Rhinebeck, USA


I made my second pilgrimage to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool festival this year thanks to an intrepid, non-knitting friend/chauffeur. I navigated while she drove (and sang and searched for radio stations and only once attempted to merge onto a highway going the wrong direction).

We made it in one piece.

The air was crisp, the sky clear, the barns packed with people fawning over yarns and rugs and adorable sheep and camelids.

These were my kind of people. Fibre-y people. Dressed in their best Rhinebeck sweaters and shawls (hurriedly blocked the day before, I’m sure). They were eager to talk crimp and grist and skirting and twist and all those words that are so deliciously opaque to the rest of the world. They knew the fibre lover’s secret handshake.

They even had a llama jumping competition, for heaven’s sake!


There were a few whiffs of strangeness (foreignness) though: A couple “colours” spelled without the “u”. How gauche. Funny looking monochromatic banknotes. How confusing! A Trump bumper sticker on the back of an SUV, driven by a seemingly sane looking young woman.

A larger homemade Trump sign mounted to the side of a barn and illuminated by several small spotlights.

A small, worn sticker on the back of a bathroom stall door. In large block letters, in the centre of the sticker, were the instructions: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”

When I flushed and was able to get a closer look, I saw a small image of a smiling cartoon eagle at the top of the sticker, next to the words: “Harry the eagle says, if you see a gun…”

It was all so Almost familiar. They were all so Almost Canadian.

Just Trump-ier. And armed.


Purchases made at the fleece sale:

  • 1 Shetland fleece from a sheep named Xena
  • 1 Alpaca fleece from Lil Darling (who’s apparently expecting her first cria soon, mazel tov.)

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In memoriam

Flax Linen Handspun Yarn

I had reserved Sunday morning for plying, as I’m sure many do. It’s not my favourite activity, but I was determined to get my linen singles off the bobbin and into a skein. My first 100g bobbin had languished for quite some time, and I’d worked hard this past week to get the second half spun up.

I plied my way through a podcast, and niddy-noddied through part of another. My deltoids were nice and toasty warm by the end.

I double checked with the all-knowing internet that I should be boiling this thing before throwing it into the magic cauldron. I added a teaspoon or two of washing soda and a glug of Dr. Bronners.

And simmer, simmer, simmer away she went. (I gotta say, there was something deliciously honey-like to the smell of my linen worm spaghetti.)

Flax Linen Handspun Yarn in water

And then…


A loud POP. A shatter.

The glass lid to my (cheap ass) pot had imploded, sending little shards and squares of glass in every direction. The bulk of the centre of the lid had fallen straight down into the water turning my yarn into a glittery, barbed mess.

Here’s the thing: I know this feeling. I’ve learned this lesson before. I can still relive the interminable instant when that heavy cylindrical piece of kiln furniture keeled over onto my precious clay crab, knocking its right claw clean off its body. It’s one of those slow-mo realizations about the linear nature of time. Nope, no take-backs. No do-overs. And no freaking way to pick out each microscopic piece of evil glass that didn’t even exist mere moments ago!

I do eventually get to some trite place of peace. It’s the journey, Allison. The fields of flax are already sprouting anew. Kumbaya.

Yes, but it still hurts.

  • Fibre: 100% flax top – natural brown, from The Fibre Garden
  • Weight: 200g, lace/fingering, two ply
  • Length: 736 yards in two skeins
  • Notes: First flax experience. A 2014 Christmas gift from family. Spun with damp fingers.

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