Tuesday, October 23, 2018
O Rhinebeck. Another good one, in the bag. Okay, I know there might be more than a few of you out there who just could not care less about hearing any more about Rhinebeck and I totally get it. For years, I thought, big deal, there’s yarn for sale right in the store. That’s true, there is. And if you’re not a knitter or a crocheter, then I’m sure you wish we would all just shut up about it already. I hear you, and I understand. Also, not for nothing, there are a LOT of yarn and fiber festivals out there in this world and your own local fair is chock full of wooly goodness, too, and I hope to get to all of them someday. And honestly, if Rhinebeck weren’t within an arm’s reach for me, I doubt I would brave the crowds and the weather, but it is, so I did. And it was wondrous good. Let me tell you about it.
In the event that I persuade you to make the trip next year, the first piece of advice I have about this festival—and I almost hesitate to spread this around—is this: unless you love frustration and standing around in a solid mass of desperate and hungry humanity, don’t go on Saturday. Don’t even. Sit tight. Sunday is better, and you can move around and see stuff and there is still plenty of yarn and fiber to go around. Leave home Saturday morning, get to within an hour of the fairgrounds, tuck into your adorable Airbnb somewhere in the woodsy gorgeous Catskills and walk into town for a bowl of noodles. Visit Jill Draper’s Open Studio and buy a whole huge bagful of goodies, oops. Meet some knitterati, schmooze with your tribe. Drink wine, talk wool. Meander back into the woods over the dark windy roads, admiring the top-notch Halloween decorations along the way, and knit peacefully in your room until you get drowsy. On Sunday morning, get up at a leisurely hour, wander next door for a coffee. Savor your breakfast, then put on your Rhinebeck Sweater and drive to the fairgrounds, where the early morning stampede is already over and you can just calmly park and walk in.
The second piece of advice I have is this: accept that the line for the apple cider donuts will be long. Accept that you will have to stand there a long time. It’s going to be a wait. The people in the donut shack are not in any kind of hurry whatsoever, and frankly, waiting in the donut line is where you will meet people, talk about what you’re wearing, what you’re knitting, famous people that have been spotted (I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for Johnny Depp—one of these years, I know it...). The camaraderie in the donut line is really the whole point of Rhinebeck. You’ll be standing there with them for an hour; these are your new friends. It’s worth it, too, the donuts are hot and coated with sugar and are meltingly good.
I saw some friends again this year (Hi Valerie!) and met some new friends (Hi Irene! Hi Carol!) and saw some celebs. I spotted Clara Parkes, but there were no paparazzi, so I doubted my own eyes. I met Eric from Sticks + Twine, and finally met Ann Weaver, who I’ve admired for years and years. Dianna Walla is wonderfully nice. Kirsten Kapur is utterly lovely. Jill Draper hugged me like an old friend. In the distance, I saw Annie Lupton and Amanda Soule and Sonia Phillip and Lisa and Melissa from Espace Tricot. The weather was cold, so there were a lot of really good hats and a lot of puffy parkas, but there was also a lot of yarn. I may have bought some. I’m sure you can see how different all these are:
Oops, wait, I missed one:
There. That’s my haul. A lot of sheep-colored, wooly-wool sweaters are coming up next, and it is taking all my nerve not to cast on five new things today. Dark weather is coming, and when that happens, you’ll find me beside the fireplace, Catdog at my feet, hyggeing hard with all this gorgeous wool. I can hardly wait.