Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival: Sunday

We arrived back at the fairgrounds Sunday morning around 8:30, unsure of whether the gates were going to open at 9 or 10. You would think the Sheep and Wool Festival's website would clearly announce the times of the event, but even on Ravelry, I found that many people were having this same issue as me. Anyway, we showed up hoping to be able to enter at 9, but soon realized the gates didn't open till 10. Instead of being miserable in the cold, we camped out in the car for another half hour before braving the chilly line. While we were passing time, we looked at the program we received on Saturday which come to find out, clearly states on the front cover that the fairgrounds don't open till 10 on Sunday. Go figure!

Once we entered the festival, despite the freezing temperatures, I could already feel like this was going to be a much better day. Don't get me wrong, I loved being there on Saturday, but there were easily half the amount of people there than there were on Saturday. It was so much easier getting around and we were able to spend a lot more time in all the booths without getting pushed out of the way. This made for a much better experience.
Since we really didn't see any of the animals on Saturday, we spent all of Sunday morning petting and taking selfies with the sheep. I surprised myself by enjoying this so much. The barn wasn't that crowded, and the sheep had such big personalities! A lot of the sheep came right up to us, begging to petted.
Even though we loved the falafel the previous day, we decided to try something different for lunch on Sunday. Another vendor offered a grilled tofu banh mi and pumpkin soup that were both labelled vegan. I knew that if I didn't at least try the sandwich, I would regret it. At this point it was snowing a tiny bit and we could no longer stand sitting in the cold. We thankfully found a small bench right inside the entrance to one of the warehouses and ate our lunch there to stay warm. The sandwich was pretty good, although the pickled fixings should've been drained more before being added; the bread was a little too soggy for me. I could've done without the pumpkin soup as I was expecting it to be savory, and was really surprised when I tasted my first spoonful of sweet soup. In my opinion, the falafel was the best vegan meal at the festival, but I really appreciate having multiple options.

After lunch, we did some shopping. We spent the previous night going through our Ravelry queues figuring out exactly what we wanted to knit so that we could purchase yarn for specific projects. I knew I wanted to get enough yarn to knit a sweater, and after seeing everything at the festival on Saturday, I decided that I wanted to knit a cabled, loose-fitted pullover sweater. I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to buy my sweater quantity of yarn, it was just a matter of choosing the color. I really liked the "Twist of Fate Spinnery" booth because their yarn offerings seemed simple, in a very good way. I was into their natural colored yarns, which made picking out my exact skeins even more difficult. For most weights of yarn, you had the option between 100% wool, or 50/50% wool/alpaca. Per Lauren's advice, I picked the worsted weight 50/50 blend in a medium gray colorway. Even though they don't raise their own sheep (which would've been awesome!), their yarn was super soft, clearly labelled, and relatively affordable. I don't have a specific pattern picked out yet, but I'm really excited to knit a true Rhinebeck sweater!

On Saturday I also found sparkly sock yarn that I was pretty sure I wanted to buy, I just needed to decide on the color. I've been skeptical of sparkly knit-ware, but I figured socks are the best way to get a good feel for the trend. I picked a skein from the Starry Skies Collection in the Purple Dancer colorway from the Carodan Farm Wool Shop and was even happier when they added a free mini wooden ruler with my purchase. It's the little things in life!

For the entire weekend I had been contemplating buying a pen and ink print from Gene Matras to add to my slowly growing art wall. I loved his work, but my favorite prints were those of sheep. Although I like sheep, I love pigs even more and he just happened to have one pig print. Then again, I also really loved his Winter landscape prints. There were just so many good things to choose from.  After going back and forth for so long, I finally decided to go with the pig print and I'm so glad I did! I've already framed the beautiful print and I'm anxiously waiting to hang it up!

We planned on leaving by 3 PM to make sure we returned the rental car on time. Since it was so cold and we saw and bought everything we wanted, we left even a little earlier than that. Thankfully there weren't many cars leaving at this time, and we were able to quickly exit the parking lot. Driving in the daylight was much more scenic than the previous morning's dusk experience. I loved seeing all the red and yellow leaves!
I had an amazing weekend in Rhinebeck and truly loved every moment. Since it was so cold, I even got to wear both of my sweaters at the same time, fingerless mitts, and a shawl! I hope that I'm able to attend the festival sometime again in the future, and thanks to this trip, Lauren and I unanimously decided that we want to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool event in the Spring!