Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Silver Fleece

     Last minute I bundled myself into the car ( I had almost talked myself into not going out of sheer laziness)-Mike drove- and three hours later we were in Rhinebeck for the NY sheep and wool festival. It was a lovely fall  day out, complete with gusts of chilly wind and swirling dazzling fruit loop colored leaves. I almost bought a fleece-yes an entire fleece of which I was quite enamored, but Mike and and the better part of reason, prevented me. 

     We watched as the shearer deftly remove the entire fleece in about five minutes flat. He was so skilled, his small audience applauded after he was done. It was a beautiful shetland fleece, infused with lanolin and grass filings still in it,  and I lusted after it. The shearer invited us to step forward and touch it, and I could feel the oily lanolin and the warmth of the animal still held in the fiber. He told us that the sheep's body temperature is about 102 degrees and it felt very warm.

     Can you imagine??

     I had visions of lovingly carding and spinning the shimmering wool into lofty skeins which I would then knit into sturdy  guernsey's for my clan. Apparently I  had slipped into another century, or I was channeling some ancient Scottish  ancestor, who had the the great skill, the need, and the wherewithal to accomplish this.

     I did not buy the beautiful fleece. We watched the deft shearer shear a curly long haired goat whose fleece fell in silver locks to the ground and who was far less compliantly shorn of her dreads, than was her cousin the shetland sheep. None the less, he wrestled her to the ground and held her firmly on her back while he relieved her of her fleecy goodness. and we wandered away fleeceless. 

     But I did resolve, that if, in some future time, I keep the desire to obtain such a thing as this magical fleece, that I shall. And so it was that I came away with a renewed commitment to spin the fiber that I do have, and to bring my skills to where I could actually do the things I saw myself doing in my hallucinations.

      On the way home we picked up Sandy, Mike's dad's wife, and took her to dinner. It was a day well spent. Upon returning home, we popped an Inspector Lewis cd into the player and promptly fell asleep. 
     While we were away, Bailey had locked herself out of the house and had to break the back door frame in order to get in, but aside from that the house was still standing. And another Rhinebeck adventure has come to a close.

Rhinebeck 2010

     After much blue air and gesticulating (traffic), we arrived at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, in the early afternoon. It was a perfect-let me say perfect- autumn afternoon. Cool enough to need a sweater but not so cold that you wished for gloves-although I am carrying my gloves with me these days. I do not like to drive with cold hands.
     I will say here that I do not need  another skein of yarn, nor another knitting book or pattern, nor likely any knitting utensil. Therefore my purchases were not multitudinous, rather they were more of the 'this is unique and I may not see it again', variety.
     And here I will list them for you. Just three from big to small.

     I bought a bag, from the artisan, Julia Hilbrandt (who comes from Stanfordville). Now if you know me or even if you read my blog or my facebook posts, you know that I can and do make felted bags-and pretty nice ones at that. and that I have even ventured into using vintage wool for a bag or two. However. These bags were different, The were industrial and strong -and yet the details were noticeable and dignified. even classy. So I circled the booth, and took a walk around the fairground and saw alot of wool. Alot. Of. Wool. And then I decided that I would forgo the wool and buy the bag, because, after all, as I said in my words above, in line one of paragraph two, I do not need another skein of yarn. Not just yet. And I do love this bag. I love the look, the size-it will fit lunch, gloves, keys, ipad, wallet and knitting quite easily, and I love the details, as simple as they are they are well executed and poised on the edge of edgy. love that. well done Julia.

     For all of my declarations fo not needing more wool, I did buy just one skein of brushed mohair, because it reminded me of mermaid hair and somewhere in the back of my mind I have a fascination with mermaids and I want to paint (another) one and this lovely green, yards and yards of green, shimmering like mermaid locks in the surf, brought those mermaids back to the forefront of my mind. And for 20 bucks, it was worth it. I do not know the provenance, of the mohair , but it was hand dyed at "Handmade in the Hills", in Lawrenceville, PA. no website listed in the receipt.
My last purchase, small and beautiful, made at the Shipyard Point Glassworks booth, coming all the way from Maine. Beautiful, bright, brilliant glass knitting notions: glass buttons, glass tipped crochet hooks, lovely kits and these tiny wonderful stitch markers. I will likely go to their website and buy some more. I  bought these on my way out. As a place holder. Ahem. I know. Sorry for the insider knitting pun.