The Dancing Lamb
Raw wool sits ready to be spun into yarn.
The Dancing Lamb, a new yarn and fiber shop in Evansville, Wis., is located in a farmhouse-style Victorian house on a mostly residential block of Main Street. Set among other historic homes from the period, shoppers may feel as if they're no longer in this century.
In the store, locally sourced yarns, fleece and fibers are displayed in simple baskets. A room is devoted to spinning wheels, many from the 19th century. And customers are welcome to sip tea from antique teacups as they peruse the wares.
"I somehow got born in the wrong century," says Holin Kennen, owner of the Dancing Lamb. "Everything I love that feels natural to me belongs 100 years ago."
Kennen and her wife, Harvest Brown, a weaver and fifth-grade teacher, are longtime advocates of the locavore movement and a return to sustainable goods.
"I realized that Wisconsin fiber producers weren't getting the attention they deserved from spinners, knitters and weavers," says Kennen. "I wanted to change that and create a venue that would focus on local fibers and craftspeople." The former benefits specialist and paralegal opened the Dancing Lamb this fall.
Every skein in the shop is from an all-natural, locally sourced plant fiber, including flax, banana and hemp, or an animal fiber. Alpaca fibers are sourced from Token Creek Alpacas, mohair hails from Oregon's Tuckaway Farm, and the Bluefaced Leicester wool comes from Rainbow Fleece Farm of New Glarus.
Shoppers are also likely to meet the couple's two resident corgis, Bear and Juju.
Brown, a silent partner in the business (or as she calls herself, the "mumbling partner"), says Kennen "is very happy to be [working at] home and to be doing what she does."
This year has been transformative for both Kennen and Brown, who, after a 28-year engagement, were finally married on June 10, just days after a federal judge overturned Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban. "It was the first time in my career that I could tell my students that this was not just my best friend," says Brown.
The shop is friendly to the experienced fiber artist and novice alike, with beginner and advanced classes; it's also available as a site for informal knitting gatherings. Current classes range from knitting hats and scarves, to carding basics (a precursor to spinning your own yarn) and color blending, another more advanced spinning class.
The shop will hold a February "Knit Along with Jane Austen" event in which knitters will create a tea cozy with yarn made in Mount Horeb while watching the movie Pride and Prejudice.
Evansville, known for its well-preserved historic architecture
The Dancing Lamb
217 W. Main St., Evansville,
10 am-8 pm Mon.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat.;
10 am-9 pm Thurs.; noon-6 pm Sun.