Category Archives: fiber festivals

My 2017 Fiber Christmas List

So as children around the world write letters to Santa, I make sure to send in my letter as well. Mine, however, always has a fiber theme to it!

My 2017 Christmas list starts off with what else, but yarn! I have always wanted to spin qiviut. If you aren’t familiar, this is the inner fiber of the muskox. It is incredibly warm and very soft. The down side is that it is very expensive. I would love to spin some qiviut for a special project. Maybe a short neck scarf with some pretty buttons!

Nelsonwood Crochet HookIf you crochet, you usually wind up collecting hooks! So of course I need to put a hand made hook on my list. The hooks from Nelsonwood look just wonderful! I especially love the rich look of the wood on their Olivewood hook.

From the “if I hit the lottery” part of my list, I would definitely need to ask for a beautiful spinning wheel from Golding Fiber Tools. Whenever I get to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, I always stop by their booth to see what is new and wonderful. A particular favorite of mine is the “Architecture” Golding Spinning Wheelwheel. A handcarved single flyer cherry spinning wheel with ebony and walnut accents and a hand-rubbed bronze plated ring. Their designs are just amazing! Even if you can’t afford their fiber tools, I highly recommend you check them out if you have the opportunity to see them in person.

Another new find this year at Rhinebeck was Shaker Boxes for yarn by the Suffolk Shaker Shop. I’ve always loved Shaker style furniture and woodwork, so these definitely caught my eye!

So there’s my list. Short and sweet. I hope you enjoyed reading my Christmas list to Santa. What’s on your list? I hope everyone has a warm and wonderful holiday season!

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival 2017

A little more than a week has passed since the 2017 Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. Instead of taking the train up for the day, I decided to make a weekend out of it. So hubby and I booked and AirBnB (will never do that again!) and headed upstate.

Rosendale, NY
Rosendale, NY

The weather was just glorious! It really gave us the opportunity to check out the area. We spent Saturday visiting some of the lovely open spaces and antique shops. We picked up a paper while enjoying dinner in Rosendale and even the locals were looking forward to  the event! Every individual we met was incredibly nice. We were offered suggestions on where to have lunch, different areas we should ride to, and even the history of the large bridge that was recently built!

Saturday’s exploring was very nice, but let’s face it; we were there for the Festival on Sunday. We were about 20 minutes outside of Rhinebeck. After a nice breakfast we headed over to the Fairgrounds. We knew we were getting close when the traffic started to back up and we saw this billboard!

Rhinebeck Billboard
Getting close!

Now I have been telling the hubby how huge the event is but he was still surprised when we walked into the Fairgrounds. As usual it was packed, but not as busy as Saturday from what I was told by those who attended both days. Everyone was very pleasant – and why not? After all, we are all there to enjoy everything fiber-related!

As always, there were plenty of wonderful little furry creatures to visit. And they certainly know everyone was there to seem them! There were a few young alpacas that were quite friendly and wanted to check out everyone. There was also a beautiful sheep hanging out that was just really interested in sitting comfortably letting everyone take his picture.


This year they held a live auction for used equipment like they do at the Maryland Sheep and Wool. Unfortunately, it was only held on Saturday so I missed it. The one time I went to Maryland I checked out the auction and it was great fun. I even won a few items! I hope they do it again next year and maybe offer it on both days.

Obviously there were wonderful items in every building and barn. Of course there were a few items that really caught my eye.  Over the last few years, more and more people are using yarn bowls to try and tame project yarn. Well this year I saw beautiful shaker boxes from Suffolk Shaker Shop

Suffolk Shaker Shop
Knitting box from Suffolk Shaker Shop

that do the same thing. I love Shaker style, so I had to stop and check them out.

Golding Spinning Wheels
Golding Spinning Wheels

A “must stop” booth for me is always Golding Fiber Tools. They create the most ornate spinning wheels and spindles I have ever seen. But they are not just a pretty face. They spin like a dream! I am the proud owner of one of their spindles and I always need to try out the latest wheels they have on display at the Festival. A Golding Spinning Wheel is at the top of my “if I hit the lottery” list – and of course a matching chair must go with it!

One of my last stops of the day was to the Author’s Section to have a quick visit with the great Margaret Hubert. She is not just a talented fiber artist – she’s a good soul. Someone I don’t get to see nearly enough.

Margaret Hubert
Me with the great Margaret Hubert!

She is always more than happy to share her knowledge and offer encouragement to fellow fiber fanatics when they are struggling with a project or specific stitch. She recently published her 31st book – Customize Your Crochet – so I had to pick up a copy and have her autograph it!

