October 20, 2015
how to talk about rhinebeck.
how to talk about rhinebeck
when you haven’t talked
this was, perhaps,
the most restrained i’ve been
at a fiber festival, mostly just
replenishing those things i always do.
i’m definitely not as deft as i once was;
i dropped a lot of stitches,
my gauge is inconsistent,
and i had to take breaks for achey hands,
but boy did it feel great to knit again.
gotta love that shift in brain waves
brought on by a repetitive action.
so since i was using this paintbox,
i gave myself permission to replace it.
(i couldn’t get a good shot on its own, but you see it in the first pic.
the colorway is steampunk in the kashmir base)
my mom’s been kinda awesome this year in the face of pretty intense stress. so when i saw these two towels that match the one i got her last time, i knew what i was buying from karen this go ’round.
(she doesn’t have a website, apparently,
but if you want more info you can email her here)
then i got my stock of handmade soap from simpler thyme.
a couple lavender, a tea tree, and sandalwood will last me a while.
i also stopped by gene matras’ booth,
stocking up on some of his notecards to sustain my semi-secret paper addiction. (*sigh* another artsy macro shot showing only the ass of the sleepy pig notecard. i guess i’m out of practice with photography as well.
at least you get an idea of the level of detail in his work)
someday, i’m going to get one of his originals.
and i better do it quick; he’s no spring chicken.
this next item i didn’t even have to purchase.
on the anniversary of the annual chili pepper challenge andrea and i inaugurated five years ago at which we (and now most of our housemates) sample the hottest sauce at the wild coyote booth,
old man chili himself gave us each
a free bottle of hot sauce.
he gave me a bottle of buried alive, the sauce that gets its flavor and heat via not one not two but all three varietals of the ghost chili.
this shit does not. fuck. around.
the favorite thing i got a rhinebeck:
a selection of pieces gifted by sonya philip from her microscopy series. this gave me a lot of feels. a lot. i’ve admired sonya’s work since before i even knew who she was. and for her to just give me this work that she made… it meant a lot. i’ll treasure them and give them a place of honor in my tiny house.
well kids, that’s it for the loot.i’m still meditating on how to tackle my rhinebeck post proper.
it was…an incredible retreat from reality, so restorative.
it stirred up a lot of things in me, happy parts of me
that haven’t been a part of my life in a while now.
i’m feeling really lucky to have gone
and want to write it up right.
see you tomorrow?
October 23, 2013
i write at least two rhinebeck posts;
one about my time at the festival, itself,
and the other dedicated to “nips with steven”.
this year was a little different,
and so there will be just this one post.
shall we start with the nips?
ann hanson is always willing to oblige,
especially for art (bitch took at least a two finger gulp! mad props, ann)
my four-time rhinebeck partner in crime, andrea, took nip number two.
then it was you-von
who clearly enjoyed her nip.
a woman who is apparently a “somebody” in the knitting world
but whose name i forgot to write down . . .
is revealed to be stefanie japel after a bit of internet stalking.
val of the incomparable duo “flo and val” from butler, pa.
(seriously, you wish you knew these women)
laura chau, a nips with steven virgin.
(who looked at me like as if i were a crazy person but still participated)
and this is where nips with steven ends.
during laura’s nip, sonya alerted me that security had spotted me and the jig was up. though i tried to evade them as nonchalantly as possible, even happening upon an old friend with whom i hoped to hide innocently in the joy of our reunion, security very nicely escorted me out of the fairgrounds to deposit “my alcohol” in my car. thank christ val had given me her spare key or who know where i would’ve been.
i would have been fine with the whole thing,
since i guess i was technically breaking the rules,
but then it got back to me that they were gloating all over the fairgrounds that they had a caught me “chugging my whiskey.”
dudes, it’s not like you solved a murder.
you ruined our fun and censored my art.
the very least you can do
is be accurate.
i hadn’t taken a single nip.
while i wasn’t quite ballsy enough to try to sneak the bottle back in,
i refused to be deterred! and thus began:
“virgin nips with steven!”
which began with amy, a.k.a. boogie a.k.a. spunky eclectic(bitch has more names than prince)
followed by stacie, (whose husband, d, totally bailed on the hot pepper challenge this year)
and (canadian) erica a.k.a. weetsie
who is strikingly beautiful in person
and whose mild accent i find completely (and unusually) endearing.
then i encountered this guy whose handsomeness put me into some kind of stuttering fugue state wherein i lost all ability to be charming or articulate.
apparently, some time later, i took this shot
i love heather’s semi-literal take on the piece,
“exposing” herself by lifting her knitting.
so that’s it for nips.
i’m not sure if i’ll do it again next year,
but if i do, perhaps i can enlist some lookouts.
after nips with steven,
the hot pepper challenge is the most important of my rhinebeck traditions. this year, the ghost chili was supplanted by the black scorpion chili as the hottest in the world.
