I am finally able to write about my adventures at the NY Sheep and Wool Show! Retirement has its benefits, for sure.
Traveling to Rhinebeck, NY, with a lovely group of fiber friends is the highlight of the year. The Hudson Valley is usually at its peak of fall color; we rent a house, bring lots of lovely food and libations, and just have a great time. The sheep and wool show is absolutely fantastic as well! (Not an afterthought and certainly our reason for being there). We also get to visit with many vendor friends who are there at the show. Sometimes this is the only visit we get.
This year our AirBnb rental got a little mixed up, and we ended up staying in a different place than usual. Lovely, large farmhouse, with all the seating and sprawl areas that we could have wanted, and a great kitchen as well. You never know how those things are going to work out, but it was a great choice. With the drought in the northeast continuing, we ended up having perfect weather, too. Sunday was almost too hot!
Having had a lovely flock of Coopworth and Border Leicester sheep and crosses for many years, I really never need anything at a sheep and wool show (I have tons of roving and yarn left from our crew). But in the last year or two I have been loving the adventure of trying out wools from different breeds of sheep. This year I knew that I wanted to find a Shetland fleece, as that is something I have never spun or knit with.
There were a plethora of fleeces to choose from, and I had a difficult time deciding. I knew I wanted a dark fleece if I could find one, but a reddish-brown one was second on my list as that is a color you don’t find in Coopworth or Border Leicester sheep. And so I came away with a lovely small fleece, just enough for me to have some fun with, and maybe spin up for a small shawl. This hogget (or yearling fleece) came from a farm on Cape Cod, Freddy’s Farm Shetlands. Lovely, very clean fleece. This one is not a dual-coated Shetland, as many are (Shetlands are considered a “primitive” breed, so they would typically have a hairy outer fleece layer with very soft undercoat. And you really want to keep those two products separate when spinning!). So I waited in the long line in the fleece area, got to look at what everyone else around me was buying, and had a great time!
I also found more little treasures at the show: some beautiful Romney/silk roving, and two skeins of Wensleydale/Romney yarn. I bought enough of the roving to possibly make myself a sweater or a vest. The red yarn is for a cowl, Purl Soho’s pattern ‘Cowl with a Twist.’
And so it goes. Yesterday was so beautiful and warm that I was able to wash the whole Shetland fleece, and it was almost totally dry by dark. I also plied up some Coopworth grey singles yarn to use for the accent color on the red cowl. It was a beautiful day all around, and our Rhinebeck weekend was pretty spectacular!