Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, which is outside of Mount Horeb, WI (a short and easy drive from Madison), held their Annual Open House this past weekend. I went to it on Sunday afternoon. The place doesn't look like much from the outside, but there are wonderful things inside. They really don't have what would be considered a retail shop, but when you walk in, you're basically standing in an area that is one, although it is seldom used as one. They are open to the public only by appointment throughout the year, and of course, when they hold the Annual Open House. They do attend fiber festivals, and have a website, too, which makes their yarns easily available.
When walking in the front door, as I mentioned, you are in, for all intents and purposes, a yarn shop. :)
There are books of knitting patterns sitting on the table, with chairs for you to make yourself comfortable while you take your time going through each and every one of them.
Knitted samples abound on the walls, showing what individual yarns look like knitted up, as well as showcasing a specific pattern.
There are bins and hooks bursting with "kits" that are available, providing specific patterns along with the yarn to complete the piece.
Many of their yarns are stored "behind the scenes" so pretty much everything you see hanging here are their samples. That takes a little getting used to......it is easy to forget they are a yarn "supplier" and have a large stock of all of their yarns.
It truly was a wonderful experience. The people working were all extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable.
Tours were given of the mill, too, which is a fascinating experience. Seeing fleece turn into wonderful yarns, on such a large scale, compared to one strand at a time on my wheel at home, is mind boggling. Even though Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill seems like a big operation, it is small compared to some of the larger manufacturers, which makes it even more mind boggling! ;)
When I left the mill, after having a wonderfully fulfilling fiber addict experience, I admit I brought some home with me. ;) I bought several knitting patterns for future projects, along with some yarns to knit a couple of them, plus I purchased some fine 100% silk yarn to try weaving a scarf with, too. It is nice to know, or in my case, "be reminded once again", that we have such a fine "LOCAL" resource for beautiful yarns.