The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, has come and gone for another year. Once again, my sister Betsey and I took the bus from WEBS (so convenient!), and once again, we had a great time.
Since the festival got its start in 1980 as a small sheep sale, I thought I'd let the sheep be the stars of my Rhinebeck post. Already I miss the sweet smell of hay and the constant "baaaas."
A new feature at the fair this year was a series of Shepherds Talks on particular breeds. We went to the one on Leicester Longwools given by the folks at Maple Frost Farm in Langdon, New Hampshire. This beauty was a joy to see and to pet:
Did you know Leicester Longwools were at one point extinct in this country? Thanks to the efforts of Colonial Williamsburg they have been reestablished, but are considered a conservation breed as there are only 500 or so of them. If you'd like to see more Leicester Longwools, check out the Maple Frost Farm sheep bios.
It wouldn't be Rhinebeck without shopping, of course. I was excited to get quite a bit of Cormo from Barbara Parry's Foxfire Fiber ... more of the same beautiful Cormo that I purchased last May at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair. Here's how my first batch of spindle spun and plied Cormo looks after dyeing with hickory nuts:
And it wouldn't be Rhinebeck without lots of sweaters—so many to see everywhere you look! I finished mine in time to wear it ... now, fingers crossed I will finish up the pattern writing and have it ready soon.