What I Did On My Fall Vacation

I suppose I should say “vacations” since there were actually two of them. The first one was my annual trip to Rhinebeck, NY, to meet with friends and to attend the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival. The second one was a trip to Houston, TX, with friends, to attend the International Quilt Festival for the fourth time.

I’m afraid I didn’t take any pictures on the first trip. I can’t explain that omission, other than to say that I was having too much fun. I took the train from Toronto on the Wednesday before the festival weekend, and enjoyed the following two days catching up with everyone, and making a few visits to area shops and restaurants. Saturday and Sunday were spent at the Festival. Monday was the long train ride home. We rented a house in the Rhinebeck area for the second time and it worked out very well once again. It allowed for a lot more comfortable visiting than staying in a hotel does, plus group meals and assorted other food preparation. It was a wonderful trip, made all the better by being able to meet with friends that I otherwise only see on Ravelry.

I didn’t buy much at the fairgrounds, just a few skeins of sock yarn intended for making shawls and fingerless mittens.


The yarns are (from left to right): Holiday Yarns Flocksock sock yarn in Pinot; Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! sock yarn in Other Mother, and Golden Tortoise Beetle; and undyed Hudson Valley Sheep & Wool Co. sock yarn.

My second fall trip began only eight days after getting home from the first one. After a big rush of catching up with laundry and errands, not to mention sleep, and some tense hours worrying about Tropical Storm Sandy, I was on a plane to Houston.

We arrived on Tuesday (Oct. 30) and got settled into the hotel. I took 3 classes on this visit to the Quilt Festival, and attended 3 lectures. In between I shopped and looked at quilts – such amazing quilts!

Here are some of the results of the classes I took:


From left: “Applipiecing” Curves, taught by Caryl Bryer Fallert; “Under the Sea” fabric manipulation and embroidery (not yet finished), taught by Judith Baker Montano; and “Heavy Metal Play Day” (embossing metal for art quilts), taught by Judy Coates Perez.

I also attended a lecture on “The Elements of Art Quilting” by Lyric Kinard, and one on Modern Quilting by Heather Grant. Both were great – interesting and enlightening. The Modern Quilting lecture was eye-opening for me – I realized that this is a style of quilt that interests me a lot, and that I’d like to explore in the future. (Check out the Modern Quilt Guild blog to see what I’m talking about.)

I think I overdid it with classes and lectures this year – by the time I got to the last one I was a bit brain-fogged and saturated, and was glad the class wasn’t too demanding. In the future, I think I should allow for more free time, and fewer early mornings!

I didn’t buy a lot at on this trip, either, but here is a picture of what I did buy:


On the left are some pieces of Thai silk, in the middle are some half-yards of fabric from Marcia Derse, and on the right are some fat quarters of Cherrywood fabric in a yummy array of colours. In front are a couple of strands of beads, and a skein of embroidery floss from ArtFabrik, which are dyed by Laura Wasilowski. I seem to be in an orange and purple phase of stash enhancement. I wonder if that means anything?

I also want to mention that I sewed a new bag for myself to use at Quilt Festival. I wanted something small that would hold essentials. I’d seen a leather bag at Roots that I liked, so I decided to copy it in fabric. I’ll probably write a blog post about the making of this bag, but I thought I’d show it off here.


It has a long strap to sling the bag across my body, and both outside and inside pockets to hold everything. It worked out perfectly.

Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and reflect on all that I’ve seen and done in the past few weeks. And to sleep late, rest up, and recover from this jet-set lifestyle. And maybe rake some leaves or something.


Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted anything in so long. I have been busy, but not so much on the knitting and spinning and quilting front. The tendonitis I got in my right elbow during the Tour de Fleece challenge lingers on, and has slowed things down a lot.

However, I have not been completely idle. I went on two crafty trips. In October I took the train down to Rhinebeck to go to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival and meet up with friends from Ravelry. I had a great time, but didn’t take many pictures at all. I did buy a few things:


That’s some sock yarn from Holiday Yarns, Blue Moon Fiber Arts and The Sanguine Gryphon. And there is some roving for spinning: BFL from Holiday Yarns, Alpaca from Burgis Brook Alpacas, and some merino/tencel blend from Fiber Optic Yarns. I also bought a new Bosworth spindle from Journey Wheel.

In early November I went to Houston to the International Quilt Festival with my quilt group friends. We were there for six days. I took classes in beading, stamp carving, using Transfer Artist Paper and a lecture on Journaling for inspiration. I saw a huge number of wonderful and amazing quilts. And I shopped ‘til I dropped (almost literally – man, that George R. Brown Convention Center is huge!). This is but a small section of the vendor mall:


Now I am keeping busy with an ongoing class in Art Quilts that I’m taking through my local quilt shop, Quilter’s Cupboard in Uxbridge, Ontario. We are having a great time learning all sorts of techniques and principles and creating samples and practice pieces. I plan to write about what we are doing, and maybe in between I’ll catch up with some projects that I finished but haven’t written about yet.

Rhinebeck ’09 – The Stuff

Yes, there was stuff purchased at Rhinebeck this year – not as much as last year, since I haven’t used all of that up yet – but some stuff all the same. See? Here it is:

Rhinebeck purchases

But before going into detail about the purchases, I did receive a couple of gifts. Maryw1968 made these cute little cupcake bags for a bunch of us in the Very Longest Thread (since nicknamed “Fred” – long story). Thanks again, Mary!


And my Rhinebeck Roomie, Pixisis, made me these lovely socks. They’re made from yarn from last year’s Rhinebeck, and she made us both a pair so we match! Thanks again, Pixisis – you rawk! (The pattern is Welsh Traveling Socks, by Sheri Franz)


Now, the yarn:

First up, two skeins of Brooks Farm Yarn in a wool/silk blend in worsted weight, called Four Play, which I want to use to knit the Riverbanks hood from Fall 2009 Knitty. One skein of Holiday Yarns sock yarn in a colour called Bruised Ego.

Brooks Farm worsted 1 Holiday Yarns Bruised Ego 1

Two skeins of this Holiday Yarns sock yarn in a lovely rust “Yarn Fairy” (i.e. not a regular) colour, and a kit to make the Tsarina of Tsocks Imbas. I had to buy both skeins of the rust sock yarn, because Gwynivar said it matched my hair (it wasn’t my fault, honest).

Holiday Yarns yarn fairy rust 1Imbas sock kit

I picked up some roving from Gnomespun Yarns – actually a combed top in a colour called Emerald Depths.

Gnomespun Emerald Depths 1

And to practice spinning while on the trip, I just had to buy another spindle – this one is from Jesh. You can see my practice spinning, using a bit of roving also purchased from the Holiday Yarns booth.


I also brought home a pretty little project bag from the Ravelry party that contained a ball of KnitPicks yarn, a couple of cute little sample skeins, another bag from namaste and some coupons and hand-outs.

All-in-all a pretty good haul, if I might say so myself.