The New York Sheep and Wool Festival begins on Saturday and I am feeling that wonderful buzz of anticipation. Officially, this is my eleventh year going to the festival, but I suspect I lost count years ago. I think the first year I attended was 1989, a few months before buying my first loom.
What really matters to me are the changes over the past few years. 2006 was my mother’s last visit to Rhinebeck, a special time together. In 2007, I was fragile and numb, seeing no color, buying only white wool. I think my psyche was wrapped in a thick layer of white wool, protecting me while I healed. Last year, the color came back, and I reached out into the fiber community, meeting new friends Nancy and Donna, and reconnecting with people from the place I lived some eight years ago.
This year’s festival promises to be filled with people. The weather threatens to be cold and wet, but there will be hugs under umbrellas, and the warmth of community.
When I tell people about the festival, I hear myself talking more about the people than the shopping. NYS&W is so much more than barns filled with vendors. It’s a temporary community, a place where everyone shares a passion for yarn. But a little shopping is a good thing, too.