top of page

Revisiting Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival - Creative Boost

It feels just like yesterday when four fiber friends left Chicago, Illinois for a 3-day fibery road trip in Jefferson, Wisconsin to experience all the sheepy things—ALL the sheepy and yarnie things! Even if you are not a spinner of yarn, the festival is wonderful for people who enjoy the world of textiles. If you like learning about the wool industry, the festival holds many educational events including sheep shows, fleece judging and grading, sheep shearing demonstrations, hall of sheep breeds (over 60 different breeds in Wisconsin alone), and so much more.

If you are a fiber and yarn enthusiast, there are many ways to get your creative juices flowing. The marketplace is always fun to navigate and buy your favorite yarns, fibers, dyes, processing tools, needles, hooks, yarn kits, leathers, silk, soaps, finished items, the listing is endless. If it is fiber-related, chances are it would be there! Hours can fly by when at the marketplace and that's what happened to me last year. I pretty much lived at the marketplace, but after learning there were so many classes available I had a lot of regret for missing the opportunity to take a class. Almost twelve months later and a promise to myself that I would take the experience much further if it presented itself again, it was WSWF time!

Out of complete excitement, I decided to take up a class (or 3!) this year. The class offerings were wonderful. The instructors were well known from Jillian Moreno, Henry and Roy Clemes, Amy Tyler, Kate Larson, Melissa Leapman, Nancy Shroyer to name a few. The lineup was very impressive. I always encourage people to take classes because it is a nice way to get your hands on a new technique and get a little bit of guidance. The other important thing is to register for classes early. Some classes such as the Saori weaving classes are filled once online registration opens (months in advance).

Without going into too much detail about each class, here's a sneak peak of my class lineup and a few photos representing what I took away from it. Here is my class lineup:

Day One

Tweed: Blend and Spin with Emily Wohlscheid

Twist and Ply: The Difference Between Ply and Twist Direction Make to Your Knitting with Jillian Moreno

Day Two

All Day Class How to Select Color Palettes with Nancy Shroyer

Feedback: I will say I enjoyed all the classes I had taken. I received a HUGE creative boost just being around the instructors and being able to try my hand at some things I hadn't considered before. My only complaint, which had little to do with the instructor, was the proximity of the class spaces. Some other classes were a little louder due to the type of class it was. So, it became a tad bit difficult to hear the instructor at times. I believe each instructor was attentive to the students but for the most part stayed on track with the description of the class and kept everyone intrigued.

Saturday was the longer day with an all-day class on color! A very valuable class but after two days of instruction because I needed a breather. Later that evening, my three fiber buddies and I enjoyed a Lamb Dinner sponsored by the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative.

It was a lovely setup and the food was pretty good. In the same building, I tried Sheep ice cream for the first time (it was good and yes—it is a THING!). I strolled around the silent auction and the used equipment and shepherd's auction. ((Yes, more money to be spent!)) However, I did not see anything I wanted to bid on or have to ship back to Illinois.

That is, before I saw the fleece auction taking place! We were planning to go back to our hotels but then decided to watch the awesome Mrs. Holin Kennen judging an entire room full of fleeces. She is a professional judge, and I had the pleasure to take a class with her (on choosing the right fleece for a project) at my local spinning guild in Illinois. Holin is a VERY knowledgeable woman. She knows how to judge a fleece and pays so much attention to detail. My wonderful friends and I watched her judge the fleeces as long as we physically could (we were so tired!). We placed bids on fleeces both Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

After a really busy Friday and Saturday, it was nice to return to the fairgrounds on Sunday. I pretty much reserved THE ENTIRE day for marketplace browsing and shopping and to relax. I failed to mention that I entered a skein in the competition to see if I could place this year. I won a ribbon. I got a second place ribbon! I was only 2 points away from first and got 5 points deducted because the yarn was a commercial combed top, not processed by me. Now I know for the next time! I received a certificate, ribbon, and some cash. Check it out:

By Sunday evening, the fleeces were walking us out of the festival. If only we could teach them how to drive! I scored a nice 11 lb Romney fleece for $15. I split the fleece with my friend, Emonie. We also received a free fleece (East Fresian) while we were heading out!

Back on the road we went and I took the creative boosts with me. I am STILL energized and inspired almost a month later. :)

Now it is your turn, Lovelies!

Handspinner Question: What are your favorite fiber festivals or local events to attend?

Knitter/Crocheter Question: If you could take a class (or 3!) to enhance your skill level, what class would that be?

General Question: What activities help you to stay out of a rut and keep your creative juices flowing?

23 views0 comments


bottom of page