Monday, March 06, 2006

A Day of Alpacan Bliss

It was a perfect day in the Land of Knitters yesterday. Michelle, Jenn, Katy, Ruth and I departed at 9 AM on our Hudson Valley Yarn Crawl. Michelle provided not only transportation but muffins and coffee, too!
I should have warned my friends about my tendency to be lulled into hypnotic sleep whenever I am placed in moving vehicles. Planes, trains, automobiles, even boats make me sleepy. The only transportaion in which I don't fall asleep is the subway, b/c it smells too awful and I'm too scared to sleep. Anyway, a dreamy hour or two later, we arrived at Kelly's amazing farm, Pauling Alpacas. She has the absolute most adorable farm any of us have ever seen. She invited us into her cozy little farmhouse, offering coffee and doughnuts (doughnuts! I love doughnuts!), and then took us out to meet the alpacas.
These are some of her boys (well, some of them aren't quite boys anymore, if you know what I mean). The pretty guy in the middle, Marshall, was kind enough to provide me with some yarn, which you'll see later.
And here's the baby! Kelly's got several more on the way, so her place is going to be filled with cuteness when springtime rolls around!
I fell in love with Mary Lou, the Anatolian Shepherd who does a very good job taking care of her alpaca charges. She is a BIG dog, and so pretty.
Several alpacas wanted to pose for head shots. They were very inquisitive and happy to see us, until 11, when they simultaneously turned and headed to the barn, knowing that this is the time lunch is served. So smart!
We left Kelly's farm with promises to meet her later in Katona to see her yarn, and headed off to Morehouse Farm, the home of the very beautiful Morehouse Merino! It was a big, beautiful store, full of fun projects and gorgeous colors. Like this lovely variegated laceweight:
Oops, but I'm not allowed to buy that, since I've got enough laceweight for 4 shawls and I have yet to knit even one. I don't even know if I like knitting lace! But the colors were so beautiful, and we were all envisioning ourselves in big, soft, lofty sweaters knit with this stuff.
We look happy, don't we?
Michelle especially. If this face doesn't accurately describe our torn feelings of yarn-shopping bliss versus the problems of frugality, I don't know what will.
Morehouse was very cozy and welcoming, again providing us with coffee and treats! People must get very hungry upstate, or maybe they're just not as afraid of being swarmed by starving New Yorkers the way any Manhattanite providing free food and coffee would be. Can you imagine? If there were a yarn shop here with free coffee, we'd park there and never leave. It would be listed in nationwide magazines as "One of the Best Deals in Manhattan."
Anyway, we stopped for lunch at a Mexican Cantina in Rhinebeck--for despite all of this plying with treats, we were all ravenously hungry. Except for a curious lack of background music, lunch was lovely and filling, and we got back on the road.
Next stop was Countrywool, a knitting and spinning shop that was way, way out in farm country. We debated, as we drove through the wide open spaces, whether or not we could stand living out there. Me and Michelle, yes. Jenn, Katy and Ruth, not so much so. Ruth was definitely against it. "What if something happens out there?" she asked. I said, "What's going to happen? There's no one here! But that's what your gun and your pit bull are for." And someone also mentioned those "I've fallen and I can't get up!" buttons--those are good for when you can't just pound on your floor to alert the neighbors that you're in need of help.
Anyway, at Countrywool, there was lots of great wool and fiber to choose from, both commercial and a nice selection of handspun by the proprietor herself, Claudia. I bought this beautiful stuff:
as well as this awesome pattern, designed by Claudia! They're Proud Warrior socks for yoga! I am going to be the envy of everyone at Jivamukti--if I ever get around to making them, that is.
From there, we headed towards Katona, stopping on our way at Yarn Central in Hopewell Junction. That is the charming proprietress on the left, with Ruth, Michelle, Katy, and Jenn. We loved her, she was so sweet and welcoming! And gave us much-needed water bottles and more cookies, as well as a great selection of yarn. Three of us walked out of there with some Lamb's Pride Cotton Fleece for ballet tees and the like.
We drove into Katona to Kelly's house, where she has (this was the coolest thing we'd ever seen) this really great little attic room that she has turned into her yarn shop and spinning space. Here are Jenn, Katy, and Kelly, poring over the many choices of alpaca.
Can you imagine having this in your house??? I would just sit up there and stare at all of my yarn all the time. I'd get nothing done.
We somehow spent the fastest hour we've ever spent looking through all of her beautiful yarns. I decided on this:
which is a mix of Marshall and a little bit of something else. It is so unbelievably soft, I can't wait to figure out what I'm going to use it for. Perhaps something akin to this?
Here is the loot from the day. I got something from every stop, but tried not to overdo it. i do, afte all, have a yarn closet.
I was WIPED OUT when I got home, too tired to even bother with the Oscars, so I talked Jamie into ordering Pequena (Mexican twice in one day, how great is that?) and then crashed, unable to stay awake to read or knit. I drifted off, dreaming of alpacas and miles of buttery soft yarn....