Wild Wool and Wicked Weed: Unwinding in Asheville

The vibrant hand-dyed skeins by Miss Babbs drew lots of admiring customers.

No, even though I did go to artsy, alternative Asheville this past Saturday, I haven't turned into a hippie chick.  Wicked Weed isn't an illicit substance, but rather, a restaurant where a friend and I ate, after spending several pleasurable hours at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Fletcher, NC. The restaurant and brewery gets its name from the following statement attributed to Henry VIII: "Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed."  Our relaxed meal there, amidst an eclectic crowd, was a festive end to our day at SAFF, where we perused what seemed like acres of yarn, fiber, and tools for spinning, weaving, and knitting.

SAFF and Asheville provided a perfect respite for me and my companion, as we are both school teachers in a time and a place where there seems to be a perfect storm blowing through public education, especially in the state of North Carolina.  I won't go into the boring details here.  Suffice it to say, the escape from weekend chores and obligations (both home- and school-related) was sorely needed, and as we drove through the rolling foothills towards our destination, the burdens of the week began to subside.    

 Here, Andrea enjoys a relaxing moment communing with an
English angora rabbit.  It took lots of self-restraint not to take this
bunny home with me. 

This llama's neck was so silky soft.  

At SAFF we were able to handle soft angora rabbits, luxurious llama, alpaca, and bison yarns and fleece, and talk with vendors and some Cottage Yarn regulars whom I saw browsing the stalls.  As I am about to embark on another period of "yarn fasting," I tried not to walk out of the festival in typical fashion--weighted down with bundles and bags and strange contraptions like some pack animal.  I bought a cone of sport weight yarn for a reasonable $10.00, a skein of silk sari yarn, a couple of bars of aromatic soap from the owner of Appalachian Naturals--he's the individual who recommended the Wicked Weed restaurant--and also purchased a pair of factory-made alpaca socks to give as a Christmas present and thought I'd escaped rather economically.  But on the way out of the smaller building of vendor stalls, a bag of orange-rust wool batting caught my eye, and I couldn't resist.  I started to spin it up that same night after I'd arrived home.  

Every time I attend SAFF I come home with a bag of fluff from
Zeilinger Wool Company.  

Pretty fiber makes pretty yarn.  

This cone contains over 1,000 yards.  

This soap would make a great present for someone, but I couldn't resist temptation.  I've already opened one bar to use myself.  Click here to go to the company's website.

Walter Turpening crafts custom-made benches and chairs for weavers, spinners,
and knitters.  Using detailed measurements of the individual, each piece is made to fit.
Someday I will purchase one of his armless rockers, made especially for knitters. 

Aside from a few moments fraught with indecision where I struggled with whether or not it was prudent to purchase an English angora rabbit or if the winsome brown lamb for sale would ride comfortably to Indian Trail in a Jetta and whether or not my sister- and brother-in-law (who have lots of acreage) would appreciate this Christmas present, the day was stress free.  Exploring SAFF, eating at the Wicked Weed, and savoring an Apple Cider Chai tea from a quirky business operated out of a double-decker bus before heading home made for a change of place and pace for two tired teachers. 

Here I am at Double D's Coffee and Desserts, waiting for my spicy cider.


  1. What a lovely weekend trip! A shame you didn't succumb to the English angora rabbit though - he/ she looks gorgeous! Hope you got my email from yesterday - a huge thank you! Parcel is absolutely super! Hope to talk soon - see email! E xx


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