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Dear Ann,

Remember how I was trying to organize my Rhinebeck into a less breathless experience? That didn’t work out. My visit Saturday was as manic as ever, or at least it feels like that in retrospect. The seven hours flew by so fast that if my face wasn’t windburned, I’d wonder if it was all a dream.


When you start the day buying goat horns, you know it’s gon’ be off the chain. (Niece for scale.) This was at the Cashmere Goat Association‘s booth; it was their first time at Rhinebeck. Many knitters crossed “buy cashmere from a nun” off their bucket list this weekend.


The Signs of Rhinebeck could be a coffee table book. I would buy that coffee table book. This year my favorite was ALL THINGS LLAMA, needle-felted. But there were more:


It is hard — and perhaps pointless — to say what is the best thing about the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival. But it might be the sweaters. Or, more precisely, the vision of a world in which sweaters really matter, and everybody has a good one. At Rhinebeck, sweaters are our flags and our jewels, our business cards and our conversation starters. How many people leave the Dutchess County Fairgrounds resolved to knit and wear more sweaters, better sweaters? How many walk the barns with a quiet inner smile, knowing that their sweater deserves to be in this place?

Or is it just me? Anyway, here’s a tiny sample. I’d take better pictures but then I would miss seeing so many other good sweaters.


Nordic runway.


A gorgeous mosaic. Hotpants optional.  Left to right, Angela Tong, Misa Erder, Steven Ambrose, and a lovely lady wearing a Hiro cardigan.


Raise ’em Rhinebeck.


My friend and fellow Upper Westsider Sara Sprung and her elegant, citified poncho. She told me the pattern: “knit a top down raglan sweater but keep doing the increases and don’t do sleeves.”  If you’d like that written out, Sara has generously posted the Modern Poncho on Ravelry as a free pattern. I like the shape so much better than a typical poncho. Flowy but structured.


These Shaker yarn boxes almost got me. It was a close thing. Beautifully made. If they’d had a milk-painted one, BOOM.


Smart shopper. Load it up.


The beautiful faces of Rhinebeck. That yellow and cream jacket is CROCHET. Nicole Lindner googled “how to make crochet flowers” and connected them into a jacket. Easy–!


Loved everything about this lady’s outfit. Poetry In Stitches meets Oilily. Handbasket AND backpack. Mix it up! Style is more than just the (beautiful)  handknit.


More vibrant mixing from Karen @choochooknits.


Here’s a happy video diary of our day. (My niece Kristin made it; it’s kind of heavy on the sheep grooming and aunt-mocking.)


You have to come next year, Ann.



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  • Thankyou so much for the virtual Rhinebeck pictorial and video tour – telling myself it is almost as good as being there………..
    and what are you planning on doing with the goats horns?

    • Some kind of home decor item? It was truly one of those moments where you lose your senses. They just seemed so cool.

      • Halloween’s just twelve days away . . . costume inspiration, right there.

  • thank you to you,kay,and your niece for the lovely virtual tour of rhinebeck! i am originally from that area.i grew up in the catskills,in greene co.,so duchess co. is a stone’s throw from there.but i have never had the chance as an adult living in central connecticut to make it out to the is now on my bucket list! did you really buy the goat horns? i raised dairy goats growing up,but we dehorned them as babies–too dangerous in a dairy herd!

  • I want a weekend do-over….I’ll do everything I did do, but I’ll remember to spend more time with the animals. And hit that cashmere booth, I saw the nun, but not the fiber. If I could post pictures I’d post one from Sunday, crochet pants. Long ones. Crazy confidence right there! Great weekend!

    • You did not take a picture of crochet pants? I can’t understand this! LOL!

      • Oh, I took one!

  • Thanks for sharing! I’m going to try hard to go again next year! Maybe I’ll drag Ann with me…..

  • Thanks for the tour. I did go this year, but it was my first time so I was a bit overwhelmed much of the day. My phone was dead too, so I did not take many pics.

  • Did you find the indigo dyed yarn you wanted? Will there be an indigo dye pot simmering somewhere in the Upper West Side soon?

    • I actually didn’t even LOOK for indigo yarn–that was a total fail. I did meet a woman from the Upper West Side who not only dyes in her apartment, but forages in Central Park for dye stuffs. I think my dream is to dye my own yarn for this dream project.