Finally we headed out for the day. We didn’t get to see everything, but it was just great. I am already on the wait list at one hotel for next year and will continue to check out other hotels in the area to see if we can book a legitimate room next time.

So what did I buy you might ask? Hubby bought me a few presents! First, a lovely antique box full of thread spools. Second, two antique cameras! Yes, I know. Not exactly fiber gifts, but I have several analog-based hobbies. I’ve always wanted some older cameras so I am now the proud owner of a Kodak Duaflex II and an original Polaroid still in the carry case! So cool!

So, I wait with fiber-filled dreams until next fall.

Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool 2012

There are very few words someone can say to a group of individuals that immediately stir emotions. For fiber fanatics, one of those words is Rhinebeck.

The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival held at the Dutchess County fairgrounds, better known as “Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool,” was last weekend. For the last several years, I go to the show by way of a wonderful bus trip run by Jill Deal Yarn in Milford, PA, however, this year I had a very important event on Sunday that kept me from participating – my niece’s Confirmation. I thought I would have to miss this year’s event completely, but thanks to my wonderful husband, I was able to go on Saturday by hopping a ride on the Amtrack. It was quite the adventure!

I hopped the NJ Transit train in Dover, NJ into New York City. Then it was the Amtrak to Rhinecliff, NY, and finally a short taxi ride to the fairgrounds. A total of four hours door-to-door. I made arrangements to meet the taxi a few hours later and off I went!

At first, I was a bit frantic. I only had four hours to get to everything. My usual plan when going to Rhinebeck is to make one or two rounds and make mental notes of what I plan to purchase and then on the last round, pick everything up. Well, this year I had to purchase when I saw it. I still made mental notes for items that I would not be able to purchase at the event, but hope to plan to at some point in the future.

The purchase I made was was one of my favorite vendors – Golding Fiber Tools. I picked up a set of Knitters Pride Dreamz crochet hooks. They were quite reasonable, VERY light, comfortable, and just lovely! I own a Golding spindle and I can say with great confidence, their work is some of the best out there and they offer their tools at a wide variety of price points so you can find something to fit your budget. Purchasing a spindle is a great and inexpensive way to get started in spinning and there is nothing like spinning on a quality spindle.

I found a great spinning seat that I plan on buying in the future. They were all hand-turned and cost between $120 and $150, depending on the type of wood used. The best part is that he does ship! As I was on the train, it didn’t make much sense to try to bring this home so I plan on picking one up.

I also had a chance to try out a spinning wheel called “Hopper” from Spinolution. This is a portable-style wheel and it spins like a dream! The woman at the booth let me spin for a long as I wanted and answered all my questions. The wheel retails for a little more than $800. Definitely a well made wheel!

I had a chance to say a quick hello to Susan from Susan’s Fiber Shop. This is the only time of year I get to see her and I always make sure to say hello. Her booth was full of fibery goodness as always! For those of you who don’t know Susan, she is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.

As always, there were many different finished pieces available for sale from a wide variety of different artisans. One vendor had these beautifully made hand-felted scarves. Felting is something I keep saying I want to learn more about, but that never seems to happen. It is definitely on my list.

I also checked out the Schacht Cricket Loom. There is now a 10 inch model available, which is just the right size for condo living. That will be on my list to Santa this year for sure!

The leaves were in all their glory and the weather was just perfect! There was only a slight chill in the air, making it perfect for some leaf peeping and hot cider. The colors on the trees were just lovely.

In what seemed like no time, I had to meet the taxi to head back to the train station to catch the Amtrack back to NYC and then the NJ Transit train back to Dover.

Overall it was a great day and it always goes by too quickly. The train was a nice ride – although a long one. I hope to take Jill’s bus trip next year. Once I was back on the the train in New Jersey, I was able to snap a shot of the Freedom Tower being built in lower Manhattan. It was certainly a beautiful sight!

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.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Review

This past weekend was the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I’ve wanted to go to this even for years and finally had the opportunity to go!

I found out a local yarn shop, Down Cellar in Basking Ridge, NJ, was offering a bus trip on the Saturday of the event. The cost? $90. A little steep in my opinion, but my dear husband wanted me to go, so I signed up. The cost included breakfast, juice, coffee and water on the way down, snacks on the way back, yarn for a community project and several raffles. Sounded like a good time. I was told we should arrive by 6:15 a.m. to depart the parking lot at 6:30 a.m. for an approximate 9:30 a.m. arrival time. I was up at 4:00 a.m. and out the door 40 minutes later. I wanted to make sure I was there on time and couldn’t wait to get on the road!

