I forgot to mention yesterday how beautiful and peaceful Fort Atkinson is. The detour took us through a lot of farmland and it seemed like there wouldn’t be a place for a Best Western Courtyard anywhere… just how much farther do we have to go? Then all of the sudden the town appeared, seemingly plopped down into the green expanse. As we drove into town, we saw a cute little cottage inside the town’s cemetery, and made a mental note to stop back for some pics.
We also saw a lot of signs pointing out directions for places one should check out, like the Fireside Theatre, which was right next to our digs. That made finding the hotel easier (in theory) but we still managed to get a little turned around. Back on track, we noticed the signs for the Dairy Shrine?!? Whaaaa???? I imagined that they meant Dairy Shriner and told Chaachi all about how he would look in his fez and a "Got Milk?" milk mustache.
So Saturday morning we went downstairs for the continental breakfast. Lots of people around. People that look like they are into things fibery. For me that means women that tend to be on the larger size (like me) or those kind of hippy/frumpy (like me) wearing sensible shoes or birks (like me) with long hair (not like me anymore). Makeup optional. Friendly and kind. All good things. There were a lot of those types there. I struck up a conversation with a gal that had a very beautiful art bead strung on a silver chain. We decided that the fella that made her bead was the same artist as one of my most precious art beads. I have to get mine on a chain because hers looked really nice that way.
Anyway, after having juice and some coffee cake we headed out for the County Store section of the fest. I had an appointment to try out one of the Babe’s Spinning Wheels. Here is a pic of Nels leading the group, I am the on on the far right.
He was a good teacher. I picked up some spinning techniques. The wheel isn’t really that bad – kind of uncomfortable because of the height of the pedal, but it spun just fine.
After that it was time to head for the 2nd building. This one wasn’t just full of fibery stuff. Okay, so kind of because some of it was about sheep farming. The rest of the good stuff was, well, good! I decided that today (Saturday) was the day to buy fiber.
I remembered that there was some cotton from Spindles & Skeins that looked interesting and was a good price – got that. Also some yummy Alpaca from Rich-Nes Alpacas got that. Then wandered around and found big buckets of Alpaca from Blue Hills Alpacas. Super yummy stuff. Of course my favorite was the cria type (an Alpaca’s first coat) = more expensive. I decided on 10 oz. and was getting ready to pay. Chaachi stepped in and said "birthday present!" Thanks!!! Now I wish I had taken more *hehehe*. This fiber is really dark brown from Ellie and Nancy (the owner) showed me some beautiful yarn spun from Ellie’s 2nd coat. Very shiny and almost black. I can hardly wait to spin this, but I will wait a while until my technique is better. I would love to spin this fine for a shawl.
We saw some finished items, some machine knit from Alpaca, like these great ruanas. Chaachi likes capes and ponchos and I guess now ruanas too because she tried this one on and really liked it. She didn’t buy one so I guess that is a hint for me to make her one.
The next item in the agenda was to try out some fancy wheels. So I did! This one from Winsome Timbers is Fiona – 22" Lennox Castle Spinning Wheel.
It was spun smooth as silk and the tall wheel is very relaxing and hypnotic. Next I tried the Jensen wheels from Apple Hollow Farm
Very nice. I like the darker wood too – more furniture-like and kind of screams EXPENSIVE doesn’t it?
These 3 are definitely on my dream list. Of course, I would need more room=larger house too, but this is a dream, right?
Back to reality. I wanted to check out the herding dogs, so that is what I did.
Also, the quilts:
So everything accomplished it was time to go hunt out the illusive in MN but almost everywhere in WI, Rocky Rococo’s Pizza. More about day 2 tomorrow.