Hi readers! This post will include something for the obnoxious loud rocker as well as something for the introverted knitter! Aka, both sides of me! Aka, Motley Crue’s Final Tour and New York Sheep and Wool Festival (also known as Rhinebeck) 2015!
(Actually, both are 2015, as the Motley Crue tour is rolling into its second year, meaning I have shirts from “final tour 2014” and “final tour 2015″… when will it end? Most likely at the end of this year.)
Grab a cup of tea because this is going to be a long one!
So Friday night was the Motley Crue show in Bridgeport, CT. I’d never been to that corner of CT and wouldn’t necessarily recommend it- the venue (Webster Bank Arena) seemed decent (plenty of food options and cleanish bathrooms) but to get from parking to the venue… let’s say pepper spray and self-defense moves were at the ready. The show itself, however, I WOULD recommend- this is the second time I’ve seen the Crue (and probably will be the last) and they rocked incredibly hard and included their classic lineup of hairspray, fire, and dancing girls! The opener, Alice Cooper, was also fantastic and theatrical- my concert buddy was surprised that fireworks and pretend-beheading were allowed onstage and that this wasn’t a special halloween show! Unfortunately, Motley Crue didn’t include their classic lineup of Neil, Sixx, Mars, and Lee- Tommy Lee (the drummer, for the uninitiated) couldn’t play due to acute tendinitis in his wrist. And wrists are, y’know, kind of important in drumming. I saw online that he hadn’t played the previous show while waiting for their set to start, and was a little upset. What upset me more, however, was how, when Tommy Lee came onstage to apologize for not playing (And you could tell it broke his heart, poor guy, he lives and breathes music and drumming, his voice was shaking when he introduced his substitute, Alice Cooper’s very capable drummer, Glen Sobel- who rocked, especially for having learned the set two days ago and playing two different sets in a row) some of the audience booed, called him homophobic slurs, cursed him out, and told him to “just take a pain pill.” My shout of “we love you anyways” was unhearable from the nosebleed seats, but I had to say something to combat all the negativity. Poor guy.
Anyways, nosebleed seats =/= great pictures so have a mashup.
Now, on to the exciting part- SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL 2015!
Yeah, that’s right, I said it- wool is more exciting than Motley Crue. You see, in the past few years I’ve become more of an introvert and gotten more into hobbies and solo things than loud, firey, crowded things. Well, Sheep and Wool was a bit crowded (it’s very popular,) but the fiber folks are more likely to say “excuse me, I like your headband” than “get outta my way!” Anyways, in this post I’ll use “Sheep and Wool Fest” and “Rhinebeck” interchangeably- Rhinebeck is the name of the town where the fest is held, and a lot of the online knitting/crocheting/felting/spinning/fiber community seems to just call the fest Rhinebeck. Makes sense since there are lots of Sheep and Wool fests around!
(Note- all links in this post will open in a new window/tab, so click to your heart’s content, you won’t lose your spot in this woolderful blog post!)
Shameless pre-Rhinebeck selfie! Of course I dressed to impress the fiber folk in an earwarmer and fingerless mitts I knitted myself and a beautiful scarf my mom knitted me- thanks mom! Oh, since here is the part for thanks, I’d like to give a big one to Mary W of Crone Craft Studios– a family friend who we stayed with on the GAP trip and was one of the first people I ever knew to knit/crochet/spin/weave. So she was a natural for me to e-mail with my newbie “uh, what is a Sheep and Wool fest and how do I approach it!?” questions, and gave me awesome advice and recommendations for which vendors to look out for!
…. note to self, next time someone gives you a list of things to look at at a large event held in a rural location, print it out or save it to your phone because… well…. there wasn’t exactly cell phone reception at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds surrounded by thousands of other wool enthusiasts.
One of her tidbits did serve me well without a phone, though- to bring a backpack in which to stow my purchases so I could leave my hands free for touching. SO MUCH TOUCHING. SO MUCH SOFT, SOFT WOOL. (This roving- which is used by spinners far more capable and dexterous than I to make homespun yarn- was from Spinners Hill in Bainbridge NY, less than 3 hours away from me- local wool- where they have adorable Blue Face Leicester sheep! That’s right, I learned the names of sheep breeds.)
I messed up, guys- I didn’t write down/ take pictures of all the vendors’ names for some of the amazing things I took pictures of. I’m sorry. If somehow, any of the vendors stumbles on this page, PLEASE let me know how to credit these pictures and I will happily amend the captions and add links to your sites. But in the meantime, look at these adorable felted creatures!
