Saturday, November 13, 2010

Before and after and now

On our first day in Wisconsin, we decided not to let the previous day's travel stop us doing things, so we headed out to one of the iconic fibre stores we had known of for years through the SOAR market.

(However, the aformentioned tiredness did lead to me forgetting to take my camera, so no photos yet!)

We were awake early, of course; had breakfast, hooked up with a friend from the UK and headed out to The Fold
We have known Toni Neill, the owner, for pretty much as long as we have been going to SOAR, and it was lovely to actually get to see the treasure house that is her store. She was lending us wheels for the week; but we spent a very long time, fortified with cups of tea, browsing and....purchasing. A little yarn, a few spindles - I spent ages trying them - and some super fibres, most notably some gorgeous black baby llama, some of which I have been spindle spinning, and some silvery grey/blue
merino and silk.

Eventually, hunger drove us away, and in the next little town along we stumbled upon a delightful french-style bistro-creperie, crepes from whence fortified us for a return to Lake Lawn and a restorative nap before having a slightly rowdy dinner with a multi-national group of friends.

That was the first visit we made; our last (yes, I know, weird running order) was to another totally iconic store, Susan's Fiber Shop.

Susan's booth at the market is always instantly recognisable by its size, the vast range of goodies, and Susan at the centre of things in a state of perpetual motion, multi-tasking to the ult. 'zactly the same at the store! She simultaneously showed spinning wheels to a potential purchaser; helped someone out with a recalcitrant wheel whilst at the same time giving her an impromptu spinning lesson; answered several telephone calls; and talked to us. Eventually, she even took us to meet her Teeswater sheep in the paddock just outside. Way cool!

See what I mean? (And yes, we did buy something....)

About a third of the store....

And, the Teeswaters.

We had made a couple of other visits - and I'll leave the very best until last. But another goodie was a visit to Madison to have lunch with Deb Menz, and Sara Lamb who were waiting to go teach another workshop the following weekend. Not only did we get a great lunch out of them, but we also had a studio tour. Now, normally I would not say that I had a jealous bone in my body. Normally. But I am human, believe it or not, and I own to major, major envy of Deb's studio. The entire ground floor of a house. Almost as much space as we live in. She does know how lucky she is, so I forgive her..........

How a studio should be - full of inspirations, equipment, colour - and finished pieces, of which I also have photos but they need cropping. Maybe later.

I was alone in the fibre store area for a while.....I resisted temptation, wasn't that exemplary of me?

The last visit to describe was the first we made immediately post-SOAR. We drove across to Minneapolis-St Paul to visit a cousin of mine. The younger brother of the cousin closest to me in age and with whom I had spent a lot of time at one stage, although not so much now, as she moved to Thailand!

Anyway, I knew he had an American family, and it seemd too good an opportunity to miss to catch up, so we went.

I am so glad we did. I only wish we had arranged things differently so we could have stayed longer, but there, we didn't, so we will just have to go again. We had such a warm welcome from the entire family, including the dog and cat; were plunged into an enthusiastic round of Halloween activities; fed the most delicious brie and apple soup; and swapped family stories for way too long.

Unfortunatly, I only took a couple of photos, so this is a nice one of my cousin's wife, but you can't really see Zachary as he is busy being a skeleton!

And this is Andrew jr, as a rather too giggly, friendly alligator.

Andrew jr loves, just loves having visitors to stay, and (fortunately we were warned) rushes in to see them very early in the morning. We were awakened by several more enthusiastic "trick or treat" happenings before I suggested that we had sufficient candy for seven am; whereupon it went quiet for all of three minutes before the door opened again....there was a pause...and a small bouncy dog was encouraged onto our bed. Good job we like animals. Actually, it was heaps of fun, I loved being treated as family - but then, I suppose we were!

I need to stop - get supper and so on. There is knitting to do, fresh on the needles (startitis creeping in again.)

More later......

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