I Got to Go to Rhinebeck a cross post from ChristineGuestDesigns

Last summer Dan announced that he wanted to take me to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival for our anniversary, and reserved us a room before I could object on practical or budget reasons.

Dan at the door of our B&B
Dan at the door of our B&B

Dan took off both Friday and Monday so he could go back to work rested enough to actually accomplish something. I’m not sure I’ll remember it all unless I write about it, and look at the photos and business cards I collected. I wasn’t sure I should post where we stayed in case someone snags it for next year – I didn’t even say how I found it when I met Shannon Okey at the Cooperative Press booth, even though I did feel bad she had to stay across the river. But Nickie and Gabriel were lovely to us, and how could I not plug them? (We are going to reserve it again ASAP though.)

the view off the back hill from our suite
the view off the back hill from our suite

Because the Hudson Valley is so lovely, and Rhinebeck is cool even without the Sheep and Wool Festival. As we drove in, the downtown reminded me of Nyack (grow up on an artsy, touristy town, and you will be spoiled for life for any other, so this is high praise) and I saw so many signs for historic sites I wanted to bring my kids to for homeschool.

fog in the valley as we waited in traffic to enter the fairgrounds
fog in the valley as we waited in traffic to enter the fairgrounds

And the hills and trees and mists are so pretty. Watch out for deer though. We saw about 10 just this weekend, mostly about to cross the road in front of us oblivious to traffic.

K asked us to say hello to a sheep
K asked us to say hello to a sheep

So, we went away without kids, what did we talk about? The kids. K had asked us to say hello to a sheep, so finding ourselves first in the livestock area, we did. I’d had a plan to walk the whole fair and then shop, my only to do was to say hello to Shannon Okey at the Cooperative Press booth.

The friendliest sheep, in a canvas jacket
The friendliest sheep, in a canvas jacket

But the fair was Just. So. Big.

Dan smiling over his coffee as we discussed the merits of lamb vs felafel for lunch
Dan smiling over his coffee as we discussed the merits of lamb vs felafel for lunch

It didn’t take me long to buy a Christmas present for K, then pretty much forget about shopping for yarn, or passing out the business cards I’d had printed for the occasion. Dan gave them out for me whenever someone admired his sweater. I was officially overwhelmed. So, we chatted with people waiting in line for coffee about what they’d knit to wear to the fair.

me waiting in line for felafel - because Dan just likes taking my photo.
me waiting in line for felafel – because Dan just likes taking my photo.

People really do see color first. There were a lot of orange neck scarves, I wonder if you can wear more autumnal colors to the fair than you would to the office or lab? I’ve backed away from colorful projects because I’ve noticed that my family and I actually wear monochromatic things more often that don’t take center stage or demand calmer, matching but subdued other garments. A lot of people were wearing black leggings or plain jeans with their handmades.  I didn’t see many who wore crochet, but when I did, they asked about my Attleboro Sweater. And Dan gave them my card.

yes, the felafel was worth the line
yes, the felafel was worth the line

I’ve been out to a restaurant 4 times since my Celiac diagnosis, it’s easier to cook at home. So it’s a really big deal that I ate at the fair, and Aba’s Felafel took care of me. They didn’t just make a plate of naturally gluten free foods – they abandoned a partially completed plate, changed gloves, changed serving utensils, moved away from the pita, and made me a plate that had not been cross contaminated. I’m one of those people with Celiac that can’t even handle naturally gluten free things manufactured in a plant that also handles wheat. They looked after me as well as my Mother does.

Aba's Falafel took such good care of me - no glutening at all.
Aba’s Falafel took such good care of me – no glutening at all.

And the Felafel was so yummy.

About this time I glimpsed Stephen West walking purposely towards the education building.  The crowd murmured, Is that?  Yes.  Wow.

Being near the Airodrome, the biplanes with biplane rides printed under their wings flew overhead
Being near the Airodrome, the biplanes with biplane rides printed under their wings flew overhead
yes this is blurry, but that is Nicki Epstein, and I need to buy her book for K.
yes this is blurry, but that is Nicki Epstein, and I need to buy her book for K.

So, somewhat fortified, we ventured into the book signing area.  Nicki Epstein complimented Dan on his sweater, Dan pointed to me. (People were so good about not assuming that the wife was the knitter.)

“It’s 17 years old.”

Mr Epstein paused in hauling books to say, “She says I’m on her waiting list, I haven’t gotten a sweater in 17 years either.”

I said, “It’s all those photography samples she has to make,”

Mr Epstein said, “That’s what she says.”

Nickie Epstein said, “That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”

Is that?  Yes.  Wow.

So we finally get away without kids, what did we talk about? Our Kids. And then we phoned them.
So we finally get away without kids, what did we talk about? Our Kids. And then we phoned them.

I looked at lucets, drop spindles, needle felting things, and learned about Teeswater sheep.

Yes, it was crowded, and the trees were pretty, and it wasn't raining.
Yes, it was crowded, and the trees were pretty, and it wasn’t raining.

But we hadn’t found anything to buy the boys, so we headed for building E.  Lamb ribs and cheese, perfect.  Then we heard about the chop stick knitting contest.

I entered the knit with chopsticks competition.
I entered the knit with chopsticks competition.

I was ready for the fair part of the fair.  And hadn’t brought anything to knit.  So it felt so good to sit down and enter.

The man in grey and the lady behind the spinning wheel had just placed in the spinning contest.
The man in grey and the lady behind the spinning wheel had just placed in the spinning contest.

I came in 3rd place for knitting.  I’d used most of my time rounding over and sharpening the tips so I’d be able to grasp the stitches.  I also used a cable cast on which I find nice and loose.  I think the women who placed first and second just kept their heads down and knit, I kept glancing around.

Dan thought it was funny that the lady in red asked me about knitting Eastern Uncrossed while I was making my foundation crochet row for the crochet contest. Come to think of it, it was funny.
Dan thought it was funny that when the lady in red asked me about knitting Eastern Uncrossed while I was making my foundation crochet row for the crochet contest, it looked like I was giving a class. Come to think of it, that is funny.

I ran out of yarn in the middle of the crochet contest, but the lady behind the spinning wheel advocated for me, and got me another ball of yarn.  I came in second for that one.  I learned later that whenever someone said, “She’s have won if she hadn’t run out of yarn,” Dan would hand over my card.  I’m not so sure that actually is the case though, the lady who won was very fast indeed.

I saw Susie Allen wearing her Montpelier dress at Pretzel Princess (who also had something safe and gf!) This time I managed to pull out my business card myself.

Is that?  Yes.  Wow.

Our photos from Sunday didn’t come out.  We went to church before the fair, after getting lost and driving over the Rhinecliff bridge, which we didn’t mind, because it afforded a glorious view of the Catskills in pretty leaves.  We took in the Leaping Llama’s show (the 4H kids and their alpaca “Spitters” were adorable.) and again I tried to buy yarn.  I just couldn’t decide though.

As we were exiting the fair grounds, two women were entering, one in
Psychedelic Shawl, the other in Seashells.  “Is that Xandy Peter’s stacked increased and decreases?” I asked, finally not shy.

“Yes.” the lady in Seashells said, “And that’s Xandy Peters.”  It was her Mom, who is her photographer.

What a gracious young woman, with a head on her shoulders.  We discussed unventing techniques (I’d have liked to hear more, but she was modest), her college in NYC, Dan’s sweater, finding your thing to design so that people know you and you can make a living off of it, how nice Stephen West is as a teacher and person, taxes, and commuting.  I managed to exchange cards with her too, but only because she held my coffee for me.

Is that?  Yes.  Wow.

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