Monday, October 22, 2007

Rhinebeck 2007

After the buying free for all that was Stitches (yes, I have a camera, yes, I will blog about my purchases), I wasn't completely looking forward to Rhinebeck. The weather was iffy, I was broke, I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head, and I was broke. So, when Courtney bailed due to impending childbirth, and the trip was a 50/50 no-go, I felt a strange kind of relief - I was going to be saved from the crack, er yarn. But, Kate really really wanted to go, the trip was on, and we were in the car, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, heading towards Rhinebeck. As I was getting in the car, my almost five-year old niece called to chat:

Niece: Aunt Wendy, I think it would take 57 days to walk to Florida.
Me: Interesting.
Niece: And it would take 39 days to walk to Colorado.
Me: It would take less time to walk to Colorado than Florida, why is that? Colorado is farther.
Niece: Because Mickey Mouse lives in Florida.

And, from that, I kind of just let my stress about money go - there's just no logic to things, really. Who cares my bank account is empty, Mickey Mouse lives in Florida!

Last year, I stayed at the Bates Motel, where one would certainly go to kill oneself, in I think Hyde Park. This year, since we waited so long to book a room, we stayed at the Pleasant Valley Inn, in, where else, Pleasant Valley. The last five miles of the trip were something straight out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was rainy, it was dark, it was windy. The roads were slick, and twisty. Kate's hands gripped the wheel, her nose was practically pressed against the dashboard, trying to see. We found our motel, grabbed our stuff, and hustled to our room, 103. All of the rooms were numbered 101, 102, 103, except this one -- Room 23. Outside Room 23, a man in a black hoody lounged in a beach chair. Others milled around in the doorway, wearing boxer shorts and wife beaters. Iron Maiden blasting, the proprietor of Room 23 said "if we're too loud for you girls, just let us know!" We ducked our heads, nodded, and kept moving - into the room, and safety. At one point, while we were watching t.v., the music went off, and all I could hear was a loud buzzing. Uch, I said, they must have blown out their speaker, that reverb is killing me. Kate got up to investigate. She peaked through the blinds, but as she was standing there, she noticed the sound was coming from our room - our refrigerator. She yanked the cord out of the wall, the noise stopped, and we immediately went to sleep - enough time awake at this not so Pleasant motel.

Luckily, between the evening and the morning we only spent 45 waking minutes at what we would come to call Hotel Meth, featuring lovely decor, like this lamp that I found in our closet. In the morning, I ventured into the shower - I turned the water on, it was cold, I let it run. I started to smell something, something that smelled, well, like ass. As the water got hotter, the smell got more pungent, like the smell of warm death, as Kate put it. We quickly got dressed, grabbed our things, and bolted passed Room 23. The door to Room 23 was open. I peaked inside - they're were mattresses strewn around the room, litter, clothes, but there were also tools, and saw horses, and sketchy equipment lying around as well. Between the smell from the water, and the makeshift industrial look of the room, there was only one explanation - we had stayed at a meth lab. Hotel Meth.

We tried to return the key, but drat, the door was locked! Were we going to be stuck at Hotel Meth for all eternity!!!! Luckily, some woman poked her nose through a curtain, and pointed for Kate to just leave the key on the windowsill. She dropped the key, and we made a run for it.

And, we ran towards food, preferably not laced with crystal meth. We stopped at a roadside mom and pop farm stand, and they directed us to the historic Red Hook diner, in historic Red Hook, dubbed the "cutest little town ever," by Kate.

The Historic Red Hook Diner is modeled after the original Silk City Diner, so we felt right at home. And boy did they make us feel at home, as they stuffed us with pure, unadulterated maple syrup, sweet potato pancakes, homefries, omelets, and sausage with gravy and biscuits:

Shockingly well-rested, and clearly well-fed, we were ready for Rhinebeck.

Last year, I arrived at the fairgrounds early, snuck in, and bolted for the Socks that Rock. This year, I have unknit STR's all over my house, 2 skeins sacrificed to moths, and laceweight purchased at Stitches. We got to the festival at 11:00, totally skipped the Fold and Brooks Farm (which I also purchased at Stitches), and while we did start in Building A, home of both vendors, we were relaxed and uncrazed. Within minutes, we ran into Carol, our Black Bunny proprietress, and Laura, co-author of an upcoming Interweave book, with Carol and Lisa, of Rosies.
Carol and Laura had left Philly around 5:00 a.m., and while Hotel Meth wasn't exactly the Four Seasons, or Motel 6 for that matter, I was glad we had each invested $30/night in order to avoid that ungodly morning start.

