I went for a little drive/adventure today to a town called Big Rock which is a half hour drive (west of Naperville) to a shop called "Esther's Place" - not exactly a yarn store, but they do have yarn.
It is a very unique shop with a very neat idea. A group of families created a Co-Op got a grant from the USDA and created an IL "Animal Fiber" Co-op. They raise all different breeds of sheep (I learned about almost 10 of these breeds today) along with Rabbit fiber (Angora, Fuzzy Lops), some Alpaca and they even had this EXTREMELY lucious Buffalo fiber.
The mission is to increase education about ILLINOIS grown animal fiber and how it is "manufactured" from the raising of the animal, to shearing, taking from raw fiber to roving, then to spinning and finally used in a variety of creative disciplines (dry and wet felting, knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc..)
I ventured to this store as I saw on their website that they have spinning classes and figured that they would know of someone to spin the wonderful Alpaca I received thru the "Fight The Battle Auction".
Well, after talking for over 2 hours with Donna (owner) and her wonderfully creative and talented daughter, Natasha, it looks like this fall I will be taking a spinning class! They offer a 6 week course on spinning whereby you go once a week and then included in the class fee is the oppportunity to take home the spinning wheel to practice and do more spinning at home - how cool is that?
They also offer loom weaving and the roving used as well as fabric is out of this world!
The shop is located in an old home with the first floor housing all the fiber and classrooms and the second floor is set up for a bed and breakfast - 3 bedrooms ALL decorated with gorgeous antiques and beautiful looms and spinning wheels. Two bathrooms also populate the upstairs. I could definitely see a group of yarn/fiber enthusiasts sneaking away from the world for a weekend and "fibering" non-stop!
The absolutely scrumptious roving/yarn, books, knowledge, wonderfully helpful folks definitely makes this a "MUST SEE" for anyone in or around the Chicagoland area - even if you're just visiting.
They were part of the Fiber Festival at Catigny as well as the Fiber Fetival in Crystal Lake earlier this summer.
I'm going to take a day (4 to 6 hours) according to their brochure and do a loom weave project of like a bath mat or such - I'm quite inspired at the moment (gee, can you tell).
Here's a link to their website with all their information: http://www.esthersplacefibers.com/
It was an awesome afternoon and I'm so glad I went!