5:00pm, but it was a good bit after that by the time we got back in the Rolling Living Room and headed out. Getting out was not too bad -- much, much easier than getting in. I decided to ignore James (my GPS) who wanted me to go back to I87, and take the Taconic back to I90. This was a good idea. Not a lot of traffic, and a prettier route. We saw several deer grazing in the twilight beside the road. Fortunately none of them were the least bit interested in suicide by Land Rover.

We'd decided that we should have a proper dinner as lunch was show food and so stopped in Northampton at the Northampton Brewery. A very fine place to dine, with good vegetarian choices for Ken, and excellent beer. I had a dark IPA called Black Mamba which was wonderful. Stopping for dinner took a little longer than I'd hoped, and a nasty-looking accident on I91 after dinner slowed us down some. As a result it was about 12:30am by the time I got home. With about 10 miles worth of gas in the tank!

However, both of us had a wonderful time. It was a glorious fall day. The driving was easy (and dry inside the RLR!). Dinner was excellent. There was lots of good loot. And several hours of good conversation on a wide range of topics.

The plan for next year is to find a nice place to stay within an hour's drive (under normal circumstances) of the showground. Get there Friday night, leave for the show early Saturday morning. Find a nice local place for dinner, stay over Saturday night and do the rest of the show on Sunday. That will give us time to see the whole thing and possibly even go to some of the workshops and demos. This necessitates saving some money -- both for accommodation and food, and more importantly LOOT! There was a lot of stuff I didn't buy because I couldn't justify the purchase.

One thing I didn't buy, but really wish I had, was a hat. It was a Cossack-style hat with a black fur brim and a red/black felted crown. Had it not been $178, I might have sprung for it. It was a great fit and made me look very much like a Russian politician. I've been thinking about it and I'm pretty sure I can adapt a basic watchcap pattern so that with the addition of some good quality fake fur, it'll give me a similar look for a lot less. I'd like a nice warm winter hat. I have a nice grey fedora, but can't wear it when I'm driving because the brim hits the headrest and annoys me.

So yea: Rhinebeck -- definitely worth the trip.

In other news, I've finished 2 pairs of socks recently. The first, a lovely brown/navy/purple self-striping yarn from Fire Lizard Studios, which sat on the needles for a while because between other things and arthritis, I didn't do much knitting. The second some blue/tan cheap inexpensive commercial sock yarn (I think perhaps Lion Brand) which didn't take nearly as long as I spent a very pleasant day at an SCA event when I had time to knit and my fingers weren't aching.

Of course I've got a fresh pair on the needles now. These are Trekking Hand Painted yarn in the blue/red colourway they call Atlantic. They are very spiffy and have Celtic knot cables running up the sides of the leg. I' halfway up the first leg.

What I should be doing, though, is tablet weaving. I have a couple of projects on hold. I haven't had a nice fat block of time to do the warping lately though. Soon though...