So, what did I buy? I completely forgot to photograph them - but, I can tell you, I spent under $100. And, you know, I really didn't have to restrain myself from anything - I was just enjoying the fall weather, the beautiful scenery, and making friends with the livestock. I did buy sweater quantity worsted from Shadyside Farm, no gimics, no fancy multi's, just a solid chartreuse from the sale bin, that I completely snatched as someone else was waivering on reaching for it. I also got a fingerless mitt kit from Carolina Homespun in pinks, and sweater quanity Morehouse bulky, which I'll chat about below. Most importantly, however, I got the knob to fix my wheel. I wish I remembered the name of the vendor - this guy helped me out last year, and he was equally helpful this year. Both years, I pointed to a part on the wheel that I was missing, and he went into his secret tool box, and found the part I needed. When I got home, I had a terrible head cold, so I wasn't in the mood for spinning, but I did need to know if it was going to work. So, I quickly banged in the nob, threaded the bobbin, and spun for a few seconds - lookie! There's take-up! I have a brake! I can make yarn. So, I'll save some practice spinning for later in the week, when it doesn't feel so much like exercise.

By lunchtime, I had still not bought anything, and Kate was the big spender - sweater quantity at Green Mountain Spinnery, and sweater quantity at another small farm that basically sold Green Mountain Spinnery. For lunch, we stopped at the 4H counter, and I had my now traditional lunch - lamb chilli.
I love supporting 4-H, anything that brought livestock to Warminster, PA is a gem in my book, as many of my friends were 4H'rs. (I was not - my cityfolk parents knew nothing of cows, bunnies and farming). There is something strange about chowing down on lamb, when you're surrounded by very much alive sheep, but ah well, it's just too good to resist.

So, like I said, I made friends with the animals, did my Dr. Doolittle thing, instead of buying their wares. Here are some of my new friends - alpacas, and goats, and rams, and a turtle - oh my!

And, here's the lovely fall foliage:

And then, it was time to sit down, beat.

We left the fairgrounds at about 4:45, and went to the Morehouse store. Last year, going at the same time as the closing of the festival, the store was a madhouse. This year, we completely beat the crowd, and were able to poke around at our leisure. Sheep's Clothes is everyone's dream yarn store. A cornacopia of color, arranged by weight. After feeling up nearly every weight in the store, Kate had to ask, why isn't everything merino? Everything could be merino, and we'd probably all be happy, but what would the poor Blue Faced Leicester, or the Cormo do? There's room for every sheep in the herd, but merino is a total dream.
While I'm sure there was probably more sale yarn earlier, we did manage to get our hands in a big bin of yarn, and I walked away with a rust colored bulky to make the bandwagon sweater, as we call it at Rosie's, because everyone is knitting it - the moss stitch, asymetrical cardigan/jacket from Drops.
And then, we were done - Kate walked out of the Morehouse Store, last purchase in hand. And, we hit the road, back to Philly, making plans for nexxt year's Rhinebeck, and more grateful than you could ever imagine, that we did not have to return to Hotel Meth!

In other news, the bf Cobblestone sweater is indeed done, has been gifted, and properly appreciated it - pictures later in the week!


Wendy said...

I WILL make it to Rhinebeck one of these years ... perhaps there's a way to start south and stop for pickups in Philly ... but no Hotel Meth.

Glad to hear you finally got that knob!!!

Bridget said...

It sounds like such a great trip, and looks like you and Kate had a good time, Hotel Meth notwithstanding ...

I really hope to make it some year, but in the meantime, I enjoyed going vicariously!

Your niece's reasoning is great - I wish all problems could be solved so "sensibly."

Knitting Novice said...

Sounds like such a great time! Loved the pictures! I'm definitely going next year!

chris said...

You're making me very happy that we camped and only had to put up with drunks till 2:30 am.

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing all the great those little goats! Sounds like you two had quite the fun adventure, I'm a little jealous. Maybe next year...

joann, wynnewood said...

Oy! That Motel Meth! That lamp! Oy! The yarn looks yummy but I'd be hard pressed not to barf at the filth of the motel. I hope you disinfected when you got home. I've been up there and actually there are some decent places - I guess you have to plan ahead to get the Marriott Courtyard. Glad to see you blogging. I'd like to go to one of these fests one day.

Emily said...

A great post, thanks Wendy. One day I'll get to the East Coast USA at the right time for Rhinebeck (or at all!). Maybe 2009?

This relaly gave me an idea of what it's like.

Macoco said...

Wow that sounds like it was a great trip. Your comments about hotel meth cracked me up.

Carol said...

My daughter talks just like your niece. It drives my rational lawyer brain crazy!

Glad you finished Cobblestone and found someone knit-worthy!

Catherine said...

oh my, that hotel does sound sketch! but at least you survived the night and came away with yarny goodness!

Tasha said...

My friends and I stayed at Hotel Meth, too. I had been expecting much worse, so the first night I was ok with it, but the smell of the water almost made me vomit during my shower on Saturday morning. That guy in room 23 was the creepiest thing EVER, and every single time we went out to the car or back to our room, he was there, watching. EW.


WandaWoman said...

That was a lovely recollection of Rhinebeck. Although it cracks me up that "Courtney bailed due to impending childbirth", that part was pretty funny.

Why do you guys always stop at the worst hotels? Yikes, Hotel Meth, another winner. But makes for great blog fodder, right?