Back before every yarn available was shown in galleries of finished projects on Ravelry, Clara Parkes captivated the yarn world with her Knitters Review newsletter. She dared to try swatching, soaking and unraveling every kind of yarn available, and every week I looked forward to her scientific and fearless exploration.
As fellow knitting teachers, Amy and Clara go way back, and I was lucky enough to meet her just after her first big book, the Knitter’s Book of Yarn, came out. We’ve watched and cheered every one of her publications and have had the happiness of seeing Clara at knitting events as often as possible (and even getting lucky enough to try her homemade Claramel treats).
From a yarn expert and technician, Clara has grown and expanded her writing with her last two books, letting us experience the world through the lens of her own experiences and sparkling wit.The Yarn Whisperer lets us in on her life in knitting, and Knitlandia continues the journey with tales of her travels behind the scenes to every notable knitting destination.
We reviewed Clara’s delightful book on our Podcast.
It’s not just us anymore: even the Washington Post is starting to get Clara’s genius: “A life entwined in yarn might mystify those who don’t knit, but anyone versed in the language of skeins and cables will sigh with envy over Clara Parkes’s new memoir, “Knitlandia.”
Clara allowed us to share an excerpt of her book with you: the section on east-coast fall fiber mecca RHINEBECK (all text and photos below belong to Clara Parkes)!
AUTUMN ON THE HUDSON: Rhinebeck, New York
NESTLED ON THE EASTERN BANKS of the Hudson River, just two hours north of Manhattan by train, is the picket-fenced village of Rhinebeck. It has all the trappings of the weekend getaway: the artisanal bread shop, reliable Thai food, a pricey French bistro, a high-end liquor and wine store, and, to preserve an illusion of small-town America, a diner with vinyl-upholstered booths and brusque waitresses.
In the fall, Rhinebeck becomes a Thornton Wilder vision of bucolic small-town nostalgia. Between the foliage and the carved pumpkins on porches, you can’t help checking the local real estate ads and wondering what it would be like to live here.
I think this every third weekend in October when I turn off the Taconic State Parkway and wind my way into town for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.
So legendary is this show, it has attained Madonna or Cher status in the knitting world. It is known by just one word: Rhinebeck. Say that word to almost any knitter and you’ll get a nod.
Knitters queueing up just to get into the big show!-js
Scored: apple cider and donut at the event.-js
Wherever Clara goes, we want to go with her! Amy and I both highly recommend taking a trip to Knitlandia as soon as you possibly can.
BONUS: KNITLANDIA GIVEAWAY!
But wait, one lucky reader will get their very own copy of Knitlandia, so they can giggle, snort and generally mystify family members, friends or coffee shop patrons nearby. Please leave a comment below telling us either how much you love Clara and why OR which knitting destination (Rhinebeck, Interweave, Stitches, Vogue, TNNA, etc) you would most like to visit. We’ll pick a winner this Thursday, March 3rd.
Hear more about this memoir during the Knitlandia blog tour!
Feb 22 – Knit and Tonic
Feb 24 – My Sister’s Knitter
Feb 26 – Mary Jane Muckelstone
Feb 29 – Knit Circus
March 2 – Yarniacs
March 4 – Leethal
March 7 – Tin Can Knits
March 17 – Marly Bird
ETA: The winner has been chosen! The Random Number Generator picked Taine and she has been notified. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments.