Rhinebeck 2015

Didn’t mean to wait this long but last week I made the annual trek upstate to what is officially known as the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool festival. But knitters, crocheter & yarn spinners everywhere know it simply as Rhinebeck.


For the last few years it has been an annual pilgrimage for myself and Nicky from D’NALI. Nicky decided not to travel this year, I have missed encouraging her to splurge on yarn, wool and such.

Rather than ride the Amtrak alone, my family decided to make the trek upstate with me. So it’s my mom, sister, niece & 4 year old nephew loaded up in a huge truck rolling upstate for the 2 hour ride.

Since I’m the only knitter in the group & would be the one yarn shopping, I directed them to the food pavilion. Then made a beeline for the yarn shopping. I didn’t aim to buy too much since I still have a lot of stock left over from previous years & recently bought a bunch of yarn from Michael’s to make holiday gifts.

Always a bargain shopper, I did manage to find these great deals though.


On the top is handspun yarn from one of my favorite vendors, Fessler’s Spinning & Weaving out of PA. I’ve managed to buy yarn from them almost every year without fail. What I love about them is not just their yarn, but for the price they give a lot of yardage. This time I bought 3 skeins of worsted weight eggplant purple yarn that will be a future shawl, maybe a sweater, not sure yet. I’ll decide when I’m ready to work with it.

The orange multicolor yarn I found in the discount bin from


Fiber Arts. I didn’t mean to buy anymore sock yarn, but this was too nice to pass up for the price.

The pink yarn is from Rose Spring Farm, also out of PA. I bought on a whim simply because it looked so pretty. It’s worsted weight which is my favorite to knit with. The sellers offer a 10% discount on your next purchase when you bring your knitted project at the next fair they participate in along with their product label.


The folks at Harrisville Designs, from New Hampshire were running a clearance sale on this yarn the entire weekend. By the time I found their booth, this was all that was left. Skeins were reduced to only $5 each. This was totally an impulse buy. I saw all those blue skeins & instantly thought there’s enough to make a sweater.

While my sister & niece fawned over the pastries in the food pavilion, I headed straight for the wines.


The Cocoa Island & Wellesley Island White are favorites of mine from last year that I bought from Thousand Island Winery. I’m happy to report their wine is stocked at one of the local wine shops I frequent but not these varieties. Raspberry Isle is a new dessert wine flavor that literally tastes like raspberries, which I’ll definitely enjoy during the winter months.

If you’re there on sundays at the food pavilion, later in the day, vendors will begin to discount their prices to move produce on perishable items. I bought 3 large pastries for $12 when normally they sold for $7 each.


Sis & niece claim they will return next year, for the pasties no doubt. The best part of going to Rhinebeck though, besides the yarn is to view the autumn leaves.


Stitches and Ribs: Kings County Fiber Fest and IKEA

Yesterday began the first day of my vacation, or should I say more accurately, staycation. Started out by deciding to check out the Kings County Fiber Fest in Brooklyn.


I first heard about this festival last year after missing it by about 2 weeks. Occurring annually the weekend before the huge Rhinebeck festival, I made it a point to see it this year as a possible alternative to making the trek 2 hours upstate.

So I made plans to meet with my friend Nicky from D’NALI and made the long trek all the way to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Thanks to constant MTA track work & rerouting of subways, what should be a hour or less commute from Harlem ended up being an adventure.

I finally get to the site, which turned out to be a neighborhood park with a small, stone house in the middle of the block, aptly called the Old Stone House which has an interesting history in it’s own right.


I expected to see dozens of stalls from what I read online, but was disappointed to find only a handful of vendors situated along the the perimeter of the park. Outside of the house was a table of folks demonstrating arm knitting, looming and a man spinning wool into yarn. By the time I got there Nicky had already stocked up on raw fiber, but I did manage to find a couple skeins of variegated merino wool from a vendor out of Pennsylvania.
Not certain what plans I will have from this yarn yet, but it has a soft feel and a nice light drape, perhaps a fancy scarf or shawl.


After the festival Nicky and I ride the bus over to IKEA. You will all forgive me after reading this, but the last time I was at an IKEA store was the first one that opened up in Elizabeth, NJ. Since then, 3 more stores have opened up in this area so it’s been years since I stepped foot inside of an IKEA.

Made a beeline straight for the cafeteria since we hadn’t eaten all day. Nicky amped me up for some ribs, only to be derailed at the last second when we got to the counter to find out they ran out and told us it would be 20 minutes before the next batch. The woman serving behind the counter had multiple tattoos and was clearly in a bad mood. I don’t like to judge folks based solely on looks, but she reminded me of one of the characters from Orange Is The New Black as I watched her almost throw plates of food at waiting customers. I ended up settling for some chicken tenders with fries, feeling defeated, lol.

