Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rhinebeck Beckoned

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask me if they can help me, and I say, "Have you got anything I'd like?" Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, "Extra medium."--Stephen Wright

I'm back. It's over. I'm fulfilled.

It was over so fast, much like Christmas when I was 8, where the anticipation of the day outranked the actual few hours of presents and family.

Rhinebeck means fiber family, as well as a once-a-year visual reiteration of the true meaning of fiberarts.

So here's Rhinebeck through my twisted eyes.

First, I leave NJ at 6 a.m. because the wise Rhinebeck attendee gets there by 8 a.m. to reserve a decent parking spot.

Then, having read the list of vendors online if you're a newbie, or plan in advance to hit familar vendors, you grab some coffee and hit the pavement at 9 a.m.

Here is Rhinebeck at 9:10 a.m.  It was windy, chilly, but peaceful.

Here is Rhinebeck at noon. YIKES! Too many fucking people but most of them kind, friendly, and happy souls.
Yes, it becomes even more populous.

It's fall in the Catskills. Magnificent maple trees.

And Rhinebeck, the finest fairground I've ever visited, is beautifully landscaped.

This year, I finally ate some fried artichokes, a Rhinebeck delicacy for which you stand in line for almost a half hour or more.

Feh. I don't get it. Talk about bland and boring food. Of course, there's always the fried pickles. Don't ask.  Rhinebeck, like most fairs, provides maximum eating opportunities, including the ubiquitous funnel cake, cotton candy, et al. Eating goes hand-in-hand with shopping.

Despite my horrible arthritic back and hips, I bumbled and stumbled through the exhibition halls, stopping at favorites--Golding Fiber Tools (more on that anon), Carolina Homespun, Susan's Fiber Shop, Red Maple (run by Mel and David, dear friends), Skaska, and others too numerous to mention.

With a tight budget, I managed to get some shopping accomplished. After all, do I truly need more shit? Yeah, I know the answer. Sing it in harmony, skankettes.

Meeting up with friends is another major event. Who did I see? QueerJoe, natch. My friend Gina from the Stix-n-Stitches knitting group. I caught up with some of the guys who went to the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat meeting in the afternoon.
Clowns. From left to right, Scott, Jack, Joe, Jack's friend whose name I can't spell, and Dave.

I missed Ted da Knitterguy so much. And never found Lars, if he did show up. Lars is ghostly, as all of his friends know.

The highlight of Rhinebeck is meeting my readers. And I met a bunch, wonderful people who made my day. They want me to write more often. OK, when I have shit to say, I will.

Meeting Duffy Stephens, aka Fiberqat, was like meeting a long-lost sister. Duffy's been a reader for ages and we are certainly kindred soul sistahs.

I miss her already. And I missed seeing Kat, Ann McDonough, Loraine, and all my other readers who I hold dear to my heart.

See, I'm crunchy on the outside and marshmallow on the inside, as Carol once said.

Dinner was wonderful! Here's this year's group.

From left: Duffy Stephens, Jack Burwell and friend, Scott and Dave from Easton Mountain

From left: Carol Sulcoski, Mindy Soucek, Laura Grutzeck

The O'Henry Spindle Story
One of my major purchases was another Golding spindle.
This is not a great photo but it is a beautiful glass millefleur button, one of which Sean Golding told me they buy at Rhinebeck. I should have asked him who the vendor was.

Duffy and I were looking around David and Mel's booth, when I saw a pair of socks that had fallen from their hanger onto the floor. I put my stuff down and put the socks back. Then Duffy and I headed outside so that we could compare our Golding purchases.

The shock. The bag that contained the spindle was gone. I freaked out, rushed back to the booth and asked Mel's dad to keep an eye out for it.

I knew it was gone forever. Due to my own stupid carelessness. So Duffy says, "Maybe someone will find it and you'll get it back." Yeah, right. Like anyone would return a Golding spindle, my cynical brain voice said.

Sitting in the endless outbound traffic around 4:15 p.m., talking to Jerry on my cellphone, a call comes in with a number I knew not. I ignored it.

Then it was on to dinner at the diner, a Ted tradition. No Ravelry party for us. Just a bunch of friends having dinner and talking shop.

As I was sitting, my phone went off again, the same strange number.  This time, I answered it.

Me: Hello
Stranger: Is this Marilyn Roberts?
Me: Yes, who is this, please?
Stranger: My name is Jackie. Did you purchase a Golding spindle? I have it. Are you coming to Rhinebeck tomorrow?
Me: No, but I'd make the drive again to pick up the spindle.
Jackie: I'm staying in Poughkeepsie at a hotel on Rte. 9, so if you want, you can come and pick it up tonight.
Me: Thank you so much!  I'll be there around 9!

Off I go, driving back over the Rhinecliff Bridge, past the fairgrounds, and down to Poughkeepsie, which about 20 miles south of Rhinebeck. It was rather on the way home.

I met Jackie in the hotel lobby and brought her a skein of Black Bunny Fiber sock yarn as a thank-you.

She was a lovely woman from Ohio. She truly restored my faith in people. I will never forget her.

End Game
What I bought and what was gifted:
Duffy gave me the wonderful purple fiber. I love her. Her friend Sharon and long-time reader, sent me the fabulous purple sock yarn along with a wonderful note thanking me for my blog. I almost cried reading it. (Sharon, I will e-mail you with a personal message.) To the right of the sock yarn is the incredible cashmere/silk that I bought at Carolina Homespun, some lovely hand-dyed silk, and a wooden wrist distaff.

All in all, quite a rare and handy day. How can you not love a day that validates your obsession? I hope to see more of you next year.


anne marie in philly said...

shit, looks like I missed a good time...ah well, perhaps next year!

thanks for sharing, marilyn!

Fiber Ninja said...

Awww, I'm flattered that you remembered me since I'm imprisoned in Flori-duh! You shouldn't have doubted that the spindle would return. Remember when my bag was returned at Rhinebeck 2009? Looks like you got some great goodies and saw some even greater people.

Anonymous said...

I was a pleasure finally meeting you. What a great picture of you and your friend! Glad you got your spindle back. Maybe I'll see you some Thursday at Stix n Stitches.

Sharon said...

Aw, Mar! I'm so glad Duffy found you. The pics are wonderful. I'm saving so I can go to next year's Rhinebeck and meet ya. You've got an open invitation to visit us fiber fanatics anytime here in Oregon!

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

That's some beautiful scenery, andit looks like a lot of fun. I've been meaning to get one of those drop spindles, but since I'm only an amateur knitter, I don't think I should go trying new things.

Ann said...

Lovely stories. Perhaps one of these days, I will make it out there!

urban muser said...

amazing that you got your spindle back. there are some good people in this world. yay!

ChelleC said...

So glad you had a good time and that Jackie found your spindle. That type of thing really restores one's faith in humanity, doesn't it? I heard that Dave at Merlin Tree had two spinning wheels swiped right out from under him, so this is a good balance to hear of this good deed.

Pam said...

Like your new bob!!

FiberQat said...

My dear, what an honor to be dubbed a long lost sister! Thank you so much! You are a delightful treasure. Our time together was way too short. We will get together again and plot mischief over the needles and spindles.

I hope some day you and Jerry will be able to make the excursion to the Pac NW. Plan on more than a weekend; there are a lot of treasures to discover.

Sharon said...

Just checking in. Hope all is well!

D. Jean Quarles said...

I think we hear so many stories of people who do not do the right thing, that we forget there are a lot of people doing good things every day. Glad you found one of them, or your spindle did.