Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Weekend

Well, and a work weekend, and church block party weekend, and, and…

But I took off after work yesterday and drove most of the way across the state to revel in fibery fashion — and, at least as important, make it to a Ravelry meet-up/afterparty instigated by Beth of Chocolate Sheep!

When I made it to Jefferson County Fair Park, despite map disappearance and still-closed highways (now under construction) after the early summer flooding, here is what greeted my eyes in the vendors’ area:

Yarn and fleece as far as the eye could see, pretty much!

I started wandering, and buying a little here, a little there.  In so doing, I ran into one of my daughters’ preschool teachers — Hi, Miss Donna!  She taught music and also was responsible for a popular excursion to her farm.  That was a pleasant surprise.  Next, one of my newfound friends from BMFA Sock Camp saw my bag — saw my button — saw me! (I was engrossed in yarn…)  So hugs ensued.  Unfortunately, she was on her way back to Illinois, and I had just gotten to the festival.  She mentioned in passing they had just been back to Briar Rose Fibers for the third time.

I’d heard of Briar Rose, but had never seen this amazing handpainted yarn in person.  There is nothing like being able to pet the yarn, and to see the deep, saturated colors.  When I finally worked my way around to the Briar Rose booth, I felt like I had come home.  Now I know why Carla was there three times!

The colors don’t come across in this photo.  Maybe I’ll get a decent picture of the several skeins of Briar Rose yarn that followed me home…. (and by the way, Carla, most of it was blue shades, the dyer even remarked on it.  You’re contagious!)  One (non-blue) skein is earmarked for a reknit of the Coulee Shawl I designed, so that I can publish an updated version of the pattern on Ravelry.

The last surprise encounter was that, rounding a corner, there was one of my (sort of local) LYS! Kathryn from Ewetopia Fiber Shop in Viroqua was there, with her mother who assists her in the shop, with what seemed like half her shop’s wares, as well as her gorgeous knitted wedding dress for her upcoming fall wedding.  She told me that she bought a Blue Faced Leicester ram that morning — cool!  She it was who showed me how to spin on WWKIP Day, and I had not asked her then what kind of wool it was I was spinning for my first and only time.  Now I know, because I remembered to ask.  It’s Border Leicester.

So, anyway, I also bought a little yarn here, a bit there, all for specific projects (boy, I have all sorts of holiday presents in my head, but I have a few things I HAVE to finish first!).  And some great leather handles for knit/felted bags.  And some Addi’s in a size I didn’t have for a design project I’ve been working on (with needles I don’t care for, currently).

Above and below, Creatively Dyed Yarn, huge assortment of different kinds of yarn (and different dye techniques and colors), and a door prize donor for the afterparty!

(Color is not so good on this photo, it was incredibly gorgeous in person.)

I never made it out of the vendor area, really, so didn’t see the sheep and goats, but there were a few fiber animals where I was:

and someone to herd them.

There was so much lovely unspun fiber, that it made me wistful about spinning, though I am resisting now because I have no time for another hobby, and too much yarn anyway.  But there were plenty of spinners, including this less common sight:

Yes, of course there are male spinners, but I’ve never seen a young man spinning.  In public.  Cool.

Lastly, there IS a magazine for everyone.

Not having any Backyard Poultry, I made it fairly briskly around the vendors at the last, as it was time to head east to help set up for the afterparty, dodging closed highways and navigating by the seat of my pants.  But I made it!

(I’m not a sponsor, though I donated door prizes, just copied the poster that Brandy made.  Don’t you love the sheep in party hats?)

I paused to admire the Saturday Sky over Rome (unincorporated, though it just celebrated its sesquicentennial), Wisconsin.

Then to the afterparty, where the Spinners soon set up.

In the foreground is Angie from Purling Oaks (a virtual place, if you haven’t been there — check it out!)  We hadn’t met, but have Nora in common, who had really hoped to come but had a gazillion things going on even without WI S&W.

And there were Spindlers spinning too:

These two were doing very fun-looking things with silk hankies then with spindles.

Before the party, Beth and Jen of Tua Bella were doing last minute preparations in the kitchen:

Beth finally got a chance to sit down later.

(She’s having fun, even though I caught her not looking like it.)

Distributing door prizes and being the Party Minion (and a great emcee) was the inimitable Brandy, Cheesehead with Sticks.

It was so much fun to put a face to these and other Wisconsin Ravelers and bloggers.  We had a great time!  I won roving as a door prize, which is beautiful — ‘cept I don’t spin, of course.  (I haven’t taken pictures of my acquisitions yet, so you’ll just have to imagine pretty reds and purples.)

After a couple unscheduled detours above and beyond the closed-highway detours, on my way to my hotel in yet another city I’ve never been to in this part of Wisconsin, I finally made it to a waiting bed and collapsed.

Because I’d seen the people I wanted to see, and certainly bought, um, everything and more that I’d planned to buy, I decided not to run the construction gauntlet again to go back to the festival, and instead headed straight home this morning, since my help would be useful at the church block party.  But before I left, I took a picture of a yellow flower, unknown to me, growing wild in the field by the hotel.  So I’ll share it with you, a sunny flower on a Sunday morning.

Hope your weekend was — perhaps not so busy, but at least enjoyable!

10 responses to “Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Weekend

  1. I decided not to make the drive up, and now I wish I had! Isn’t Briar Rose the best? And Chris, the owner, is just so great!

  2. Oh, man. I can’t believe I had to miss all that!! I was certainly busy enough, but I bet I could have thrown a rock from the soccer game Saturday and hit Jefferson county. Darn it!!!!

  3. So glad you liked Briar Rose- my favorite part was when I was asking about a certain pattern and she said ” You don’t have that one” as if I have bought EVERY thing she had!

  4. My goodness — I don’t think I could handle the excitement of a fiber festival! Just looking at your photos made me swoony.

  5. What a fun, if exhausting, weekend! The flower is Evening Primrose, perhaps?

    Astrid

  6. What fun! Chris and I briefly discussed making the trip out there, but decided against it.

  7. Ack – I didn’t even notice the photo snap! It was great to meet you! Thanks for posting about the festival – I feel less pressure to do so now – maybe I’ll just be lazy and link from my blog to yours – haha.

  8. Pingback: Re-entry « Cheesehead with Sticks

  9. Oh, I wish I could have gone, too! Angie of Purling Oaks (see, you two have more in common than you thought) invited me when we met up in June? July? whenever it was. But I am kinda crazy busy now so it couldn’t happen.

    Great photos, though — I feel almost like I was there (just didn’t buy anything)…

  10. I *thought* that looked like Diane! (Of Creatively Dyed Yarn.) I adore her! Glad you got to meet her!

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