An onwards... the main thing that got us on to a plane, that made the 24 hour travel time well worth it.
Rhinebeck, or to more correctly New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, this is the grand-daddy of all the wool festivals, it's been going for over 30 years, and is a wonderful gathering of all things fibre related.
The feeling on arrival is rather similar to Wonderwool Wales, the show right on my own doorstep. Once you park and walk up the hill to the entrance gate, and then are faced with a glorious choice over which buildings on the showground to go and explore first....
We headed in to the big halls where all the big name vendors, who we've heard of across the pond, are found.
Lots people comment on how busy it gets, and there are some stands that are packed (we didn't even bother trying to look at Miss Babs until later on Sunday afternoon), but I didn't find it to be any more crowded that the big UK shows, I've certainly felt more jostled in the cattle market pens at Woolfest. One very noticeable difference is how packed the vendors fill their stands with stock and displays. Stalls in UK festivals tend to be left more open, maybe in part because of how many more people with mobility issues seem to come to UK shows, I barely saw any mobility scooters or electric wheelchairs.
Aside from getting very tempted at Into The Whirled and buying some stunning yarn I resisted making purchases in this part of the show. I'd set strict shopping criteria, and any purchases had to be for things that I couldn't get at home, particularly given US yarn and fibre is comparatively expensive compared to similar products in the UK. Hand Dyed Merino combed top was around 25% more than I would pay at a show over here.
In the afternoon we headed in to the parts where I got a lot more tempted! So many beautiful, unique single flock yarns....
The yarns were mostly thicker than we see in the UK, huge amounts of DK and Worsted was being sold, and many of them were beautifully bouncey, with an underspun, and then overplied structure that kept the hand really soft.
My biggest temptations were the beautiful rovings... Proper roving, soft and fluffy, and in so many colours and varieties. Fortunately for my bank balance the limitations of how much fluffy stuff you can fit in a suitcase held me back!
I have some gorgeous Cormo and Angora that I am spending a while looking at and contemplating... it's going to be something beautifully soft and fluffy and bouncy. Last time I spun Cormo I made the mistake of doing a 5-ply yarn and it just didn't do the fibre justice.
I'm already working my way through some Icelandic Lamb roving which is being spun as a low twist Lopi-style single, but a bit finer, because 100g cost me nearly £12, and because I couldn't fit more in my suitcase! No lovely photos of these, because they photograph badly, but hopefully I will do them justice and can show you some yarn photos soon.
Many of my purchases from all these farm vendors are having to stay secret, I did a lot of Christmas shopping in this part of the show...
Just as we were getting shopping fatigue we ended up in the onsite museum. Jill got very distracted by a circular sock machine, and then she found the printer! I left them talking type and all things inky, but I did end up with a printed poster for the Festival that will take pride of place in the dye studio.
Next up... the animals. There's a nun, and a cashmere goat, and a jumping competition. You won't want to miss it!