If you are in the fiber arts world, yarn festivals (also known as fiber festivals or sheep & wool festivals) are like Comic Con for knitters. They are a cornucopia of yarn, spinning fiber, tools, classes, and more. Anything fiber related you are sure to find! Most regions have at least one festival, but there are some large events that are on my Yarn Bucket list.
Number one on the list is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY. This festival is held each October. Upstate New York in the Fall? Surrounded by cozy yarn and cute sheep? This is what a Fall lover's dream is made of. This festival also brings in big names in the fiber world. Pattern designers create Rhinebeck sweater patterns. There are competitions, book signings, and used equipment auctions. One day soon you will see me wandering around the grounds with a look of pure bliss on my face.
Next on the list, also in New York, is Vogue Knitting Live! Held in NYC each year, this is a huge gathering for knitwear designers. The fashion show is one of the biggest in the fiber artist world. This is also a great place to take classes from some of the premiere fiber artists. There is normally a bustling marketplace where you can find every type of yarn and supply you can imagine, but COVID concerns have removed the marketplace for 2022.
Stitches usually has several events around the country each year, but Stitches West is one of the largest. Typically held in California (though the location does change) this is one of the large events on the West Coast. This includes 4 days of classes plus a bustling market and tons of exhibitions. I'm sad to say that I have never been to the West coast, so I am excited to visit this festival and explore the fiber scene on the other coast!
Honorable mention is the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. This has not been held since 2019 and I am hopeful that on the other side of COVID it will be back. Much like NY Sheep and Wool, having a fiber festival in Scotland sounds like a dream come true. This used to be a big event for local shop owners to find new lines to carry, plus enjoy classes and exhibitions. My fingers and toes are crossed this will be back in 2023!
Some honorable mentions for shows around the Mid-Atlantic that I have not explored yet. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is the first weekend in May in West Friendship, MD. Both the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival and the Montpelier Sheep Dog Trials are in the Fall.
What is your favorite yarn event? Leave a comment and let me know. Maybe I will see you there!