Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival

This past weekend I attended the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival (also known as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival)

To put it simply: It was a mad and crazy knitter’s paradise.

The first barn that we walked through. I turned around and took a picture of the maddening crowd. So much yarn! So little time.
The first barn that we walked through. I turned around and took a picture of the maddening crowd. So much yarn! So little time.

There were quite a few felting and weaving booths at the fair, but not nearly as many as the countless knitting yarn and knitted goods booths. I still knit, just not nearly as often or as complicated as I used to. This is partially due to the fact that I find weaving to be a faster process that I can understand, and partially due to my hands (I have symptoms of Carpal Tunnel syndrome and other pains and stiffness in my hands). I felt as if the weavers should have more of a voice at these sort of events.

But besides my own personal views about what should be represented at fiber festivals; the experience was wonderful! It was a great opportunity to see what colors and themes were “hot”this season, and what items were not nearly as successful. My favorite thing too was how different people chose to display their wares. Some were very inventive- making their booths almost into galleries. Other booths weren’t super inventive, but they had some great product, so it was fun to see what was available. I love seeing yarn in hanks hanging down, showing off their tremendous colors and possible combinations.

Beautiful single ply yarns hung in skeins.
Beautiful single ply yarns hung in skeins.

I was also perusing the knitting booths because I was in search of the perfect chunky red yarn for a friend of mine. There are not very many people that I will take my knitting needles out for, but for a dear friend I certainly will. I ended up at Briar Rose Fiber’s booth. They had beautiful hand painted hanks of yarn, and the feel of their booth had an English Cottage feel. towards the edges of their booth they had baskets of yarn, and they would have a couple of hanks of yarn twisted together to really create a mass of color.

Gorgeous hand dyed yarn from Briar Rose Fibers.
Gorgeous hand dyed yarn from Briar Rose Fibers.

This is the yarn I ended up choosing. It is delicious and lofty. One of the ailments I have in my hands is that I have little to no feeling in my thumb and index fingers. So I was walking the entire festival feeling for the softest wool I could by rubbing my wrist and other fingers against the yarn. The yarn at this booth satisfied my friend’s needs and the needs of my aching hands- soft, luscious, and luxurious.

I also purchased two books on Double Weave by Paul R. Connor. I had seen these books online before, and decided that I need to expand my double weave vocabulary and skills if I want to weave on a larger scale. They are incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to read them both. On of them is strictly on creating layers in double weave, and the second is color and weave techniques in double weave. I started reading them last night and I am looking forward to utilizing the tools I learn on some new projects.

My two new books, and the project I am working on for my friend.
My two new books, and the project I am working on for my friend.

Rhinebeck not only has yarn, but sheep, local wares, and just overall fun and education!

In the end, I really enjoyed this years festival. I felt that weaver’s were lacking a strong voice at the event, but I think they are growing in number. And I got some great ideas for new woven pieces in the future.┬áDid you attend this year? What was your favorite part? What wonderful items did you walk away with? Let me know! And if you are interested in Briar Rose Fibers, head on over to their website. They currently have limited quantities of their yarn, but I’m sure they are always updating.

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