1. somehow, andrea and i both decided (independently) to chew on one side of our mouths only, thus minimizing the area affected and proving we are now both pros at this.
2. both of our gums and inner cheeks went numb on the side where we chewed the sample (a tostitos scoop filled with hot sauce for those of you who’re wondering).
3. one of my teeth experienced a shooting pain for about five minutes after the encounter. this worried me.
4. for the next hour, both andrea and i felt a bit . . . unsettled. as if, somehow, the black scorpion chili hot sauce were a drug.
we did not feel normal for some time.
5. while, later on, neither of us had the “sting ring” associated with eating spicy foods, we did each experience an immediate need to use the loo in the middle of the night. while i can’t say the pepper was responsible, i could “sense” it was included in the process.
the rest of rhinebeck was just icing on the cake:
this dude and his tiara.
the purple wizard whose name we found out this year is ed
(apparently, he’s legit. we always thought he just showed up in his wizard digs and walked around for shits and giggles)
beth hansenfreshly dyed and dealing nicely with a completely incompetent little girl.
i ended day one with my second rhinebeck celebrity sighting.
this time is was scott cohen of gilmore girls fame.
while he’s no uma thurman, a celebrity is a celebrity. (a big thank you to the twitterverse for a) confirming that i wasn’t crazy and this was in fact a celebrity while b) supplying the name)
before leaving for day two,
the day for last minute shopping and lunch,
we got a little silly. what follows will demonstrate
how much fun we have in the cool kids house and confirm for you
that you’re completely jealous you weren’t there with us.
rhinebeck has become a pilgrimage,
the one time of year when i have no responsibilities,
can hang with people who make me laugh, and simply enjoy being for a spell. it’s a necessary restorative and, though difficult, i find a way to make going possible. and i couldn’t be more grateful
to spend the weekend with these sickos.
October 20, 2013
i don’t have enough bandwith to do a proper post
but this is what i’ll say about today’s rhinebeck adventure:
beware the human door.
this bitch kept getting in everyone’s way at the into the whirled booth.
i and about five other women just wanted to look at some roving,
but she was not having it.
you’d reach for a braid,
she’d reach for a braid.
she was a fucking fiber linebacker;
there was no getting around her!
so beware, bitches, the human door.
she is not fucking around.
September 22, 2013
because my (likely vain) pursuit of becoming an “academic”
requires a gradually increasing inhuman amount of work
such that anything that involves fiber
has been all but completely eliminated from my life
my annual trip to rhinebeck is especially important to me this year.
these are the things i love about rhinebeck:
1. the homeric two-day road trip with my fiber buddy andrea; epic driver, designer, yarn hocker, networker, and the brains (and brawn) behind yarn superhero llc. we laugh, swear, gossip, judge, eat, harmonize to joni mitchell for hours, and peep the shit out of some leaves. this drive is the initial decompression required for me to (try to) forget my real life and put me in the rhinebeck state of mind.
2. i stay at the cool kids house. while i’m not famous, and there are definitely houses with more famous yarny people in them, our rhinebeck house is by far where the real cool kids stay. fuck the ravelry peeps and their damn baby. fuck whatever cabin in the woods the yarn harlot or clara parks might be staying in. we stay here. while most of the details are completely confidential, let me just say that there’s some extraordinary inappropriateness that goes down at our house.
you wish you were invited.
but you’re not.
3. this year, my old friend, coworker, and yarn-store sibling, anna, will finally be coming to rhinebeck. she will be staying at the cool kids house. (the details aren’t clear, but i think there was a horrible death in the group that led to an opening. i don’t ask question)
4. my lack of vagina combined with intense undiagnosed sleep apnea means i get my own room. as an only child, this makes my soul rejoice.
5. the food. people have strong opinions about the food at rhinebeck. after a few years, this is what i think. the artichokes are not worth the line. the lamb ravioli with a side of garlic spinach is. i skip the shitty breakfast sandwiches and load up on apple donuts and cider. bring your own booze.
6. the ghost chili challenge. this will mark the third year of andrea’s and my masochistic indulgence at the hot sauce counter, thus making it into a tradition. the ghost chili is the world’s hottest pepper (last year, we had some fellow tasters, one of whom vomited after) but we just can’t seem to resist becoming high school boys for a few minutes to relish the feeling of doing something stupid for its own sake. this year, if memory serves, there’s a rumor that the hot sauce man has acquired the new, even hotter scorpion chili whose spiciness supposedly makes the ghost chili look like a lovely glass of milk fresh from the cow’s teet.
pray for us.
