...and Wisconsin, where I am through Wednesday. Yep, managed to find a yarn shop less than 24 hours after my arrival, and within 2 miles of where I'm taking a training class. And what a great little shop it is. A really nice selection of yarns, a Ladybug spinning wheel that anyone can try out, a little bit of fiber and even some spindles. I resisted the yarn, but yes I did add another spindle to my collection - a 1.1 oz Schacht hi-lo, which I plan to use as a high whorl only (but it's always nice to have options).
The best part about this shop, I think, is that the owner was smart enough to realize that knitters really do love to eat and drink while they knit, and with that knowledge, she devoted half the shop to selling lovely coffee drinks and sandwiches, including a warm seating area where one can sit and knit and/or eat & drink. The shop stays open until 8:30 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, (another smart move), and I believe the owner said that every other Friday they have a wild, late-evening knit night until 11 pm. That's my kind of yarn shop! The owner, (whose name I failed to catch) was incredibly friendly and welcoming. I've got to be back here in the Madison area twice more over the next two months, so I think I'll be paying her shop another visit. There's also one or two other yarn shops in the Madison area; perhaps I'll try to visit the one near my hotel tomorrow.
Speaking of hotel, here's the view out my window this morning:
that's my rental car there, in the middle
The weather last night and this morning was nothing short of wretched, especially in comparison to the 60-degree temps I left on Sunday. Last night there was pouring rain (an odd "warm" spell for them with temps in the high 30's/low 40's), and rolling fog that made driving the very rural roads from the airport to the hotel a white-knuckled joyless joyride. At some point overnight, the rain turned to snow, and there was a new 2" of the white stuff coating everything by the time I scraped the car before heading to the training site. You know it's a bad sign when the hotel concierge, a Wisconsin native, says as you're walking out the front door, "you're going out in this?".... So, yes, another white-knuckled icy-road experience this morning, but I made it without harming myself, anyone else, or the rental car. My class instructor told us that this has been the worst Wisconsin winter on record - more snow than they've ever measured before. So, I guess I should be grateful that it wasn't -11 degrees like I heard it was a few weeks ago.
But these northerners are nothing if not efficient, and by this afternoon the roads were salted & scraped, clean and dry, with the help of some late day sunlight, so the driving back to the hotel was easy. High temperature today was about 25, which is surprisingly tolerable if one is wearing rabbit-lined leather gloves and the wind isn't blowing. I've always said that I like the cold, and winter, and snow, and that hasn't changed. In fact, when introducing ourselves today we had to share our favorite winter get-away; I shared that I'd never been this far north in winter, and was loving it, despite the horrible driving conditions. I believe tomorrow (Tuesday) should be cold and clear; Wednesday is supposed to see more precipitation.
-It's very pretty here, if you like rural, snow-covered pastoral scenery, and I really do. There are farms and barns and silos everywhere, and clapboard houses rule the day -- nary a brick rancher to be seen anywhere. The very modern architecture of the complex where I'm training is quite a departure from the surrounding scenery -- I will try to get a photo or two of it tomorrow. But it stands in stark contrast to the surrounding countryside. Case in point -- that first photo up top was taken from my classroom window.
On one of my next trips up here, I may have to take a little road trip to visit Susan's Fiber Shop, just an hour or so away, in Columbus, WI. I hear nothing but great things, and was quite amazed at her offerings at SAFF last year. It would be fun to see her shop in person.
Well, it's been a full day, and I must say goodnight.
Until tomorrow, I wish you well!