I Am Not In Rhinebeck

Every year on the October weekend the boasts the New York Sheep & Wool Festival it feels like the knitting & spinning community turns very black and white: those who are in Rhinebeck and those who are not in Rhinebeck. We all know that all sorts of people travel great distances to attend this festival including all the heavy-hitting knitterati. As I watch the photos pour into my social media stream of happy faces and wool galore, I am always conflicted. I am most definitely Not in Rhinebeck.

There’s part of me that suffers from extreme FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) with this event. The longing I have to be with my like minded brothers & sisters at this Mecca for spinners and knitters is at times overwhelming. The never-ending barrage of photos that show the traditional reveling in particular food items, the glory of the Hudson River Valley in autumn, the camaraderie, and the wool in so many shapes and forms. Oh, the wool. And the Bosworth Spindle booth. And the Hansen Crafts booth. And… and… And here I sit, 1000miles away, missing out.

There is, however, a larger part of me that is painfully shy and even the idea of the crowds wears me out. I’m instantly nervous at the idea of meeting so many people I admire in person. I mean, that’s a whole lot of opportunity for me to be socially awkward, something at which I truly excel. I think about being away from my family & it loses a lot of its appeal. I remember that even if I were there, how most people do Rhinebeck — all those photos I see, that’s not how I would. Because I’m an introvert, because I will never be one to be outgoing enough to snap selfies with celebrities. There’s a fair chance I’d be too shy to introduce myself. I much prefer quiet time to observe and think and soak things up and while I like to think I would step things up to experience the social aspects of Rhinebeck, I don’t know how much I would. My Rhinebeck wouldn’t be like the photos I see (in reality most things aren’t, right?) and I always come around to the conclusion that the instinct to feel that FOMO is really misplaced.

It’s true. As much as those photos of Rhinebeck tug at my heart a little, the truth is after the last couple of months I’ve had, I would much rather be right where I am: tucked in bed this foggy morning next to my snoring Moose knitting away on my beloved first handspun sweater.

img_4822I just separated the main body from the sleeves. It’s love at every stitch here, my friends. Love at every stitch. I won’t be putting it down anytime soon.

So this weekend, fair warning: I Am Not in Rhinebeck.

For photos of fiber finds and long lost friends and apple cider donuts and perfect fall scenes, you may want to search elsewhere on social media. For photos ofΒ  low-key shenanigans with my family, knitting on my sweater next to my snoring dog in somewhat unspectacular surroundings, a birthday cake made and decorated by an almost-nine-year-old, and probably some spindle spinning in weird evening lighting, look no further. I’ve got you covered.

19 responses to “I Am Not In Rhinebeck

  1. I am only 25 minutes from Rhinebeck and I am not attending. I love all things fiber and I am having a bit of remorse. But I am also a quiet individual and this is a very crowded fair. But I certainly wish everyone a happy time. I love your handspun projects.

  2. Maybe we should plan to go together next year. After shopping (alone, of course because I’ll be off buying coffee mugs & project bags while you’re off buying spinning stuff) we can hang out in our room, in opposite corners, casting on all that great new fiber we just bought & not saying a word to each other. When it’s time to eat, we’ll have each other to walk into the dinning room with then we can sit opposite each other, continuing not to speak. And I promise, I won’t ask you to take a selfie with me. πŸ™‚

  3. i’m also a person who prefers quiet contemplation while holding fiber. i will try SAFF this year, but probably only once. I’d rather by knitting

    • I go to WI Sheep & Wool usually because it’s about 45minutes from my house, but that’s a mixed bag of excitement and bashfulness. I’d rather knit, too!

  4. Sarah–My plans were to attend Rhinebeck this year. Life threw me a curveball, and I am fine with it, but I do enjoy the festival, having attended twice. I actually enjoy the peripheral parts better: the beautiful drive from Maine; the lovely scenery; the excellent food at local restaurants; the historical sites. Yarn is so available now making it really unnecessary to attend for that reason.
    I have met several of those knitting celebrities here in Maine who were super nice, but last year I decided to speak to one of my favorite designers at the festival who shall remain nameless; I approached her, said her name, and she looked at me as if I was a stalker with a loaded gun! I spoke to her for maybe 15 uncomfortable seconds–too much–before she walked off leaving me to skulk away hurt more than I’ve ever said. I am a pretty painful introvert too–no selfies here, and surely none with knitting celebrities are in my future!

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it! Maybe she was an introvert, too? I could see that. I’m the opposite – I get nervous and start talking a lot. Oy!
      And I hear you, between online shopping and local shops there’s not a huge draw for these festivals beyond the social aspects. My main draw would definitely be the selection of wheels and spindles that don’t make it to the Midwest, but as yet it hasn’t made me make the 1000mile journey!

  5. I totally enjoy your “low key shenanigans” and following your family and knitting adventures. Rhinebeck is on my bucket list, as is the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. I’m not a fan of crowds either, but just have to see each of these ONCE! Everyone always thinks I’m a total extrovert, but I’m introverted on the inside πŸ™‚ – give me a quiet afternoon knitting by myself ANY DAY!

    • I tease that in social situations I can be an extroverted introvert. My husband and I are both good at being outgoing when we need to be (with a hefty dash of awkwardness, of course), but we both prefer solitude (even if that means solitude together). I agree though – I would like to go once and see and experience it. πŸ™‚

  6. Oh Sarah, I live about 4 hours away from Rhinebeck, and I find the whole process a bit daunting! I attend the Finger Lakes Wool Festival, which is a very small venue. It is perfect for people like myself, which happen to truly dislike large crowds :-/ Thank you Sarah, for sharing your beautiful knitting and spinning! Maria

  7. Your handspun is beutiful. I can’t wait to see your finished sweater.

    I am not a fan of crowds. I am also an introvert and when having to interact with a lot of people, I find it exhausting. I go between awkward and fine. It just depends on my mood.

    I have been looking at all the Rhinebeck photos and thinking I should at least go once. This is how I felt when I saw all of the WI Sheep & Wool photos, too.

    • I usually go to WI Sheep & Wool early on Friday. It’s a lot less crowded than Saturday and not as picked over as Sunday. I would like to do Rhinebeck largely for a few vendors that don’t make it this far west. As nervous as I would be, if/when I do it I think it would be a good chance to meet people I’ve been in touch with via my blog, too. Someday!

      • Thanks for the tip on WI Sheep & Wool! Like you, I would like to meet all of these wonderfully creative people who influence me. Between my IG and all the blogs I follow, I feel like I learn something new or take some inspiration from someone daily. It would be nice to thank all those folks…and you would be one of them. ☺

  8. lol I hear you!!! I would go for the fab wool and equipment and I could care less about the famous people. And I think I only need to go once, to see it.

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