Oct 24, 2014


Rhinebeck. For the uninitiated: the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, held in Rhinebeck, NY. For knitters, spinners, crocheters, fiber enthusiasts, sheep aficionados it is known merely as "Rhinebeck". Also, as heaven. Where we go to shop, pet, ogle, covet, occasionally throw elbows, and find just a moment of zen in our fibery lives - a zen we share with tens of thousands of fellow wackos.

This was my second year, and it turned out about the same as my first: demolished my budget, got high on lanolin, came back with a million ideas, and failed to take as many photos as I desired. I was fortunate to share the experience with five friends and a shockingly well-behaved baby. Rhinebeck truly is better with friends! Friends make the 12-14 hour drive not only bearable, but at times fun. Friends allow you to relive the experience over and over without fear of divorce-for-reasons-of-she-won't-shut-up-about-Rhinebeck. Friends mean enabling. Each evening, we would have a group show-and-tell, where we would inevitably end up with grabby hands and make plans for more buying the next day (or online, or the next year, or xmas lists...). Friends are key.

So. Rhinebeck.

First things first: the sweater. The Rhinebeck sweater seems to be one of two things: a hand-knit you pulled out all the stops on - your masterpiece, the best piece of knitting of the year, etc., or it is a hand-knit you started with just barely enough time to finish for Rhinebeck. Sometimes it is both! Needless to say, Rhinebeck is a parade of amazing hand-knits of which each maker is incredibly and justifiably proud. I wish people were always this proud and exuberant about their work, but unfortunately, there are still people in this world who don't get it, and who fail to show the appropriate amount of awe and wonder in the presence of hand-knits for those proud feelings to be sustainable forever and always. This year, I wore last year's sheep vest on Saturday, primarily because it is my official fiber festival hand-knit (it has sheep and balls of yarn on it. c'mon.), but also because it was in the upper 60s, and really not sweater weather. Sunday (lower 50s) saw my official Rhinebeck Sweater. It is Blaithin by Kate Davies, knit in Donegal Yarns Soft Donegal, and it is absolutely lovely. I've been wearing it basically every day since.

 I cannot say enough good things about both the pattern and the resultant sweater. I fucking love it. The ceramic buttons are from MerryButtons and I adore them. I did do a little bit of a mod on the colorwork, where it begins/ends to create a less abrupt start. Oh, and the badass t-shirt? A great woman in my knitting group designed it, and yes those are Doritos trailing out the window. Our Rhinebeck roadtrip was officially (not officially) sponsored by Doritos.

But Rhinebeck is more than just a non-stop parade of wonderful woolen wonders. There are sheep!

So many sheep. None of which came home with me, per a foolish agreement with the husband. I totally could've fit a couple in the prius. Two Shetlands or one Cotswold, for sure. Next year...

There were also about a million amazing vendors. I don't even understand the people who come home with a few skeins of yarn and that's it, but that's a rant for another time (next post!). As already stated, I didn't take nearly enough photographs, so this is a tiny peek at the awesomeness that are the vendors at Rhinebeck:

 I did, however, take a crap ton of photos of the amazing felted gnomes from Going Gnome. This should surprise exactly no one.

 JUST LOOK AT THAT RED BEARD. I could easily have spent my entire budget in that booth. I did come home with a gnome and a rock monster, but they are feeling quite lonely. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of her kits will end up on my xmas list this year. Because I need another hobby.

I left Rhinebeck minus a big wad of cash, plus memories, loads of yarn and goodies, and a yearning for next year's fest to not be quite so far away. I'll show off all the yarn, spindles, gnomes, and other assorted purchases in the next post, along with my promised rant about people who ARE DOING IT WRONG. (I know, I know... everyone is different, blah blah blah).

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