Monday, March 06, 2006

Hudson Valley Yarn Expedition

Bright and early yesterday morning I met up with Ruth, Jess, Jenn and Katy to head up the Hudson Valley for some fiber frolicking. The sun was shining and the sky was blue blue blue, all good omens for our tour d' yarn.

Our first stop was Pawling Alpacas, where we met Kelly and her alpacas. Kelly is my new heroine. She has 3 children, a beautiful house, an alpaca farm and an attic full of fibrous goodness -- roving, a spinning wheel and the softest yarn ever. Plus, she is about the nicest, most genuine and warmest person you could ever meet. I really liked how obvious it was that she cared about the alpacas beyond just their financial possibilities -- she loves these animals! Add to this list of wonders the fact that she is repping a group of local fiber farms in the form of the Hudson Vally Fiber Company, and she becomes a goddess. You can't buy this yarn in your LYS yet, but she's working on it, and I bet if you email her, she can hook you up with some yummy softness. Or maybe you could plan a visit to her alpacas and her yarn attic!

After feeding us munchkins and coffee, Kelly took us outside to see the alpacas -- they are literally right in the backyard of her small country farmhouse. Our first greeters were the gelded and not-yet-ready to mate males (some of whom were showing "some interest", Kelly proudly told us). Dr. Pepper, Marshall, and I can't remember the rest of their names were extremely happy to see us because we came bearing food, and they ate right out of our hands. Next we went to see the girls and the cria James, who were slightly more skittish than the boys but just as soft and lovely. Suddenly all the alpaca ladies turned around and headed up the hill, single file, to the barn -- it was lunchtime and they all knew this by no other signal than the time of day. Pretty cool!

Leaving Kelly and her babies behind, we headed up to Milan to Sheep's Clothing, the Morehouse Merino store. I bought some chartruese yarn to make a scarf as a gift, and also some really cute sheep buttons. The store is adorable, with a great room for browsing and reading knitting patterns, books, etc. and drinking tea and coffee -- with free cookies, too!

Our next stop was lunch at a Tex-Mex in Rhinebeck, and then off to Hudson to visit Countrywool. This place was absolutely in the middle of nowhere, and we learned that Ruth is absolutely a city girl -- "What if something happens out here? There's no one around!" But the country was beautiful, and the proprietress raised her own angora bunnies and spun the fiber with local wool from her friends' farms. I love local stuff. The store was beautiful and full of delicious yarn -- it was here that Katy hit the yarn mother load for her sweater. Spinning supplies were abundant, and Jess and I picked up a really cool pattern (to be named later, since I bought it as a gift for someone who reads this blog).

After Countrywool we headed back down the valley to the town of Hopewell Junction, where we met the marvelous Marjaana, owner of Yarn Central. The store and its owner were so inviting, with a cozy, comfy area for knitting and looking at patterns, and free cookies and drinks! Marjaana stayed open late because she knew we were coming, and it was such a treat to meet her and to see how much she loves knitting. We all know that sometimes yarn stores can be snobby and aloof, but I cannot say enough how the opposite of all that Marjaana and Yarn Central are. They have a lot of classes and also a knitting group meets there almost every day, sometimes more than once a day. Now that is something that I can get behind! Yarn Central had a good selection of yarns and buttons, and great prices.

Our last stop of the day was probably the most anticipated -- Kelly's home in Katonah, where she has that lovely knit-friendly attic. We spent an hour up there fondling her yarns and fibers, and it only felt like 10 minutes. There was so much to love, the hardest thing was to decide what to buy. I ended up with some rose-gray (that looks reddish-brown) from Melanie, an alpaca we had met earlier in the day, but I couldn't keep my hands off of the tawny hand spun suri. I think everyone bought something soft and lovely here -- Jess left with the most. I can't wait to feel what she creates out of this buttery stuff!

What a great day!

Sorry about the lack of people pics -- I am having laptop issues that I pray pray pray will be resolved tomorrow, and then I'll post some pics of my yarn accomplices. In the meantime, Jess and Jenn have great photos up, and Katy says she'll get hers up later.


Katy said...

My pictures are up now. If you don't see them, refresh your browser.

Thanks for all the fun!

Heather said...

OOOOhhh Michelle, what a super-fabby day that sounded.... when's the next one???
I wish I would've been able to join you.
And, where are our muffins??