But then it was on to the shopping. Stores like IKEA are dangerous for me. A huge warehouse style space full of lots of things you didn’t know you needed. I didn’t do too bad, but I did need one of those iconic blue bags, and it was a good thing I didn’t come with a car. On the shuttle ride back to downtown Brooklyn, we listened to a young man who grew up in the local area give us a tour and tell us stories of his struggles having grown up in the old neighborhood. One of 8 million stories that make living in NY interesting.

I’m sure I’ll be back to IKEA. If only to get the baby back rib plate that I pined for. But first it’s off to Rhinebeck next week.

Block ticket


I haven’t seen one of these in years. But if you ride the subways in NY, you’ve probably seen them many times. So of course you’re dying to know how I acquired one of these block tickets.

I had the commute from hell going to my loctician for a hair appt. The drive usually takes about 45 min but my mom had another errand to take care of, I had to go by public transit.

If you’re familiar with the NYC subway, then you may or may not know about the “A” train to Queens. If you’ve ever rode it to Far Rockaway, then you know how long, though somewhat scenic, that ride is. The initial plan was to take one bus to the subway station, then ride the train the rest of the way there. That bus was taking too long to come so I found another bus that would take me closer but not all the way to the destination. I rode that bus to it’s last stop, then headed for the subway across the street.

I only made it as far as Arverne, but I’m thinking at least I madr it to the Rockaway peninsula. I’m on the platform for about 10 minutes when someone suddenly comes upstairs on the opposite platform and announces there’s a power outage and folks have to take the bus.

A large crowd is waiting on the platform for the train headed in the opposite direction. Of course folks are grumpy as we all file our way down to the station clerk. He’s behind the booth giving out block tickets for people to take the bus. So   preoccupied with telling folks how to get to Rockaway Blvd where they could catch the train again & continue their travel, leaving the rest of us wondering how to get to Mott Ave. Clerk blindly without thinking tells us to take the 52 bus. The same one I rode over to the Rockaways that terminated at the subway.

I take a block ticket. Haven’t seen one of them in years, not at least since riding the subways regularly in high school. MTA workers still don’t know how to give proper alternative route information, that hasn’t changed. I eventually made it to my appt, 1/2 hour late. Happy that I didn’t stick with my initial plan to take the subway & probably end up stuck on a train over the water.

What I’m doing….

It’s been a good two months and it’s time I update what’s been happening around these parts……

One, on the knitting/crochet end of things, I’m disappointed to hear that Stitches East has been cancelled this year, and may never return. From what I read attendance has been going down over the past couple of years and competition with other fiber festivals that happen around the same time like Rhinebeck may have done it in. Last year was my first time attending Stitches East and looks like will be my only. 

Meanwhile, I found out for the first time about a local fiber festival that occurred this weekend from a friend on instagram. The Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair which from the website, looks and sounds like a mini Rhinebeck. I’m making plans to get to next year’s festival, since I also missed Vogue Knitting Live this year due to work. 

By now, most of you reading this have provbably heard about the tragic Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia last week that killed 8 people. I’m also sad to find out that one of those eight folks who perished, Dr. Derrick Grifith, was a former high school classmate. I lost contact with Derrick since graduation but I’m happy to have read that he had made and was making such a positive impact in the communtiy. R.I.P.

Medgar Evers College dean killed in Amtrak train derailment.

Otherwise, I’m getting ready for the warm weather.  Summer means also homemade ice cream season for me and I just bought a new ice cream maker, watch for new posts. I’m also going to be experimenting with coconut and other nut milks so I can break my addiction to dairy. And I’m still knitting, slowly but surely working on those holiday gifts. 

What y’all doing? 

When crocheting goes wrong….

This morning I heard on the news reports of folks complaining of subway commutes becoming more miserable. I used to knit on the subway from time to time, and yes, its annoying to try and do any knit or crochet work on a crowded train. But I never got to the levels of this woman. Nothing comes between her and her crocheting, not even someone wanting a seat. She might wanna crochet herself a set of handcuffs, or a prison jumpsuit to have on hand just in case.



Oya: rise of the Orisas

I watched this video this morning on the way to work. I don’t know much about orisas but based on this short film, I’d be interested in seeing this turned into a full length feature, or maybe a miniseries.

Oya rise of the Orisas – African Superhero Movie from Nosa Nedion on Vimeo.

The guinea pig

I randomly got a postcard in the mail one day from a company seeking to recruit subjects for a research study about weight loss. I’m constantly on the path to lose weight, get in shape, etc., so the ad piqued my interest. What further interested me was the fact that there were no drugs nor fad diets involved.

