I’m writing this a few days ahead of time. It’s the third weekend in October, so you and I will be at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York, seeing lots of friendly faces: human, ovine, and whatever the scientific word for rabbits is.
Hasidic Jews believe that if, just one time, every Jew kept the Sabbath, the Messiah would come. My version of that belief/hope is that if every knitter and lover of fiber could get to Rhinebeck, there would be peace on earth, and we would all stand on the hillside and sing, like that old Coke commercial or the Whos of Whoville. But everybody can’t be there; there’s too much in the way.
There is consolation in this truth: Rhinebeck may be the big daddy of fall fiber festivals, but at its core it’s the same thing that all sheep and wool festivals are. I have never not enjoyed a fiber festival, no matter how small or new. So find out if there’s a festival within range of where you live, and go there. The sheep, alpacas, sheepdogs and angora rabbits will be glad to see you. The vendors of food, tools, fleeces and yarn will be really glad to see you and to have your support. And you’ll have a great day in the fresh air. Take a non-knitter. They will be amazed. They might get an inkling of what you like about the fiber world.
We’ve shared the video up top before. It’s a few minutes of romping through Rhinebeck, made in 2010 by Clara Parkes, author and editor of Knitter’s Review, and our beloved contributor. I sometimes google up this video just to give myself a moment of pastoral bliss. It’s centering to me, a meditation on the good in the world, which includes such wonders as chicken pot pie and sheep winning ribbons for being beautiful.
Wherever you are today, take a minute to hold some wool in your hands, and have a caramel apple if you can get one. Ponder the good in the world. We’ll be back on Monday.
P.S. Need more sheep? Check out these Herdwicks coming down from the fells in England’s Lake District for lambing time. Fourteen minutes of zen. Or how about a Brilliant Sheep Herding Demonstration Using Border Collies?
Featured Image: From a Rhinebeck no earlier than 2008 (based on our twin Belinda Wraps; the pattern was published in 2008).