It’s Rhinebeck. Or just ‘Beck’ if you’re cool. The NY Sheep and Wool Festival was held this year on October 19 & 20. It is usually the third full weekend in October every year. If you haven’t been to a festival, I suggest you look up your closest one and go to it! Here is a great list of things you can find at a festival. The lines were crazy to get in, everyone decked out in their hand knits (and hand wovens and hand crocket projects, no bias here). So as you can imagine, it was very colorful! Plus the back drop of upstate New York in the fall made it an absolutely inspiring trip!
This was the first time my niece J could join me. She is getting her degree in textile design (SOOOOO EXCITING!!!!!) and always had some scheduling conflict for this time of year. We arrived and parked by 9:30. We didn’t get in the door until closer to 10:00. The line for prepaid tickets was a mile long! If we had not bought our tickets ahead of time we could have been in the gate in less than five minutes!!!
First stop is always the festival merchandise tent, NY Sheep and Wool Festival gear is hot! The line was crazy long so we didn’t bother going in the tent. Just know that if you want to get any festival merchandise, you need to get there at opening time on Saturday. There is a new theme every year and everything available for purchase has that artwork plastered on it, a lot of people collect bags or t-shirts from Rhinebeck every year.
Jump ahead to:
Miss Babs, oh how much I love thee. Ok, so I’m a little in love with this yarn company called Miss Babs. You’ve heard me mention them before. I usually end up with some very colorful variegated skeins but this year I went with all solids. I am picturing a typical off white based Fair Isle-ish sweater with the other colors used in a not so typical geometric pattern around the yoke/shoulder/neck area. I even found someone wearing the sweater I imagined in my head, but when I asked her what pattern she used, she said she made it up by herself and hadn’t gotten around to writing it down yet. Dang it, write that sucker down! I offered to test knit for it and gave her my card. Haven’t heard anything… bummer.
I have this obsession with rainbow colored things. I had a bunch of rainbow items growing up, like a hair bow that I wore
a lot too much, (that is probably still in my Mom’s house), a mobile with little streamers hanging down, crayons that I insisted on staying in the same rainbow color order (probably the first recognizable sign of my tendency to want things perfect), and the list really does go on. Now I have a collection of marbles that are lined up in our family room on top of a desk. Yes, they are in rainbow order. What was one of the first things I taught my kids after they knew the names of colors? Roy G. Biv. Don’t know this phrase? It stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. The colors in the white light spectrum, also known as the rainbow!
When I saw a sample of this yarn knit into a sock, I knew I had to have it. It is made by White Birch. It’s color way is called “Meet on the Hill”, but I can’t find it online, so here is the next best thing to show you how the striping will look. It’s hard to tell from just looking at the skein, but it really does have some nice repeats of the rainbow. This is an important reason why you should see a sample of the yarn you want to buy knit into something tangible. The length of the color repeats will have a direct impact on the end result of your project.
Onto another striped portion of my yarn from Rhinebeck. This time in the form of a scarf kit. The greige color yarn on top of the egg carton/in the middle of the circle of yarn is also from White Birch. It is paired up with the yarn in the egg carton from Canon Hand Dyes. I believe the two companies are owned by the same two ladies, hence the two yarn brands for one kit. The sample scarf they had at the festival stopped me in my tracks. I love stripes. And polka dots. You will see soon that I have a problem controlling myself around striped and polka dot things…
Anyway, the knitting pattern that intrigued me, called “Graduated Stripes Cowl” can be found here, on Ravelry. Technically it is a cowl because it is connected and what makes it even more interesting is that it is a tubular cowl! Yoo Hoo! I don’t know why that’s so interesting but it is!
Onto the food portion of this post, no post about a festival would be complete without mentioning food. Festival food is amazing, highly caloric, but amazing. Our first food find…
It was so good, we almost went back for another portion, but decided we wanted to try some other foods.
Finding a place to sit can be a challenge, but another thing I love about these festivals is you always find really nice, considerate people. (My kind of people!) Everyone is willing to let you squeeze your yarn filled bag and tired butt into any available space. Lots of interesting conversations spontaneously occur when that many yarnies are shoved into tight spots.
There are a lot of things to buy, not just yarn or food or animals. Anything useful for fiber artists, fans of yarn, fans of crochet, fans of weaving, fans of anything even tangentially related to yarn. There is a whole building dedicated to food, not festival food but other gourmet, local yummy stuff. Honey, coffee, wine, jerky, cheese, meats, beer, fudge, candy and so on. Wooden spoons and cutting boards, tote bags, hand lotion, handmade soaps, maple syrup candy, just about anything to do with fiber, fiber producing animals, making food out of those fiber producing animals, handicrafts of all kinds, and blah blah blah. There is literally something for everyone. Here is a quick post on festivals that gives you an even better look at why they are sooooo fun! Even my husband J enjoys the food and animals, he’s an engineer so he’s not so interested in fiber arts.
I LOVE ANIMALS. But… When it comes to festivals, they usually get the least priority. I know what a sheep looks like, I know what an alpaca looks like, I know what any other number of animals on display look like. So I recommend hitting up all the stalls selling tangible items first so you get the best selection. Then you can check out the cuties.
More often than not, there are animals being paraded around, either on their way to a competition or to go get cleaned off. This gives ample opportunity for good sheep butt shots and lots of pets. (No, I did not pet the sheep’s butt)
I see you, baby. A very friendly soul, usually you can’t get this close to a llama!
Always expect to sit in traffic if you stay until the festival closes. Enjoy the scenery and maybe even knit while waiting. So excited to go back next year! Oh and you’ll want to reserve your hotel room NOW, they book up before the end of November/December for the following years festival.
Funny Fact that has nothing to do with knitting or sewing: You truly do learn something new everyday. I learned how to take a dishwasher out of the cabinet the other day to see why it wasn’t working. I also learned that the filter needs to be thoroughly cleaned more often…
And this is just another reason this post is so late. The day before that my computer said that my “hard drive was not detected”. Keep crafting to keep yourself sane!