And these huggable knitted creatures!
It’s not just a wool fest though, the animals that make the wool are there too- sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas galore!
I met a woman who is trying to create a new breed of sheep with the best qualities of some of the existing breeds! I think one of those qualities must be patience because this lil sheep was very calm about being clipped on display.
Talk about sheep on display- I’m not sure exactly what event this was, I was moving too quickly, but the Sheep and Wool fest is more than just a shopping trip, the animals compete and are generally shown off and adored!
They can be purchased too, like this precious angora bunny I saw, calmly awaiting an adventure to its new home.
Here is my (slightly overwhelmed) selfie at Miss Babs booth. Miss Babs was one of the most popular vendors at the fest and for good reason- she has beautiful hand-dyed wool in absolutely stunning colorways.
Other vendors had great color selection too, The Good Shepherd was one of the first vendors I stopped at and had beautiful wool/mohair blends including these two lovely autumnal colorways- I took this picture to ask a friend which was better before I realized I couldn’t send the picture due to lack of cell reception (the obvious answer then is to buy both, right….? Riiiiiightttt…..?)
Like the felting above, a fest like this encourages you to check out things you don’t know a lot about- I saw several people spinning on drop spindles and spinning wheels, but I also ogled these super-fancy electric spinning wheels at Hansen Crafts!
Speaking of spinning, what’s this? A display of men (surely a minority in the fiber world) doing spinning/weaving things?
Both the Men at Work team and the creatively dressed Wizard of Oz team above were part of the “Fleece to Shawl competition” where teams receive a sack of fleece and the wool is hand-carded, hand-spun, dyed (?) and woven into a shawl as fast and as beautifully as possible!
What’s this?! OUTLANDER YARNS?!?!?! I didn’t end up buying from this vendor (Bijou Bason Ranch) because, as Jamie from Outlander would say, they were a wee bit out of my price range. One of my favorite parts of the fest was being able to touch (and maybe smell, hehe) different kinds of wool that I would probably never stumble upon in my local craft store, including yak wool and the even more outlandishly priced (see what I did there?) quiviut wool, (from Windy Valley Musk Ox) which is, according to Wikipedia, the “the soft underwool beneath the longer outer wool” of the musk-ox. It is, according to me, WAY out of the price range. But super soft, and definitely would be warm!
A couple more vendors that I did visit, but didn’t happen to get an associated picture for: Morning Moon Alpacas (love me some alpacas, and not just for their silly punk-rock hairdos, their wool is super soft!) Persimmon Tree Farm- they don’t seem to have a website but there are more pictures on the owner’s Facebook (at her booth I scooped up a gorgeous hand-dyed mohair/wool I can’t post a picture of because it’s for a friend,) Bittersweet Woolery, where I couldn’t resist lace-weight yarn even though I’ve never knit with it, Bartlett Yarns, who had some of the more affordable but still quality selections, The Great Adirondack Yarn Co, Fiber Optic Yarn where my eyes practically fell out of my head at the gorgeous colors and combinations, oh my goodness, the list goes on…
FINALLY, I bring you to something very exciting involving the fluffy puffs above. When I was posting about the Sheep and Wool festival on Facebook I learned that my friend Katherine (she gets a link because… drumroll…) spins! She’s not the first spinner I’ve known but she is the first with a blog, so we concocted a crazy idea- what if I bought some wool for her to spin, found out about the farm it came from, blogged about it, sent it to her, she spun it and blogged about it, and sent it back to me to knit and blog… it could be our very own fleece-to-shawl! Well, it’s a bit more processed than fleece (this is roving, which means it’s been washed and combed) and it will more likely be a hat or a pair of earwarmers than a shawl, but it’s our own little experiment in blogging and crafting.
So, introducing our fluffy puffs! They’re from Weston Hill Farm in Westerlo, NY, which is near Albany- this means that a little piece of the Hudson Valley will travel with myself and Katherine in our future travels (she, btw, is currently based in Nashville, but I plan to spread my love for the valley.) I was instantly drawn to their booth because, well, you can see pictures here– I’m a sucker for good display and marketing! Katherine had requested natural wool so these are two different undyed… I need to stop calling them fluffy puffs. Maybe she’ll come up with a better name! They’re blends of different longhaired sheep breeds- Border Leicester, Romney and Long Wool Cross Sheep, to be specific. So, stay tuned for an update on the DorothyAnn/Katherine Wool Blogging Experiment (gosh, for someone with a Marketing degree I’m really bad at names today!)
Thanks for reading!