Rhinebeck (the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York) happens on the same weekend every year, but its approach always takes me by surprise: so soon? How does this happen?
This year I am watching the weather app on my phone, hoping against hope that temperatures won’t be as high as predicted. Currently my app is not budging from its forecast for mid-70s highs on both days. Whomp whomp.
Meteorologists: please be wrong. Think of the knitters! (Ann, pack some lightweight layers in your suitcase for Thursday, but keep hope alive and also bring all three of your crazy Easel Sweaters.)
(earliest photo documentation of Me at Rhinebeck, circa 2005. That is Carrie, who is now 20, in her precious oversized Whitby in black Rowan Denim. Photo by Cara Davis-conomos aka January one.)
Despite its fame, which has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time (the East Coast at Peak Leaf Peep), Rhinebeck is not the only fiber festival.
(This is from the second year Gale Zucker had a photo booth. 2011? It was super fun. We are cheesing it up with my personal version of the fussy cuts blanket.)
(fact: The Dutchess County Fairgrounds really do look like this.)
The season is loaded with fiber festivals all over North America, and elsewhere. Knitter’s Review has a helpful listing (scroll down to October and November), and there are other small festivals and yarn crawls that you can find by putting your ear to the ground (or googling). The weekend before last, I had a lovely wander through a small festival in Brooklyn. The King’s County Fiber Festival wasn’t Rhinebeck, but it didn’t need to be. Smaller festivals have their own local flavor, and give you the chance to see more, touch more, chat more with the people who make beautiful things.
(Speaking of Brooklyn, the woman on the left, wearing handknits 1-4, is Lisa Knithound. On the right, wearing handknits 5-8, is Shannon.)
One of Kay’s Rules for LivingTM: you will never regret going to a fiber festival.
Here’s what’s on our calendar for Rhinebeck 2017.
Friday Night: Indie Untangled Trunk Show
Friday evening, from 5-8, we’ll be at the 4th annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show at the Best Western in Kingston.
Just look at the amazing vendor list. We had an amazing time there last year, seeing so many independent yarns that were new to us, and meeting so many fascinating makers, that this year we are proud to be among the sponsors of the event. It’s a great way to kick off Rhinebeck weekend, get acclimated to the adrenalin rush and wool fumes, and say hi to folks you are probably following on Instagram. (Look! They interviewed us on the Indie Untangled blog. Thank you, kind Indies.)
Saturday 11-2 and Sunday 11-2
We’ll be in Building B, aka Merritt Books, aka the Book Barn.
(Mary Jane Mucklestone, wearing the original Stopover! I can date THIS PHOTO to 2016 by the STOPOVER, AND THE stacks of Field Guide No. 1.)
We are in fantastic company in the book barn, thanks to Merritt Books, which organizes it all. We’d love to see people, show off our four precious baby Field Guides (four! last year we only had one), sign books ’n’ things, and inspect everyone’s handknits and/or Rhinebeck haul-in-progress.
(Pie Not Pictured, but here are Maureen and Tammy (IN another stopover!).
From 5-8 we’ll be hosting a Rhinebeck Pie Party. If you signed up via Eventbrite, the address (on the same side of the river as the fairgrounds, in the town of Rhinebeck) and details are in your confirmation email. (Unfortunately we’ve reached capacity for this event.)
(Jill Draper’s Studio is a Glorious blur of beautiful yarns and faces.)
With tummies full of pie, we will then head over to Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s Open Studio in Kingston, which runs from 6-9. Last year was incredible, so we have every confidence in our ability to find some great yarns in the last hour at Jill’s.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re prepping for your first Rhinebeck [insert your rural fiber festival here], and want some pointers, here’s What I Know About Rhinebeck, as told to Fringe Association. (Karen Templer and her coveted Fringe Supply Co. wares will be in the Harrisville Fibers booth at Rhinebeck, if you want to see her website come to life, with a soundtrack of sheep bleating softly in the background.)
(That Time Ann Bought All that mohair. photo Dated via Ann’s glasses: 2008.)
For the full audio-visual experience, we never get tired of Knitter’s Review’s 2010 video roundup (at the top of this post).
I guarantee we will see some of the same sweaters in 2017. Rhinebeck is timeless.
P.S. Late-breaking addition: MDK contributor and all-round smartyboots Kirsten Kapur has come up with a great way of dealing with the warm temperatures forecast for this weekend in Rhinebeck: a virtual Rhinebeck Sweater parade! Open to all, whether Rhinebeck-bound or not. Post a snap of your Rhinebeck sweater(s) using the hashtags #virtualrhinebecksweaterparade and #VRSP, and check out those hashtags for a growing array of knitterly eye candy. (Kirsten is wearing her September House sweater, which will be released as a pattern download in January.)