So I logged onto the website and completed their initial survey. I get a call 2 days later from a woman who is one of the study coordinators and schedule an appointment to visit their offices.

I arrive on the top floor of an old building in downtown Manhattan. About 10 minutes later a study coordinator arrives and escorts me to one of their tables. They hand me 2 consent forms, one to participate in the study and another to draw blood for lab work. I have some background working in research so I spend a bit of extra time reading the consent forms & asking the study coordinator for some background info about the research.

The study is being conducted to measure which methods for assisting in weight loss are most effective. I’m then led into another room where I was to be randomized to one of two groups. The first was to utilize a health app that tracks meals, exercise, calories, steps taken, etc. The second group would use an established diet program. I step on the scale and of course don’t like the results of it, LOL. Then they proceed to take my blood pressure; and here’s where the shenanigans begin.

The study coordinator brings out one of those electronic blood pressure machines. I know from working in health care that those machines are notorious for inaccurate readings. But at the same time, I understand why the study coordinators are using them, they are not medically trained to take blood pressures the traditional way. As I expected, the first blood pressure reading gives a ridiculously high number that had it been real I’d be in an intensive care unit. I ask the woman if she is using an extra large cuff. Health professionals know to use larger cuffs in obese patients to get a more accurate blood pressure reading. Then the machines kept malfunctioning. Several more readings still were abnormally high but trending downwards.

I noted to the study coordinator that aside from being overweight, I don’t suffer from any chronic medical illnesses. A lot of folks would’ve been alarmed thinking they had severe hypertension, but I had just had my annual physical within the last couple months and a similar instance occurred. The medical assistant checked my blood pressure with an electronic machine and got a ridiculous reading. I’m left in the room waiting for the doctor anxious thinking I have hypertension. I mention to the doctor the abnormal reading and he dismisses it, but takes my blood pressure the traditional way to reassure me, and it’s normal.

In my head I’m thinking here’s a flaw in your study. A second study coordinator comes in to assist. A high blood pressure reading would disqualify me from the study but their machines aren’t working properly so they’re not sure how to proceed. One is texting the principal investigator for guidance. After several minutes wait, a final reading is made and it’s just above the limit for study entry. The investigator OK’s me for entry to the study but they note the machine malfunction.

I was assigned to the phone app group so the study coordinators proceed to download their app onto my phone. I use the app to record meals, exercise, steps taken, etc. I’m also given a scale to record my weight every 2 weeks. A second study coordinator escorts me from the building to a local lab facility several blocks away. During the cab ride, the driver complains about the snow being dumped onto the streets making it more difficult for drivers. I replied to the driver the streets in this area were clean compared to the Bronx where I traveled from to get to my appointment. Sidewalks there were still covered with snow and deep slush at the corners.

At the lab, my carnelian bead bracelet snapped, spreading beads all over the room. Then after flinching a little at the blood draw, the phlebotomist says that she felt scar tissue at the site where she poked my arm. Girl are you kidding me?! That might be plausible if I were a heroin addict, or someone constantly getting lab work done. Scar tissue from at most once a year blood sticks, and not always done in the same area? How about you’re not the smoothest phlebotomist.

My day was so done and I got home from work later than usual so I stopped for some Chinese food. So my weight loss journey didn’t get off to a good start, LOL. In my effort to keep it as “healthy” as possible I got chicken with broccoli, so I’d feel a little less guilty by incorporating some vegetables in the meal.

Tomorrow is my first weigh in. I don’t have to report to the study folks until next week so I still have a chance to get it together.

Watch “Langston Hughes’ 113th Birthday Google Doodle” on YouTube

Langston Hughes’ 113th Birthday Google Doodle: http://youtu.be/W-OU-mY11nE

Chocolate Wine


Greetings folks! It’s been a while since I blogged.  Hope y’all had a happy & healthy holiday season.

I blogged about having bought this bottle of wine at
Rhinebeck last year. I’m finally getting around to drinking it. If you like chocolate and red wine, this is the perfect way to enjoy it together.

“Cocoa Island” from Thousand Islands Winery is a locally produced wine sold in only a few stores. It’s a light bodied red with enough taste of chocolate for sweetness, but doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the wine. It’s lower alcohol content (11%) won’t give you a hangover afterwards, even if you’re tempted to drink the whole bottle, LOL

This, and their Wellesley Island White wine will be among my staples that I’ll always keep in my cabinet.

A Song for Employees

We’ve all been through that frustration with a bad boss, a bullying coworker or anyone who’s just a pain in the ass. This was a favorite video of mine when I posted it on my Facebook profile a long time ago, and I was just reminded of it today.

I read that the man behind the song is also a pastor, so this is sanctified for all y’all sensitive to foul language, LOL. Enjoy!

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