Spinners' Holiday

Since we work months in advance in publishing, it’s almost the time of year when we think about the holidays. I was just speaking to a knitter this morning who said she’d almost finished her Christmas knitting. (Not me. I am at least 2 years in arrears on gift knitting and at this rate will probably have to ask for sock amnesty.)

But for spinners, the true holidays—wool festivals—are about to kick off their second season this year. There are two important ways in which wool festivals are holidays for knitters: goodies and family. 

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Unlike the traditional winter gift-giving holidays, you probably have to buy your own presents at the wool market, but it doesn’t diminish the joy of opening a bag of fleece or choosing a braid of top. And whether or not your blood relatives join you at the festival grounds, the people you meet there probably feel like family.

My fall festival plans run the gamut: Northeast and Southwest. Small and large. Regional and international. I can’t wait: Taos and Rhinebeck, here I come!

The Taos Wool Festival is celebrating its 31st year in the small New Mexico town northeast of Santa Fe. Taos is a regional show with juried vendors, so you can be sure that all the items for sale in the market come from Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. It’s held in the small Kit Carson Park on October 4 and 5. Highlights will include angora goats, Navajo-Churro sheep, and spicy green chiles.



Spacer 15x15 pixels The Hudson River Valley in Fall is beautiful—even more irresistible with the addition of sheep. Photo by Anthony Quintano

The New York Sheep and Wool Festival is a whole different breed. I haven’t been since 2008, but there were reports in recent years of 40,000 attendees on a single day. The small town of Rhinebeck sits on the Hudson River, especially beautiful the third weekend in October. Rhinebeck is one of the anchors of the festival season, and vendors and teachers come from thousands of miles away. Held in the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, this year's festival will take place October 18 and 19. You can find almost any sheep breed or fiber-bearing animal here, and crowds can always be found at the Artichoke French.

So that’s where I’ll be. How about you? Tell me about it in the comments.

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