I actually arrived at 5:15 a.m., so I went in search of somewhere that was open for coffee. By the time I got back about 20 minutes later to find several ladies anxiously waiting to go! I checked in and received my goodie back and jumped on the bus. Everyone was very excited to get going. So, we waited while everyone checked in and got settled on the bus. Then they handed out breakfast. Then we waited…and waited…and waited. Many ladies started asking why we weren’t on the road yet. Come to find out we were waiting on ONE PERSON who was late. As people on the bus became increasingly frustrated, one of the women who was running the trip said she would wait for anyone. One annoyed woman said she wouldn’t expect two bus loads of people to wait for her. The woman from the shop made a point of telling all of us that she doesn’t want us to make her feel bad. Well, she finally showed up one hour late and we were finally on the road. I settled in for a nap happy to finally be heading to Maryland.

Unfortunately, things didn’t get much better at that point. As we were waiting to get into the show, the air conditioning gave out on the bus. I especially felt bad for a woman sitting a few rows behind me who was really feeling ill due to the heat on the bus. While we waited in line, I asked the trip organizer if we would be staying later since we started out so late. She said no and to “walk fast.” I told her for a $90 price tag, I shouldn’t have to walk fast. We finally got into the show and our bus parked just shy of 11:30 a.m. – close to two hours late. The organizer announced that we would have an extra 15 minutes to walk around at the end of the day but was emphatic to be online or they would leave without you! Really? We wait approximately an hour for one woman, we are threatened that if we are late to take the Amtrak? Needless to say, no one was really happy.

When I first got off the bus, I did exactly what the woman said. I was so afraid I wouldn’t have time to see everything, I hustled and bustled around not really seeing anything. About an hour into the day, I finally settled in and started to enjoy the day.

I couldn’t believe all the fibery goodness! I had a chance to visit with Laurie, mommy to Laurie’s Lambs and of course take time to visit with her happy sheep. I treated myself to a glass crochet hook from Michael and Shelia Ernst. I also had a new experience and participated in the spinning equipment auction. I won an antique Weave-It loom and bid on a spinning chair, but someone wanted it way more than I did! It was a lot of fun to watch everyone bid and win different fiber items.

I visited every barn to check out all the different animals and ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over all the beautiful fibers and yarn. I even picked up some yarn for fly tying! There were lots of vendors I’ve only heard about, but never met. Everyone was very friendly and happy to chat about common love of fiber.

I think the Auctioneer put it best. She said during a little break that she loves coming to the festival and seeing familiar faces. That we have become a “fiber family.” And I would have to agree. It reminded me of the family Glenn and I have developed at the Fly Fishing Shows we attend. It is a common love and passion that brings us all together. It was a wonderful day!

All too soon, however, I had to trek back to the bus. We left at 3:45 p.m. on the dot…with no air conditioning the entire ride home. Someone popped open the emergency hatch in the back of the bus to at least circulate some air. I again settled in for a nap on the way home, hoping to sleep through the heat.

While the festival itself was absolutely amazing, the issues with the organization of the bus trip, which cut our time to walk around by close to 90 minutes was certainly a disappointment. So, next year, I am not sure if I will go. I will look into the Amtrak and see what is involved. If I do even consider going on the Down Cellar bus trip, I will definitely ask if there has been a late police put into place. If not, well, they won’t get my $90 next year. They could definitely learn from Jill Deal in Milford, PA on how to run a successful bus trip.

Rain and Cold at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool

There is one word that stirs the hearts of fiber fanatics…Rhinebck.

This past weekend was the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival held each year at Dutchess County Fair Grounds in Rhinebeck. For for the past several years, the weather has been just wonderful. Well, this year we paid for it with cold and rain on Sunday. I bundled up however and set out from my house at 6:30 a.m. to get the bus at Jill Deal Yarns in Milford, PA to the festival.

The first thing I noticed as soon as I stepped off the  bus was the lack of crows of years past. It seems the threat of poor weather kept many of the crows away. While I was happy for the elbow room, I did feel bad for the vendors who travel such great distances to get to the festival. I also heard there were a few vendors who didn’t go to the festival at all over concerns of the weather. While speaking with some of the vendors, they said they had a “good” or “solid” weekend, but certainly not what it was in year’s past. Hopefully next year’s weather will be better.

Nevertheless, I had a great time! I picked up some wonderful yarns for a planned project, some lovely crochet hooks and of course some great snacks! I stopped by the Ravelry get together for a quick hello and zipped back and forth from barn to barn to see all the wonderful animals! I also spoke with a representative from a new yarn company St. Denis. The amount of inspiration you can find at this festival is truly never ending!

It is also always great to see my wonderful fiber friends. I was able to sit and visit with author and internet radio show host Mary Beth Temple as well as others. To me, one of the best parts of these festivals to see my fiber friends that I don’t get to see as often as I would like!

