US Road Trip- Rhinebeck

We Fall for each other. Matching hats made in less than 5 hours. And yes, she made the shawl ya’ll.
What the flock?

The New York Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck, NY was one of only two anchors for our entire road trip. Jyn has wanted to go to this event for years. Rhinebeck is arguably the most well known fiber festival in the US. It caters to knitting, crochet, weaving, and everything associated with the fiber arts. For example, Rhinebeck had all kinds of yarn (even vicuña yarn that costs up to $170 for only 50 grams!), knitting contests, hundreds of vendors, baby goat contests, llama/alpaca contests, photography contests, sheep contests, animal parades, sheep herding demonstrations with dogs, question and answer sessions, frisbee dogs, sheep sheering demonstrations, food, and a variety of workshops.

¿Como te llamas?
We were having a fantastic time… The baby goats… not so much. Their noises were hilarious.
Baby goat contest. Fun fact: Any goat can be a cashmere goat if the hair is less than 18.5 microns in thickness. Additional fun fact: Jyn has turned me into a cashmere snob. It is my preferred fiber.

Rhinebeck is a small town, or perhaps a large hamlet, teeming with charm. I imagine that it is a quiet place for most of the year, but at the end of October, thousands of knitters descend upon the tiny city. We reserved our hotel around 4 months in advance and that was already too late to stay in town.

On the first day, we arrived about 40 minutes before the event started and a few hundred people were already waiting in the 50° morning. Knitting and waiting. The cold doesn’t seem to bother knitters as much. They get decked out, from head to toe, in their favorite wooly creations that represent thousands of hours of effort. It feels like the line to enter a fancy downtown club, but a bit older, more homogenous, and significantly more crafty.

Part of the line to get into the event.

After the excitement was nearly too much to bear, the gates opened and knitters stormed the fairgrounds. Our strategy was to head directly to the souvenier tent to purchase one of the coveted tote bags and shirts. We chose wisely. Later in the day, the line was at least a few hours long, and they probably ran out of the bags. Since all of the workshops were full, we spent the day roaming from event to event. Some of the highlights were watching a woman spinning yarn directly from a live English Angora bunny (bunny did not seem to mind at all), watching the high jump contest for all of the animals (a goat and an alpaca tied for first), visiting endless vendors, meeting the famous cashmere goats, making matching beanie hats in less than 5 hours, walking by the smells of fried everything, and seeing the results of my first official photo contest.

The English Angora Bunny. I am told that it is, in fact, a real animal, with a face.
Just an average Sunday afternoon making yarn directly from your bunny.

Months ago, when I heard that there was a photo contest, I immediately knew I had to participate. My goal was simply to have a picture of Jyn and/or us on the wall of photo entries for everyone to see. It would make us more a part of the festival. I entered a photo of Jyn, a photo of us, and 8 other images to span all of their categories. Sure enough, the photos were on the contest wall for everyone to see. I enjoyed watching people lean closer to the wall to see the details of my pictures. People pointed at the picture of Jyn, as well as others, and I was loved every second of it. I even asked Jyn to stand next to it so I could covertly get a picture of her next to her picture. My goal was already accomplished, but I still wanted to see how my photos ranked against the others. After the results were posted, we walked back to the photo area. I gasped! From a distance, the first thing I noticed was the picture of Jyn with a blue ribbon! Then we looked closer. My photos won 3 out of the 4 categories, was the runner up to best in show, and 7 out of 10 of my pictures placed in the top 3. Sweet potatoes!

My photos 🙂 (Larger versions can be found in the “Photography” tab of the blog)
She is famous. The guy in the background is looking at a picture of her.

Along with the crafty side of the event, you could also interact with the animals that provide fiber. I was unaware that a sheep’s coat feels similar to memory foam. It is dense and soft.

Jyn touching a sheep’s coat. Wool be back soon.
Some llamas are shady.
A fur missile leaping for a frisbee.
It was getting chilly so we had to leaf.

We were at the festival all day on both days and we never bored. We even missed a few things to do including seeing the kangaroos and having apple cider donuts. People were even waiting in a long line in the rain for those donuts! For those who are concerned, I did have a delicious apple cider donut after the event. Overall, we had a great time and look forward to attending another in the future.

Up Next, Driving down the east coast of the United States to Florida.

6 thoughts on “US Road Trip- Rhinebeck

  1. Looking good man! Congrats on the contest too

    On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 12:54 PM Travel Knit Dance wrote:

    > Mike posted: ” We Fall for each other. Matching hats made in less than 5 > hours. And yes, she made the shawl ya’ll. What the flock? The New York > Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck, NY was one of only two anchors for our entire > road trip. Jyn has wanted to go to this even” >


  2. Congratulations on your blue ribbons . . . as for the rest — it was just great – you hit every element. Interesting and witty — what more could we ask. I must agree on the cashmere assessment — and can’t wait to be an armchair observer on more of your adventures!


    1. Who knew knitting events could be so much fun?! Twenty years ago, I imagined Future Mike at drag strips and engineering events. 😉 I’m so happy you and Jyn are having these wonderful adventures!
      Much love to both of you!
      The other MM


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