Rhinebeck is always amazing, but even moreso for me this year since I’ve spent the past couple of years teaching.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to teach. Love to teach. But when I teach, I manage to miss out on what’s always been my favorite part of the festival: Walking the grounds, in a fiber-filled daze, letting the essence of this community wash over me.

rhinebeck-19

While I spent a fair amount of time in the author’s tent signing books and giving mini-talks and generally enjoying myself meeting wonderful amazing fabulous knitters, I definitely got to experience that essence of the festival this time. It restored my soul, and I’m so very lucky to have gotten the experience.

In addition to that wondrous community immersion, I heard phrases throughout the weekend that really drove things home for me.

“It’s not just that I knit a sweater, it’s that I made clothes.”
“I’ve never had a sweater make me feel this way.”
“You’ve helped me come to a whole new place with my body. Thank you.”

While it’s always incredibly exciting as a designer to see your sweaters “in the wild”, and I was definitely guilty of running excitedly up to (some stranger who thought I was a crazy person) a lovely knitter and gushing over their version of my ‘baby’…

…this year was especially powerful for me because I got to see so many CustomFit sweaters in person. We even had a meet-up, both days, in part to measure people who were interested, but also to get a few great snapshots of the sweaters together. Here’s Saturday’s beta tester group photo, for example:

rhinebeck-3

(Not pictured: The incredible 50+ women who stood in line for ages in the cold to have their measurements taken. Y’all ROCK.) Seeing the sweaters, and meeting the knitters, and telling a whole whack of new people about this thing that perfectly encapsulates my passion about feeling great in our own skins, and Jackie’s passion about diving head-first into making… …well, it was just amazing. Awe-inspiring.

Follow that experience up with catching up with old friends from near and far, and retiring at the end of each day to a house with my dearest buds and talking yarn and sweaters ’till the wee hours?

I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend.

rhinebeck-15

rhinebeck-18

rhinebeck-28

(Yeah, I picked up a whole whack of yarn. For sweaters. You’re shocked, I can tell.)

rhinebeck-27

Every year, at some point during my pre-festival packing frenzy, I ask myself: Do I really need to go this year? I have so much yarn already, I have been away from home so much… …should I really be going on another trip?”

And every year, the answer is, resoundingly: Yes.