One thing I noticed (and wasn’t too please about), was the large amount of strollers. There seemed to be a lot more than last year. In a way it was a good thing it wasn’t as crowded as usual because it would’ve been impossible to maneuver around them.

Overall, I had a great time and am sorry it is over already! One of these years I will make it a full weekend trip. But I wait in anticipation of all its fibery goodness until next year.

New York State Sheep and Wool Festival This Weekend

While I hate when the weather turns colder and the days are shorter, I always look forward to one thing…the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.

I look forward to this festival every fall. You can get anything here from fiber for spinning to the most beautiful spinning wheel! It was at Rhinebeck a few years ago that I was able to actually try out a Golding spinning wheel! You can also meet authors, take classes or just wander from barn to barn visiting all the animals.

I will be sure to post a complete report after my visit on Sunday. If you have time to attend, it is definitely worth the trip!

Fiber Arts in the Fall

While it seems that fall has been here in New Jersey for a few weeks now, summer officially comes to a close this weekend. I must say the fall is my favorite time of year with the crisp air, the beautiful leaves and of course…fiber festivals!

On October 24 and 25, the Woods Edge Wool Farm will host its fiber festival on their farm at Stockton, NJ. Admission is free and parking is $5.  The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood will hose its First Annual North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival Friday evening October 2 and Saturday October 3. Amazing fiber artist Leslie Nelle-Urinyime of Wool Mountain Studio will be there with her wonderful freeform hats!

One event I look forward to every year is the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. The festival is the weekend of October 17th and 18th and isn’t to be missed! I always go on Sunday by taking a bus ride from Jill Deal Yarn in Milford, PA. It is a great way to get to the show and not have to battle traffic or a long car ride.

There are always smaller, local craft and fall festivals and it is a great way to spend a day enjoying the wonderful weather of the fall.

If you know of a festival I haven’t listed here, please share by making a comment and let everyone know about the event!

San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival Hosts the International Freeform Crochet Guild Exhibit in Monte Vista, CO

Released by the San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival…

The San Luis Valley Folk Arts and Fiber Festival kicks off its third year on June 23, in Monte Vista, with an exhibit of fiber artists whose work spans the globe. The SLV Fest is a celebration of the handmade and traditional arts.

Admission to both the exhibit and festival are free. Saturday and Sunday convene with two, full days of vendors, food, music, demonstrations, exhibits and contests—including the favorite wool spinning races.  There will also be children’s knitting classes on Saturday.

From the International Freeform Guild website:
“… Freeform crochet is like painting. The hook is a brush and the yarn, a paint. The result can be abstract or realistic. Freeform is original design, not a reproduction of another person’s pattern; it goes beyond the realm of patterns and restrictions that usually apply toward our art. The outcome is a piece of art like no other, not only functional, but beautiful as well. Freeform includes 2-D and 3-D art, clothing and useful items.”

Fifty-two artists contributed to the original show; At least fourteen will participate in the Monte Vista exhibit. Many of these artists exhibit locally and internationally; several have been published recurrently.

“Four Seasons” will be published in book form later this year. A calendar is also planned. All proceeds from the sales of both will benefit Woman to Woman, a non-profit organization that provides aid to women in war-torn countries. 

Participating Artists:
• Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten, Rockaway, NJ USA
• Orla Breslin. County Kerry, Ireland
• Marie Castro, Guarulhos,Sao Paulo, Brazil
• Kathie Cureington, Alabama, US
• Margaret Hubert, Pawling, NY US
• Myra Wood, Sherman Oaks, CA US
• Kerri Lincoln, Oneonta, NY, US
• Perry Lowell, Framingham, MA, US
• Renate Kirkpatrick, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
• Prudence Mapstone, Brisbane, Queensland AUS
• Sheryl Means, Richmond, TX, US
• Laura Murphy, Monte Vista, CO US
• Zelda Pheonix, West Salem, OH US
• Susan Wolf Swartz, Highland Park, IL, US
• Leslie Nelle Urinyi, New Jersey, US

New Fiber Festival Planned in Upstate New York

A new fiber fesitval is planned in upstate New York. The First Annual Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival will take place September 26 and 27, 2009, at the Washington County Fairgrounds, Greenwich, New York. The organizers are well along in planning for the event, and it’s really shaping up. They’d like to have at least 60 fiber vendors of all kinds at the Festival, along with exhibits of fiber critters. Workshops and demonstrations are also planned.

For more information, including an application to be a vendor, check out the Fair’s web site,

I am not sure if I will be able to check it out, but I certainly hope to! The fall fiber festivals are always an enjoyable experience!