Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Minor Celebrity, Right Down Stairs

Every week or so, I get together with a few neighbors, to knit or crochet, and hear the latest news around the building. On a particular afternoon in the summer, there were about 5 or 6 of us at a large round table, crafting.  Another resident, who I just knew as, "Marge, with the Yorkie, Mitzie,"  came by and  took a look at what we were doing. I think, at the time, I was making my Scallop Scarf.  One of the  crafters said, "Marge, why don't you join us?" And then she said to the group, "You should see the beautiful work she does."   Marge graciously declined and said she likes to crochet while watching TV in the evening. 

Then, the person who invited Marge to join us, reminded Marge that I'd never seen her needlework.  Marge said she was going to check on Mitzie and she would bring some baby sets she just finished, so we could see them. She disappeared for a few minutes and returned with 5 or 6 beautiful Christening gowns, bonnets and booties. She's making them for all the young relatives she has, whether they are expecting babies now or not. She wants them to have them, so if they have children after Marge is no longer able to crochet, or after she passes away, they will all have Christening sets.  The work was intricate and beautifully executed.  I asked her, a bit puzzled, why she didn't want to hang out with us, even if she didn't stitch.  She said, "Oh, it was my work for a number of years. I was a designer."  She was a designer?!? I knew she had been a nurse, but a crochet designer? She told us how she worked with a couple publishing companies. Her job was creating a finished model and creating a pattern when given a description of some crochet object for a book or pattern collection.  She's significantly older than I, but I think I have seen  old, out of print books that contain some of her designs. Two of the publishers with whom she worked were House of White Birches and Leisure Arts, in the 80's.   Back in the day, I had some of their books. I donated them and/or sold them when we moved, 5 years ago, because I had to pare way, way, way down. 

Now, she is into miniatures for doll houses. She has an Etsy shop in which she sells her teeny tiny 1 inch scale crocheted pieces. They're made with DMC tatting cotton and a size 14 steel hook. Wow! She has a 5 star rating and all the reviews of her work are positively glowing. I've known Marge for several years and until that afternoon, I had no idea of her long crafting history, nor her amazing craftsmanship.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I've been wanting to attend the NY Sheep & Wool Festival since the first time I heard about it, at least 15 years ago.  I finally went!!

Last Saturday, we drove to Rhinebeck, NY, where the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are.  It was a perfect day, with sun and clouds and breezes with occasional gusts of wind.  The tree colors were just past peak, but beautiful, just the same. From our apartment, including a small detour locally, and the traffic within a  10 - 12 mile radius of the venue reminiscent of Woodstock, it took over 2 hours. It should have taken about one and a half.  We were directed to a particular parking area that was a long walk to the entry gate because the 2 closer lots were full. I believe the festival opened at t 10:00 and we arrived after 12:00.

I don't know what the attendance was on Saturday, but it was a big number.  The crowds made it more interesting and exciting.  Many people sported woven, crocheted or knitted garments and/or accessories.  There were sweaters, shawls, scarves, hats, vests, headbands, bracelets, bags, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, fingerless mitts, wristers, arm warmers, tights, socks, flower brooches and amigarumi pinned to everything you can think of.  I saw loads of Ravelry buttons, too. 

 I wore mine on my Kate's Shawl. 

I had hoped to arrive in time to go to the Ravelry meetup.  I couldn't find it!  I asked several people in what I thought was close proximity to the meetup, but none of them knew what I was talking about.

Of course, I didn't find the fair grounds' info booth until much later in the day.  I also couldn't find a few vendors I met at the Northern NJ Fiber Arts Festival, a few weeks ago.  Part of why I couldn't find them is that I was at the fair with 2 non-fiber artist men. (My husband, "E-Rex" and his good bud, Jerry.) Need I say more? They thought walking through a vendor building meant, literally, walking through it.  Although the festival was huge, at the rate they were walking, not looking at anything other than food at the various food stands, the whole thing could have been, literally, seen in, literally, an hour and a half. Ugh!  So, I couldn't really take my time, schmooze,  touch yarn,  think about what that oh-so-touchable skein could make or make some part of, or do anything else I would have customarily done, were I rolling with some fellow crafters.  Note to self: next year, find some yarnies with whom to go.

There were numerous food vendors, some sellers of soaps, lotions, wood accessories and kitchenware, bags, books and wine, but by far, the very best of the festival was its fibers and yarns.

There was a Peruvian band playing Andean folk music, which did wonders to relieve attendees of thinking about any budget they might have made for themselves. The airy, almost mystical sounds were soothing, affirming and maybe even a little hypnotic.  

Even the guys enjoyed the demonstration by a shepherdess and her sheep dogs herding 3 sheep who tolerated the various dogs' performances. All the dogs looked liked they loved working. None of the sheep were frightened, they just allowed themselves to be herded where ever the shepherdess desired.  It was wonderful to watch.

There were exotic and ordinary breeds of sheep, goats, bunnies,  llama and alpaca to see, pet and at certain times, see shorn.  

It was over too soon and I'm already waiting for next year. It was the best kind of sensory overload.  I will round up some friends who will want to be there at opening, and who will either want to go through together, slowly, or split up and plan to meet at an appointed time for lunch, split up again and meet at an appointed time to leave.  

Only 360-something days to go.

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