      • It was cool meeting you Kay – I’m going to make good on my Upper West Side indigo dye party soon and you will be first on the list. We can cook up some Central Park sumac, osage orange, and other lovelies too.

  • Brava to your niece! She beautifully captured all things (well, most of the things–all things would be a full-length feature film) that are Rhinebeck!

    • Thanks, Mary, I’ll tell her. She was very sneaky about the filming.

  • One of these years I’ll get to go, or so I hope. In the meantime, I can live vicariously through your post. Thank you!

  • This makes me less sad for having missed it. And, I love the raglan poncho. Thanks for the tip.

  • Thanks for the ace Rhinebeck coverage. I never go – I own too much yarn, and many years, it’s Rhinbeck or the rent. Thanks for the Modern Poncho pic, would be fun to wear as well as make – I was thinking divide up the front like a cardigan, for a cape. Only wish you had a photo of the nun…

    • I will find you one, Valerie–she was really something and many people photographed her; she even showed a goat in the show barn–which I missed, sadly. You see her for a second in the video, behind my head.

  • Loved seeing all the pictures and video. Next year can I have a ride with you? I’m in NQINQWH (not not quite Inwood not quite Washington Heights).

  • So good to have you back!

  • Look! Right next to Poetry in Stitches meets Oilily, a rare sighting of Jane Seymour (colourway 1, Alice Starmore, Tudor Roses 1998 edition) in the wild!

    • Good eye, Gretchen! I noticed how elaborate it was but didn’t identify it at all! It’s like seeing a rare bird.

      • It is indeed. That’s one of the (many) things to love about fiber festivals. Sadly, so far I haven’t been able to attend any of the outdoor, critter-filled types. Stitches West is a blast, but comparatively few attendees choose to wear sweaters inside a convention center.

  • Thanks for sharing your day with us! This give me incentive to get there myself one of these years!

  • Excellent video. I’m certain I’ll never get there, I’ve never been to the nearest one, but it sure was fun to see all the yarniness and sheeps.

    I’m so glad you’re back, I’ve really missed you two.

  • Best 3 minutes of my day! Wh0 knows … maybe my week. So glad you’re both back !

  • I want to go!!!

  • Love this! Your niece beautifully captured the glory and wonder that is a Fiber Fest! Rheinbeck is the sine qua non of wool festivals of course, but little local ones also have much to offer, if you are lucky enough to live within a day’s drive. (Here we have the Oregon Flock and Fiber in September and the Black Sheep Gathering in June.) I also loved how up close and personal you were with the all the wool…looking, of course, but also smelling and touching! I would have bought the goat horns, too. And…were there any tempting Babydoll Southdowns or Pygora lambs who wanted to come home with you?

  • i love the video. Congrats to the camera girl. I am dying to see where those horns end up. Too big to be part of a costume for Miss Olive!!!!

  • I can’t think of a better way to start the Rhinebeck day than with cashmere goats! Glad to hear the CGA display was good – thanks for sharing 🙂

    Loved the video – kudos to your cinematographer!

  • Going to Rhinebeck is definitely on my bucket list. Going to have to wait a few years until I retire and can travel in October.

    Who knew that buying cashmere from a nun was a thing? I’ll add that to my bucket list, also.

  • Heaven help us if you had gone into advertising instead of law. I have this urgent longing for goat horns after reading this….

  • The video filmed by your niece made my day! She has a special talent. I luuuvve the recent Olive video she did on IG, and have viewed it many times these past few days. Definite whimsy.

    BTW, I like the cowl she is wearing; it’s a lovely shade of green. Is it a Honey cowl?

  • Thanks for the tour! I loved seeing all the knits, and the video made me almost feel like I was there (nice music choice, too). All the cute sheep and happy faces — looks like “the happiest place on earth” to me!

  • Had a great time at Rhinebeck, your blog post and the video perfectly distill it, great fun to revisit it here.

  • Comment

  • can’t believe how many of my housemates made this post. it was nice to meet you, if only in passing!

  • Holy goat, I made the Modern Daily blog! My life is complete, thank you. Almost succumbed to a cashmere pelt myself, deceased. It was so wonderful to see you again!

  • I see me! It was fun to meet you at my first Rhinebeck — it all went by too fast. Can’t wait to see your progress with indigo.

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