The third Saturday in October is the start of the two-day non-denominational holy days for knitters and spinners all over the East Coast. Truly a shopping holiday.
This year's featured breed was the Leicester Longwool. This English breed dates back to the 18th century, and was later imported to the US. Thomas Jefferson had a herd of Leicester Longwools. So did George Washington. Sadly, this is now considered a rare breed. Their is currently a preservation effort at Colonial Williamsburg, and there were plenty of tri-corner hats to be seen in the Leicester Longwool barn.
Their fleeces have big, open corkscrew-curly locks with enormous staple length- more than 8 inches. Their wool is highly lustrous and dyes beautifully. It's softer than most longwool breeds. And the sheep are adorable:
And there were lots of good fleeces to be had...the madness of the fleece sale ruled my day.
That's Dawn and Tanu, justifying a Romney fleece. If you find someone to split a fleece with, you are usually in good shape.
And here is Shansays, after getting her gateway Leicester Longwool fleece! I love her beautiful handspun BFL hat.
The sale cleans out fast, and people do get quite grabby. As soon as you find a fleece you like, it's best to grab it and decided on it later.
I was amazed at the sheer (har) number of quality Romney fleeces this year. I picked up a lovely gray one that was amazingly soft and fine, but there were so many that were just as awesome. Tough decisions had to be made. I always considered commercial Romney top to be kind of coarse, but a good long-stapled beginners wool. My outlook has changed completely.
I walked away with 4.5 fleeces that I hemmed and hawed over. More about them later.
After the much anticipated Rhinebeck ritual of The Spending of The Paycheck, it was time for the Saturday Night Possible Drunkenness: The Ravelry Party!
I'm not sure if they had better heaters this year, or maybe I had wisened up and dressed warmer. Or maybe it just wasn't quite so cold this year. Whatever it was, it made for a much more pleasant experience. And I love myself a good bonfire to warm up next to.
There were Bob cupcakes, which I was too impatient to take a picture of:
and nice goody bags too. We didn't stay that long, but long enough to meet some really kick-ass ladies from Montreal:
That's Amelah and her awesome needle-gauge earrings and her sock yarn scrap blanket.
And that's KnitPurlMama, looking cozy.
Good friends, good times.