5 Reasons NY Sheep & Wool (Rhinebeck) Is MUST Attend Event for Yarn Junkies

Sheep are the main event at Rhinebeck, NY

Sheep are the main event at Rhinebeck, NY

Rhinebeck, home of the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, is an annual pilgrimage for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It attracts a diverse group of yarn lovers, wool merchants, sheep farmers and their families. But most importantly– yarn abounds!

The weather for this year’s show was uncooperative. Rain, snow and cold weather were in the forecast. Fortunately, for us, it didn’t rain or snow on Saturday.

As a veteran of multiple shows with an overflowing stash, I go to Rhinebeck with a purchase plan to ensure that I hit my favorite special vendors first before I look through the show. The goal is not to spend all of my budget before I buy the stuff I want. Also, when it comes to the popular vendors, their best stuff sells out early.

Based on the recommendation of Neoknits who I met at the NYCYarnCrawl event at the NYPL, Briar Rose was the first stop on my list. Melissa recommended the dyed alpaca which has an amazing 2,500 yards for $35. Briar Rose was a hot spot for meeting a wide range of my NYC knitting friends including Alyssa from Annie & Co and Patti from Lion Brand Studio. I found myself attracted to much of their offering. I loved seeing Anne Hanson from Knitspot’s sweater flying like a flag over their main table. I gathered one color after another. After much consulting with Mr. Husband (he’s asked to get a special name.) I bought 2 skeins of bulky blue face leichster in a wonderful red. Each skein is 500 yards which should be sufficient for a sweater (although Mr. Husband hinted that a lace blanket for our couch would be nice.)

My next stop was Spirit Trails which has a great selection of hand dyed lace weight and sock yarns. The colors are so rich. I bought a skein in reds-purples at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Inspired by Melissa Woehle’s circular shawl, I bought enough alpaca lace weight in browns and golds to make a circular shawl. In fact, I ran into Melissa at Spirit Trails where she was buying a book since they had a signing going on.

Fiber Optic - Eye candy for knitters!

Fiber Optic - Eye candy for knitters!

My favorite find of the show was Optic Fibers. The colored yarns were amazing. I loved the black coffee, a traditional colorway that uses beiges, grays. In addition to a merino/polyester blend, Fiber Optics had a 70% merino/30% seacell. It gives a wonderful sheen.

Unfortunately, I wanted the yarn for a shawl so that I needed 2 skeins and there was only one so I will have to order it through the Esty store.

This year, we saw a lamb being sheered. We were surprised at how calm the lamb was. Mr. Husband found an array of unusual animals including kangaroos and the ducks from the Aflac campaign.

Sheep haircut is a public affair at Rhinebeck

Sheep haircut is a public affair at Rhinebeck

Aflac Ducks are lost-they can't contribute fiber

Aflac Ducks can't contribute fiber

Not quite a sheep-I think he's lost

Not quite a sheep-I think he's lost

We always stop at the food vendor barn. While we pass on the maple sugar cotton candy, we always buy a few bottles of sweet dessert wines. They are a welcome accompaniment to my late night knitting television.

The biggest change that I’ve found at the show is the move towards more spinning. To-date, I haven’t been bitten by the bug. I love knitting and think that spinning is very time intensive.

Of course, there’s always great lamb to be had. Although this year, there was an amazing line for chicken pot pies, a food that I don’t personally like.

5 Reasons that Rhinebeck is Must Attend Show for Knitters:

  1. Vendors who don’t sell other places.
  2. Ability to see and interact with sheep and other fiber animals.
  3. Great to connect with other knitters, including some of the rock stars.
  4. Good food, especially lamb. Also ability to purchase NY State product including local wines.
  5. Sense of camaraderie around the love of yarn.

Have you attended the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival? If so, what do you like about it? Please let me know in the comments section.

Submitted by Knitted-Yarns Editor-in-Chief

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