Hail Thee, Festival Day!

That’s the name of a church hymn I’ve never sung. But I like the title of it, and it’s relevant to what I want to write about today, which has nothing to do with church hymns but with something else I do find sacred: Rhinebeck! (i.e., the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, in Rhinebeck, New York)

Months ago, I made the decision to attend (my first time in four years), but then when my mom died just a few weeks ahead of the festival, I couldn’t imagine going and enjoying myself. Or even knitting ever again, for that matter. But my husband pushed me to go, knowing that time there would be good for me. And it so was.

It was a kind of time-out-of-time for me. Surrounded by strong, creative, amazing women, curled up in our cozy house with knitting, coffee, snacks, and music, I discovered a renewed energy in myself, and a renewed connection with myself. In fact, the four days I spent there were the longest I’ve gone so far without breaking down into tears at some point. My heart was full of something like joy.

our backyard

our backyard

the view of our house from our backyard

the view of our house from our backyard

It’s hard to be down when surrounded by the delights of a fall weekend in New York with fabulous females (and their fabulous footwear).

boot game on point

boot game on point

The time at the festival itself was, of course, magical. But the best part was being with friends.

in our matching Shameless hats

in our matching Shameless hats

with my gal Heather

with my gal Heather

with my gal Jessie

with my gal Jessie

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Blair+Elspeth (Look at Blair’s handknit cabled dress!)

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Ann+Gwen

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Curly girls in cabled hats

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Are we cold or happy? (answer: both!)

And then, of course, there were the handknits. Most of the people in our house had made a Pi Shawl within the last several months. We arranged them into a pie, because we like puns, and also pies, and also pi.

We called this a Zimmermann of Pi Shawls

We called this a Zimmermann of Pi Shawls

And then we all had to photodocument:
And while I spent the vast majority of my time with women, which I found very nurturing and healing and all things good, one of my favorite things I saw at Rhinebeck was this:

An all-male team in the Spin-to-Shawl competition - they called themselves "Men at Work"

An all-male team in the Spin-to-Shawl competition – they called themselves “Men at Work”

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Another favorite part of the festival was the Breed Barn:

I think she wants to come home with me (or am I projecting?)

I think she wants to come home with me (or am I projecting?)

Jessie made a new friend

Jessie made a new friend

I made a new friend, too!

I made a new friend, too!

It was over far too soon, and then we had to say goodbye.

Farewell at Newark International

Farewell at Newark International

But the memories of my time there have sustained and fortified me. I feel like I spent the weekend being knit back together, at least a little bit, and it was good.

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Knitting, the Internet, and Friendship

Last week, I went rummaging through my knitted accessory basket and found this cowl I made almost five years ago. I hadn’t worn it in awhile, and I was so happy to see it. I made it from yarn given to me by Heather, after a little contest she had run on her blog. I ended up making the same thing from the yarn as she had with the same yarn.

What fun to find this little green cowl, and be reminded of that little bit of blog fun from all those years ago. Heather’s my great pal now, and it all started because of knitting and the internet. It still amazes me that the combination of this ancient art and this relatively new technology can result in actual friendships across the miles.

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Anyway, I felt all warm and fuzzy when I found this cowl, and I felt like I was wearing the warmth of the knitting community with me on a cold, grey day.