7. judging famous knitters based on their outfits.
(no elaboration necessary).
there are other things,
things i can’t put into words,
things i can’t even think of at 2:34 in the morning.
my goal is to outdo the previous year.
so if you’re going to rhinebeck,
or know someone who is,
look for me
and be a part of rhinebeck herstory.
it’s for art.
in other news,
the clockwork is on the move.
it was last seen with some new hampshire knitteratti:
right to left: thea colman (babycocktails), dawn catanzaro, diana (bestitched), julia farwell-clay. unseen & across the table were cecily glowik macdonald, bristol ivy, ellen mason (odacier), & erin m.
(who is rather immune to internet stalking so no link for her!)
photo courtesy of misa
October 31, 2012
as gay christmas.
so it feels oh so right
that i should have a happy post.
maybe some life stuff?
and then the rhinebeck post?
ok i’ll keep the life stuff brief.
1 – i gave a guest lecture today. i, apparently, rocked. i presented a scaled-down version of an article i’m working on. prof liked it. two undergrads came to her office hours and told her how much they enjoyed the class.
2 – i rewrote my entire comps proposal this week. committee members find it much improved. i continue on, encouraged.
3 – i have discovered the udon sushi bakery in east lansing. it’s asian fusion in the real sense, pulling from taiwan, korea, and japan. i am obsessed. i plan to eat my way through their entire menu. and the taro bubble tea? divine.
the combination of these three things has turned my frown entirely upside down. maybe the harlot is right about that whole universe balance business she’s always going on about. the thing that’s kept me going is that, while the stress has been nuclear, i can track real results in my progress in the program and improvement in my work. i might actually make it through this thing and become a scholar i want to be. we’ll see.
but now for the official rhinebeck post.
writing a cohesive narrative about rhinebeck is a fools errand.
instead, i’ll give my overall impression
and let the photos guide me.
(but don’t any of you fuckers even think about trying to book it for next year’s rhinebeck. we’ve got dibs. and anyone who tries to snatch it will have to answer to our leader, yarny old kim a.k.a. buttermilf painkcakes)
this is misa‘s epic fucking scarf
in which she has knit four lines of robert frost’s ‘mending fences’
if memory serves.
(so last year there was this moment when i saw him and was sure he saw me, recognized me, then looked away. i realize this is completely paranoid and kinda arrogant since, most likely, he has no fucking idea who i am. still. my insanity requires i now keep my distance. maybe next year i’ll get over my lunacy and ask him to be a part of nips with steVen)
speaking of kinnearing,
that is clara parks.
this is what andrea thinks of the crowd.
this is me with david.
he comes from a land down under. i have a crush on him.
this is andrea and i inducting two new people, dale a.k.a. njstacie‘s gingerlovahhusband & michelle into our rhinebeck tradition of sampling the ghost chili (a.k.a. chili fantasma) pepper sauce.
i don’t know why we do this. it is not pleasant. next year, there will be a new, even hotter chili pepper sauce for us to sample: the scorpion chili.
i’m afraid of next year.
(p.s. after this moment, michelle chugged a large chai to cool the burn and threw it right back up into the cup. sorry to put you on blast, girl, but i refuse forget that memory)
best quote of the weekend:
“ow! my twat. my twat!”
“it’s for art!”
see you next year!
October 23, 2012
October 20, 2012
today is rhinebeck.
say hi if you like.
but please don’t sneak up on me
or come running at me yelling
because last year,
this chick snuck up on me
and i inhaled a piece of me chicken sandwich.
it was not pretty.
if you want to be in ‘nips with steven‘ this year,
all you have to do is ask.
i’ve got the bottle.
October 17, 2012
as i’m sure you all know,
going to rhinebeck is important to me.
there are other sacred knitter destinations
such as webs, soar, maryland, sock summit, madrona, etc.
being in the blue moon barn is an especially religious experience,
but maybe that’s just me?
as we know,
is the holiest of holies.
for me, it is a true pilgrimage.
you may notice it’s wednesday night
and i’m already getting ready to go.
for i leave on the morrow for pittsburgh
dropping off mr. mo at the old homestead on the way.
i will be picked up by andrea
(a.k.a. the best yarn rep/fiber festival buddy ever)
early friday morning and we’ll head for new york.
there, we will meet up our 10 other housemates.
did i not mention i’m not staying at a motel this year?
well i’m not.
twelve of us have rented an big old victorian house for the weekend.
i’m finally one of the cool kids.
the best part?
i get my own room
because, as yarny old kim says,
i’m “the lone swingin’ dick” in the group.
then, it’s rhinebeck proper,
which i defy you to put into words.
but i’m getting ahead of myself.
first i must:
1 – wash every piece of clothing i own so i can pack anything i could possibly ever wear because who knows what may happen at rhinebeck.
