Vicky Goble and Penny Lage, owners of Fiber Hearts, hosted a Barbeque Days event at the Brick-a-Brack building on June 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Amy and Travis Fisher, owners of Van's Locker, were out to grill beef hotdogs and hamburgers to sell to the public. The event, which brought many people to Main Street, gave the owners of Fiber Hearts a chance to showcase the handmade fiber products in their shop and to show select llamas and alpacas.
Goble, of Vinton, IA, and Lage, of Gladbrook, IA, became friends because of their animals. Both Goble and Lage raise llamas and alpacas. Penny and her husband Terry raise about 50-60 animals at their farm, named Hum Hum N' Away, for breeding and showing while Goble raises a variety of animals, including sheep and an angora bunny, for fiber. Both women open their farms for groups to visit.
The animals are sheered about once a year and the fiber is sent off to a mill to be made into yarn. Lage raises the animals and Goble does the fiber work. The pair runs the Fiber Hearts business, with a shop in the Brick-a-Brack building. They carry a variety of products including natural and hand dyed alpaca yarn, llama roving, alpaca socks and hand knit items.
At top, Vicky Goble answers questions about the Fiber Hearts products at the shop. Above, a man gets up close and personal with a llama. Below, Goble demonstrates spinning roving into yarn.
"The thing that's truly unique about our shop is that it's homegrown Iowa product," Goble said. "The products that are in our store are right from our farm. We can connect the people with the product they're using, with the animal. Our products have names on them like Sam or Chester which tells them which animal it came from."
Goble explained that wool is the foundation of the industrialization process and the mass population is clothed with wool products. Alpaca wool is known as "the fiber of kings" because only kings were wealthy enough to afford such a lush fiber.
Both alpaca and llama wool are free from lanolin. Most people with allergies to wool are actually allergic to the lanolin in the wool. This makes alpaca and lanolin wool naturally hypo-allergenic because they do not have lanolin. The wool is softer to the touch than sheep wool.
Goble demonstrated spinning yarn at the event, a process that utilizes a spinning wheel to spin roving into yarn. Goble is also planning a "fleece to finish demonstration" at Soiree in the City on July 21 on Main Street. Goble and Lage can send the fiber to a mill to be made into yarn or roving and can also specify if they want it to be dyed, there are numerous possibilities.
"That's part of the fun of the craft. Each person chooses how far they want to go with this. Most people don't go as far as Penny and I did," Goble said. "You can simply buy the yarn and knit from there. You can buy white yarn and do a little dyeing. You can enter wherever your passion takes you."
Those interested are encouraged to visit the Fiber Hearts shop. Goble and Lage are at the shop on Wednesdays between 10-3, but the shop is open during the Brick-a-Brack building's normal business hours. Be sure to check out the other shops in the building and grab a bite to eat at the BrickLynn Caf.