Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool 2010

This past weekend was the 2010 Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY . I look forward to this event year and, as usual, it didn’t disappoint!

High Point, NJ
High Point, NJ on the way to Jill Deal in Milford, PA

I took the bus from Jill Deal Yarn, just like every year. Now you may remember I took a bus trip from another yarn store earlier this year to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival . Well, they could definitely take a page from Jill’s playbook. As usual, the trip was flawless! We left from her shop promptly at 8:00 a.m. in Milford, PA for the roughly 90 minute trip to Rhinebeck, NY. I sat next to a lovely woman on the bus and we chatted all the way up. This was her first trip to the Festival, so I was happy to fill her in on all the fibery goodness she would experience!

Sheep at Rhinebeck, NY
One of the great sheep hanging out.

The morning wasn’t very busy with plenty of walking room and very pleasant festival-goers. Of course, I had to pick up a few items. I picked up the Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hooks  which I purchased from Susan’s Fiber Shop. Susan always has the absolute best stuff! She is very knowledgeable and is always happy to provide information and answer questions. I also picked up a Turkish spindle from Bonnie McMillen, made by her husband Neal. Finally, I found an unexpected treasure. A beautiful hand-woven scarf made with recycled sari silk at Fessler Spinning and Weaving. They also had some very yummy yarn at their booth that I plan on ordering.

An overhead shot of one of the vendor barns.
An overhead shot of one of the vendor barns.

I had the opportunity to meet John McCoy and his wife who manufacture Pocket Wheels by Jon . Let me tell you, this is an awesome wheel! This may very well be on my “wish list” in the future.

I had plenty of fun, including my usual lunch of stuffed cabbage and perogies and topping it off with a late afternoon pumpkin spice coffee. Of course I had to go see all the great sheep on display. Although I was sad I missed Laurie, mommy to Laurie’s Lambs in Chesterfield, New Jersey. I came to find out, she was in a different barn that I thought was just for judging.

I did notice people carrying fewer bags than in the past. I am guessing this is due to the unstable economy and high level of unemployment. I asked a few vendors about their sales and while some were optimistic and said they “did well,” others told me they sold very few “big ticket” items (such as carders and spinning wheels) and more items like knitting needles and books. Even I found myself taking a few business cards of vendors I would like to order from in the future, working to stay on a budget.

Spindles at Rhinebeck, NY
Spindles, spindles and more spindles!

My only “suggestion” to the event planners is this – I wish they would consider not allowing strollers. I know they billed this as a “family-friendly event,” but the strollers often make navigating the show very tough as the number of attendees increases during the day. Many of these booths are very tight. More than once I saw a mother and father with a stroller go into a booth and that was it. No one else could get in and look until they were fished, often leaving without making a purchase. I wonder if this also contributed to low sales. I also saw lots of double-strollers, making it even more difficult to get around. I hope they would consider at least eliminating the double strollers.

Ultimately, it was time to head home. Everyone made it back to the bus on time and off we went. Everyone chatted about their purchases of the day and eventually everyone settled in and either worked on a project or napped…or a little bit of both!

By the end of the day I was tired, but inspired. I realized how much I miss finding time to spin. I am hoping it has inspired me to work to find, at least a little time, to get some spinning in.

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