Knitlandia Blog Tour: Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool


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)!

From Knitlandia:

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.

Knitlandia_rhinebeck2 (1)

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.

Knitlandia_rhinebeck4 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.


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.

24 thoughts on “Knitlandia Blog Tour: Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool

  1. I would love to go to Rhinebeck. It is about 5 hrs away from me but doable. Its definitely on my list. I’m planning to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool this year for the first time. Looking forward to it and saving my pennies!

  2. When Clara came to the Sow’s Ear, I was lucky enough to get in her class. What a delightful day that was! All the different fibers were amazing similar and identifiably different at the same time. In a few hours I learned so much and also what a treasure Clara is.

  3. Clara is the kindest, most gracious person that I’ve met on my yarn adventures. Her books should be a staple of every knitter’s library. (Her Claramels are as special as she is. Pure goodness!)

  4. I was introduced to Clara on a PBS series, and was so impressed with her knowledge. I would love to take a class with her. As a transplanted New Yorker, Rhinebeck represents a wonderful reason to go home!

  5. I would love to go to Rhinebeck. It would be awesome to learn from someone as talented as Clara Parkes. She is living the dream, traveling and knitting.

  6. Several friends and I will be living the dream at Rhinebeck this coming fall. We’re working on our Rhinebeck sweaters and planning our trip. It’s going to be epic. Cannot wait!

  7. Rhinebeck isn’t certainly on my “bucket” list of places I yearn to attend and participate in! What a treat it would be to take a class led by Clara!

  8. I would have to say the Knitter’s Review Retreat is a knitting destination I’ve always wanted to go to. The teachers, topics, location, and the “getaway from it all” aspect have always made it feel like the total package.

  9. I’d love to go to TNNA & see what’s going to be available before it’s available. I’d like to see how shop owners make their choices too!

  10. I get all dreamy when I see Rhinebeck pictures and Clara’s prose puts me there with her. I would love to win a copy of this book!

  11. The festivals are amazing (and crowded!) and I never get to see and do everything I had hoped. Clara, though, she’s amazing! She has brought new yarns, new ideas, and delight into my life for all these many years.

  12. I would love to go to Vogue Knitting Live, Chicago. I keep wanting to attend but so far there has always been a schedule conflict with important family events.

  13. I truly appreciate Clara’s exquisite wit! She writes with clarity and humor that anyone (not just knitters) can appreciate. I would really love to attend any big ‘yarny’ event. They all just seem fabulous! Rhinebeck would be the apex, however. 🙂 dktrout on Ravelry

  14. I really want to go to Rhinebeck someday! It’s always right around my birthday, so it somehow seems Meant to Be.
    somesylvie on Ravelry

  15. I would love to get my hands on this book. Clara is so well respected and I’d like to become more acquainted with her work.

  16. I have all of Clara’s books. Love them. I went to Rhinebeck for the first time last fall and hope to go back. It’s wonderful seeing so many fiber lovers.

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