Sunday, October 22, 2006
Somehow I convinced my friend to go down to the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. Neither of us knew much about it but figured it'd be a nice drive and there was sure to be yarn. All the cool kids were going, so why not. It turned out to be a very nice weekend and well worth the 1500 km drive. If you've never been, here's what I learned as a Rhinebeck Virgin.
1. Rhinebeck is in the middle of nowhere, but it's beautiful country. It's just to the east of the Catskills. If you want a nice, scenic drive, take Route 9, rather than the I-87 (you'll also avoid tolls). There's no need to stay close to Rhinebeck itself. We had a hotel about 1 hour north of it and it made for a nice drive.
2. It's held outdoors, in barns for horse/cattle. Each vendor has a stall or two. Pray for good weather. We lucked out and had a perfect day of blue skies and warm sun, but if it had been cold and wet we'd have been miserable.
3. There's more yarn than you can imagine.
4. It's only $10 USD to get in. $15 for the weekend. It's open from 10-5.
5. The parking system is very well worked out and it's free.
6. Exiting at the end of the day will take a long time but it's monitored by the local police to keep traffic moving. Be patient. (I wasn't)
7. The food is pretty good. There's lots of lamb being served, which somehow feels wrong but is popular all the same. Eat lunch early to avoid line ups. Try the apple crisp with ice cream.
8. There seems to be only one main bathroom for hundreds of female knitters, but they've got that worked out better than any I've ever seen. You'll wait less than 1m for your turn. One amazing, friendly and courteous woman is in there directing traffic, keeping it clean, supplied with toilet paper and freshening it with spray. Tip her well.
9. Baby strollers should be banned. Especially the double strollers. In fact, leave your spouse and children at home (or hotel). There's already a lot people there and they only get in the way of knitters who have serious yarn buying to do.
10. Go with a plan. Bring lots of patterns that you want to knit so you'll know what you want to buy for. Not enough planning can leave you indecisive and you'll end up with just one skein of yarn. A very nice, soft, luxurious skein of alpaca, but it'll be lonely. However, if you're Kelly D then just buy everything you like and figure it out later!
11. Outside of a few vendors, hardly anyone was actually sitting down to knit. I guess there's no time to knit when there's only two days to see it all.
12. Alpacas are cuter than llamas. Sheep are always cute.