2 – pack everything even though i suck at packing and all my clothes end up smushed and wrinkly even though i packed them nicely and used those strap things to hold them down.
3 – put aerobed by the door since my getting the bedroom to myself is contingent on my bringing an aerobed for someone else and i will forget it unless i block my exit with it.
4 – find and fill my knitting bag. i haven’t knit in 8 weeks. i don’t even know if i remember how. i hope i can fake it in a pinch.
(it’s the one with the hook, right?)
5 – dust of the old spinning wheel because you simply cannot go to an old victorian house with the cool kids for rhinebeck and show up without your spinning wheel unless you want to be mocked to the point of tears. i hope to spin until i do myself a mischief!
6 – catalogue all of my work that i need to bring with me because i am not delusional enough to think that just because it’s rhinebeck i don’t have a million things due as soon as i come back.
7 – gather all of mo’s things he will need to survive at the home of my youth. he now has another dog to compete for the attention of his grandparents. he isn’t pleased.
8 – make certain i have every possible electronic device and charger i own with me so i can document and blog every single possible thing ever since this may be the only real content i have until christmas time. this includes my vintage european mobile. you never know. i could go to rhinebeck and realize i need to be in france. or denmark.
9 – unearth a fucking tiny darning needle because i have to give misa her bohus hat and i never wove in its bajillion laceweight ends.
10 – locate the bohus hat.
11 – rewash this load of laundry as i realize i never put detergent in and refuse to be that skanky even if i do have a y chromosome and it’s probably fine and no one would notice.
i think that’s everything.
p.s. i’ll be doing two photo projects while i’m there, including ‘nips with steven’. if you’re going and you’d like to be a part of either of them, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.
p.p.s. here’s an old video to make those of you not going jealous.
2:04. i’m laughing at you, bitches!
August 7, 2012
i am frustrated. (get your head out of the gutter and focus, please)
i have literally been swatching for days for my rhinebeck sweater,
and frankly i’m thinking of throwing in the towel.
i want to make dale of norway’s liberec,
but i cannot for the life of me obtain the proper gauge.
(things might get technical and mathy after this)
the pattern was designed for either falk or heilo,
both of which are listed as sport-weight yarns.
i’ve decided to use blue moon fiber arts bfl sport
(which is amazing and if i ever figure this out,
you’ll get to see my amazing colors).
the gauge i’m supposed to obtain is 24sts/4″ on 3mm needles.
(my needle gauge says that’s a u.s. 3 but the internet says a u.s 3 is 3.25mm. anyway) on that needle, i was getting 30-32sts/4″.
i began to worry.
after swatching 5 times (5 times!!),
i’m up to a size 5 needle (3.75mm)
and i’m still not on gauge.
not to mention the fabric is loose for my taste.
how on earth are these norwegians getting that gauge on that needle?
then it hit me.
it’s not a sport-weight yarn. it’s dk.
ravelry says it’s sport.
the dale of norway website says it’s sport.
but it’s not. it can’t be.
i returned to ravelry. yep. heilo and falk are listed as sport.
then i saw the little ‘comments’ tab and my heart sank a little.
i clicked on it and what did i discover?
ravelers say it’s really more like a dk than a sport,
and even thicker than some yarns that are listed as a dk!
the only thing i can think of is dale of norway is calling their yarn sport-weight because they are knitting a dk yarn to a sport gauge on a smaller than standard needle (which will of course make a lovely thick fabric for skiing and improve stitch definition) rather than look at the actual diameter or wpi of their yarns.
in my despair, i considered just finishing the vest i was knitting/spinning for rhineback last year (and have secretly been working on this summer) since i was unable to complete it on time and has been hibernating ever since. then i remembered i’ve been emailing the designer because the pattern is wrong. i found one big error, and they sent me a corrected pattern. then i went to continue and found another. what really baffles me is how several people have ‘successfully’ knit the vest. how? the pattern it wrong! and it’s not something one can just figure out. i need the information from the designer!
