Tucked behind the old hotel on Mill Street in the little Village of Richmond, Illinois is one of the most unique shops in the town. Bright yellow, with a white sheep hanging over the door, customers enter into a world of color, texture, and tactile delight.
Started in 2003, this little shop offers a different fiber experience. First, our hours are not what you would typically expect. We are open evening and weekends only-catering to the working fiber artists. Hours are Tuesday thru Friday 7PM – 9PM, and Saturday and Sunday 10AM – 5 PM September thru April and 11AM-4PM May thru August. (If you haven’t guessed, we also work day jobs.)
Every Sunday is “Open Workshop”, where the coffee is hot and the help is always free. Our focus is on building a community of fiber artists, bringing together people who would otherwise never meet. Their passion for fiber is the common thread that joins them. We simply provide a place to meet and a supply of tools, fibers, and yarns.
We also offer classes-about 38 different classes each year. Classes are taught in the evenings, and cover spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, tatting, rug braiding and toothbrush rug construction, needle and wet felting, as well as project specific classes.
When a community is built, it’s remarkable how far it can extend. Our former students have moved outward from Richmond, and now teach in places like Sweden and Antarctica. Several have started small fiber related businesses of their own, from fiber farms to mills - some have even gone on to design schools and have worked for major textile manufacturers.
Our emphasis on building community creates and atmosphere of welcome, warmth, and relaxation. Winters are spent in front of the shop woodstove working on projects. The tea kettle is on, the coffee pot brewing, and there is usually a pot of soup on Sunday free for the taking.
All of this would not be possible without a varied supply of tools and fibers. We carry several lines of Brown Sheep yarn, and fibers from all over the world. We even carry some locally grown and processed fibers for spinning. Needles, crochet hooks, spinning wheels, and a full line of notions, are also available, as well as a limited supply of patterns and books.
Although we are a small shop in a small town, you can keep up with what’s going on by checking out our web site www.woolwarpandwheel.com and subscribing to our newsletter, published on the web site. Classes, events, and my thoughts are listed there each month. It’s as close as you can come to experiencing the shop without stepping through the door.
You can also visit us at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin and at the spring Fiber Fling in Woodstock, Illinois. More information about these events can be found on our web site. And, if you happen to be in the area, stop in. We’ll have a rocking chair and a cup of coffee ready for you.