barn burner

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, projects

wow, did we ever have a terrific weekend with the briar rose clan at their yarn in the barn event. i mean you can’t go wrong by combining a holiday weekend, gorgeous yarn, artisan crafts, knitting classes, friends, family, and  . . . FALL.

oh, and maybe a good beer to round things out.

we started off on wednesday evening with a small group supper to kick off the long weekend—i drove up with erica and padraig, who then continued on to nana’s house; this was the baby’s first big outing away form home. edie and debbie had arrived earlier and we enjoyed a quiet evening of knitting, chatting, and relaxing with chris and roger before the big event began.

on thursday we had a small group in for a sweater fitness class—they lucked out with only eight participants to share the room; chris opened the barn to them for an early private showing at lunchtime and everyone went home scheming over a new sweater in delicious briar rose yarn.

it’s easy to see where chris gets all her inspiration from—the area near her home is beautiful and right now, the trees are ablaze with colors that are repeated in the woolens and quilts used throughout her home.

that evening, our friend dawn arrived along with another branch of the briar rose family—chris’s daughter amy, her husband jason, and their adorable girls. amy cooked a delicious meal for all of us, after which we relaxed a bit with our knitting and rested up for the next day.

i’ve been getting lots of knitting done, but most of it is secret for now—i did finish my own small blue project though.

morning arrived sunny and warm; the girls were up bright an early, in the mood to chat us up over breakfast and dolls. they also took turns telling jokes to entertain us while we knit.

i took a walk down to the henhouse before class to check that out. the rest of the family jokes that roger got chickens so he could build them a house and well, he did. not just a house they tell me—it’s a chicken palace.

the house is a solidly built fortress that the hens can sleep in at night, or use when it’s cold. attached to it is a long, screened cabana where they can run for exercise when it’s sunny and warm.

of course, they all ran away from me when i approached, but i knew to be patient and wait; their curiosity would eventually get the best of them.

they held a conference at the end of the cabana to discuss the situation.

they must have decided to send out a reconnaissance mission with their leader (and largest member) at the fore

after strutting back and forth to establish a safety zone at a good distance from the danger object, she advanced

she sniffed and pecked at the screening in front of me, then gave me the chicken eye for a good half minute before finally giving me the nod.

once her approval was established the rest of the birds relaxed and came closer.

but being chickens, most of them forgot what they were about or lost interest fairly quickly.

back in the house, it was time to set up for class—on friday, we had a second session of sweater fitness (it’s a popular class!), this time with more people.

we measured, we worked the numbers, we talked about yarn and knitted fabric, and we learned to make adjustments. the whole idea is to use some simple techniques to make future sweater projects look and fit better.

while we were in class, we could see more friends and vendors arriving in trucks and trailers, with kids and dogs in tow

at lunch, i discovered a small group of artists gathered around the kitchen table, reading stories and creating drawings to go with them.

meanwhile, out in the barn, their parents were setting up and getting ready for shoppers.

when class was over, yarn in the barn was opened to the public and we all ran over to take part in the fun. the barn was packed with shoppers and friends. the scents of mulled cider filled the place and a feeling of celebration was in the air. so many people came a good distance to join us

like janet and karen from shall we knit? in waterloo; karen is gripping fondling a batch of wistful she bought to knit the caïssa sweater. it was so good to see them; we’ve had some fun times together when i’ve visited karen’s shop.

there was a small selection of other vendors; friends that chris has come to know over the years.

roger’s sister had a booth presenting her ceramic buttons, brooches, project bags, and needle cases

cynthia displayed her incredible stash of handmade hats, scarves, mitts, and shawls—such an abundance of handknits and they were much appreciated by the next day, when the weather turned decidedly cold.

jennie the potter was in the house too, with a preview selection of mugs, bowls, and buttons; she’s mostly getting ready for rhinebeck as we speak, but managed a few commemorative mugs for the barn event.

nancy melet makes lovely metal and stone jewelry, delicate and detailed; i loved far too many things in her booth and could not narrow my choices down. it’s not a good idea for me to shop immediately after class, haha; i’m indecisive to the point of frustration from sensory overload. i will definitely be visiting her website in the near future for some christmas shopping.

the men helped set up all day, but stood outside during shopping hours to talk about hunting—probably a good move, haha. they seemed happy, if a bit chilled.

after shopping hours ended we all traipsed back to the house to warm up and share a meal—with somewhere around fifteen bodies to feed, it was decided that pizza was the best solution and soon the place was rocking on its foundations with the noise of kids playing, adults talking over that noise, and all of us laughing and having fun—wonderful.