(at what point should they offer me a refund?)
i have a decision to make.
since ravelry tells me the only colorwork sweaters i can knit with sport-weight yarn are by dale of norway, i must either do some math to make this sweater happen at the gauge i’m getting (we won’t even go into the horror of row gauge and color work). or i can just give up.
i have a significant amount of extra yarn for the main color.
maybe i’ll just forget colorwork all together.
i need to decide soon if i have any hope of finishing by rhinebeck.
i could use the advice.
October 25, 2011
because this week’s workload is so intense
that i find myself in moments of catatonia
i’ve decided to evade responsibilities through
excessive knitting and, now,
a blog post.
why read the rest of the hundred and fifty odd pages i need to finish in the next three hours when i could spend the next 30 with you all?
let’s take a trip back in time
to a mere ten days ago,
a time of sheep
rather than try to give you a sense of what rhinebeck “is”
a task to great for this humble writer.
instead i give you random moments,
the idiosyncrasies of
outside the melee that is the the briar rose tenti ran into david of southern cross fibre with his fiber soul twin, helloyarna few things need to be said about this encounter.
1. david is one of my spinning inspirations, so i felt a little geeky (though apparently others are worse, thankfully)
2. helloyarn was one of my main knitting inspirations when i first began knitting, and remains one of my top 5 “people who’s lives seem so cool on the internet that i wish mine was like theirs”. i’ve moved past the nerdy “she knows my name” phase and felt glad just running into her.
3. though! when i first met her last year, i was not very composed and perhaps too excited. i’m using that as my excuse (that and the campfire lighting) for why i’d forgotten that david and i had been introduced (by adrian i assume) at last year’s rhinebeck ravelry party
4. david reminded me of this fact after my “it’s great to finally meet you!” >minor humiliation<
5. he spun and knit that sweater in record time. i hate him.
6. he’s very handsome in person.
i also ran into amy aka boogie aka spunky eclectic (bitch has a lotta aliases. gotta wonder why) outside the jennie the potter booth free-for-all (adjacent to the briar rose melee). it was odd because i didn’t see her at first, but rather saw beth smith‘s name on a piece of paper in a clear plastic bag she was holding. when i took a second look, i glanced up and there she was. i have no photo, but i got a hug. she’s shorter than i imagined.
the line for the sanguine gryphon was ricockulous. i have to say, knitters are pretty honest. that’s the line to pay. i’m sure people could have just walked off with yarn, but instead waited forever to give them their money. my friend misa was in line for about 2 hours. granted she was getting a sweater-lot of yarn on sale but jesus!
i found out later that it’s author was here to sign copies of it! i had this great fantasy of buying them all, making the author sign them all, then promptly taking them out to a bin and lighting them all on fire.
i satisfied myself by making a catty comment about said author’s attire. i mean really, if you’re going to meet the public, you could put a little effort into your outfit. and for god sakes this is rhinebeck and you wrote a book about knitting. you couldn’t find one handknit to wear?! tacky as your book.
i did however wait in a long line to get stephanie’s new book, and have her sign it. the best part was the hug she demanded of me before i said a word. it’s really nice when a person you genuinely respect doesn’t think you’re a crazy internet stalker because you show up to a lot of the same places and ask her to sign things, but rather, thinks it makes you a nice person. obviously, the yarn harlot is the most famous knitter in the world and has therefore affected a lot of us. but i remember when i first got into knitting, reading her blog made it seem really cool and interesting. it made me want to get better at it. i don’t have a grandma who taught me, or some great knitting tradition in my family. i owe getting into knitting to her (or at least her persona), and i’m glad every time i see her.
but enough with the sappy shit.
the gem of the rhinebeck (in terms of vendors) had to be into the whirled. everyone i know bought something from here, and with good reason.while i cannot remember her name, and my photo does no justice to her or her wares, i encourage you to go buy all of her things, now. because believe you me, soon, you won’t be able to get you hands on her stuff!
on saturday, i tried the wild coyote sauces spiciest concotion, “buried alive.” it’s made with the “ghost chili”, supposedly the world’s hottest. being a foodie, i couldn’t pass up the chance to try it. plus the owner challenged my masculinity which, in any other case, wouldn’t have mattered. somehow, it mattered this time.
needless to say, it was spicy. a yoghurt smoothie saved my life and luckily, it was only a sample, not enough to give me, what andrea calls, “burny butt”.
the next day, my fiber festival partner in crime, decided she too had to meet the “ghost chili”. i documented it. andrea made the festival for me.
there is no better fiber festival buddy than she.
as expected it was totally worth being completely behind in all of my work, a behindness that continues as i write this. catching up may never be attainable, but i wouldn’t change rhinebeck for a 4.0 on my next paper. hopefully i won’t have to!