can you even guess what their favorite toy is?

chris has a basket filled to overflowing with plastic cones in myriad colors that once held undyed yarn from the mill. the cones provide endless hours of entertainment for small people—they need no other toys, once the cone basket is pulled out.

the kids build themselves into a frenzy, creating stacks, towers, walls, and fortresses. then they kick them over and start again; it’s great.

all of a sudden, the house was quiet again, the kids heading for bed and the grownups heading for their separate campers. we girls sat on sofas to knit and chat, catching up on news, sharing knitting progress, and talking about life in general—even though it was our busiest day, we were all rested enough by then to stay up just a little later.

amy and i got out for an early run the next morning—it was great; i just wish we lived closer so we could get together every week. we did make a date for rhinebeck weekend though . . . maybe on saturday evening after the fair is done for the day?

saturday was my short day—an abbreviated version of the twig and leaf project class. i think we were all just  little sad that it ended sooner than later. not that anything was missing per se, just scaled down. the barn event began early that day with groups of shoppers passing our door throughout the morning.

still, we enjoyed our cozy knitting group inside—the day remained cold and windy, with even a little slushy rain for a time, brrr.

after class, the booths were open for another hour and then we all prepared to leave. erica arrived with padraig; they had a wonderful time with nana and papa this weekend while i worked. we bundled ourselves our equipment into the car, had many rounds of last-chance hugs, and promised to meet up in rhinebeck in a couple of weeks.

i stayed in detroit last night but i’m heading home in just a few hours—after buddy and i have had a nice long walk and look-see around the neighborhood.

all in all, a grand success; we are all set to go back again next year.

19 thoughts on “barn burner

  1. What a fantastic few days! I so want to take the sweater fitness class next time you teach it in the UK. Chris’ yarn looks just beautiful. I think I am going to have to treat myself for a special sweater!

  2. Anne, I had a fabulous time at class. As always your teaching was clear, organized and soooo helpful. I’m working on my swatch to check for row gauge, stitch gauge is perfect. I’m so excited to make my custom Blumchen. I came home with yarn for 3 sweaters, Blumchen and 1 Caissa for me and 1 for my DD.
    Thanks again for a fabulous time.

  3. I recently finished up a Sticks and Stones sweater in Briar Rose Nate’s sock yarn that I got at last month’s Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. It is a great pattern and a gorgeous yarn – and the sweater is so nice and comfy.

  4. Since this seems like it might be the closest you ever get to Nebraska, I’ll have to keep it in mind for next year!

  5. Such good times with wonderful people and chickens! LOL – One of these days I’m going to be able to make it to one of these events!

  6. I also had a great time and hope to take more classes with Anne – she’s a great teacher.

    And Chris and her family were extremely gracious letting us taking over part of the house. ;>

    And my DH wants to know – where did you get the New Glarus? Is it sold there in Grand Rapids? I did stop at Meijer’s and got him some Short’s but I didn’t know New Glarus is available in that area.

  7. Oh, I so wish I lived close enough to attend! It looks like it was the perfect weekend event, including (for me anyway) the weather. Thanks for all the pics of the chickens 🙂

  8. Glad to see that you are enjoying some of that great Wisconsin beer. Looks like everyone was having a great time. Are you planning on being in WI in 2013?

  9. What a great weekend! If next year finds me anywhere nearby, I’ll be there.

    Love the chicken pix, and the kids and crayons and cones.

    Which mug is yours, or did you buy both?

  10. It looks like everyone had a great time! I love the Jennie the Potter mugs and especially the Chicken coop!!

  11. So envious! Looks like such a wonderful place and people to share with! You introduce us to the nicest people!

  12. I think you should have some chickens of your own! You could easily keep 3 in a little run in your yard. They’d eat your garden scraps, give you delicious eggs, and wonderful compost for your soil.

    I might be a bit of a chicken-pusher…

  13. Anne, I’m delighted to read that you are planning to be at Rhinebeck. Are you going to be doing anything official – a book signing or a booth or anything like that? As a longtime reader of your blog I so hope to get a chance to say hello.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing your weekend with us. I felt like I was
    there. What a terrific group of talented women and a beautiful place.

  15. Thank you for an eye opening experience! I finally get it now. Did the pattern swatch for the Rene and got gauge both ways on a size five needle. Have a few rows done and can’t wait to have a finished sweater. It’s already very cool here.

    I’m not sure if you realize it – but – the whole gauge is gauge talk didn’t just click for me, it also clicked for others in the room. Still not a big fan of swatching, but it’s growing on me.

    Thanks again!

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