Keynote Speaker; Show and Share

Keynote Speaker 2024

Alethea Kenney

A Walk Through Her Life and Farm

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like in the north woods of Minnesota raising sheep and other fiber animals while processing the fiber using only sustainable and primitive methods, this is your chance to learn!  If you’ve never wondered, you still have a great opportunity to find out anyway.  Alethea Kenney will take you on a walk through her life and farm with a look at the history and uses of the various animals she keeps and raises alongside her extremely tolerant husband.  She will give a brief history of the Northern European Short-tailed Icelandic sheep she has raised and a dizzying array of other unrelated facts from her experiences, farm and animals.  Her presentation may be unconventional, unusual and unique but it won’t be uninteresting!

Alethea Kenney is a traditional naturopath, herbalist, aromatherapist, author and homeopath working with both people and animals.  She and her husband have farmed since 1996 and have lived and raised fiber animals in northern Minnesota since 2001.  

Alethea raises crossbred sheep having started with registered Icelandic sheep.  She soon decided that filling out all those registration papers was too tedious so she crossed her sheep with Black Welsh Mountain sheep for better parasite resistance and no worries about late registration papers.  She has also raised angora rabbits, llamas, various fowl, equines and owns a pack of northern dog breeds who rule the house and her heart. Their fiber is added to her spinning repertoire.  Her husband is converting the farm to renewable energy when he’s not cutting and baling hay for far too many sheep.

In her spare time she strives to stay on the cutting edge of 10th century fiber art techniques by spinning (mostly on a spindle), nalbinding (using her own hand-carved needles), weaving (mostly backstrap), gathering and using natural dyes and doing re-enactments.  She occasionally moves into the 21st century long enough to knit.  

Her infatuation with all things natural mean she uses no chemicals on the farm, with the animals or on herself.  She teaches and writes about medicinal plants, natural dyes, holistic animal care, homeopathy and minerals as they relate to health in people, companion animals and livestock.  She also teaches fiber art workshops. All those fiber animals need a balanced livestock mineral and Alethea was unhappy with the conventional products.  She created her own bioavailable line of livestock minerals, Back in Balance Minerals®, that is manufactured at North Central Feed Products and available nationwide. 

If Alethea is not doing something with fiber, you can usually find her in the barn contemplating more ergonomic ways of manure management. More information about Alethea and her eclectic interests can be found at, and

Show and Share

“Show and Share” was a big hit last year! Thanks to all who participated and what a showing of talent it was!! With eight categories and no specific theme, there’s lots of opportunity to show your wares. Winners receive $10.00 off registration for the following year.

Winners 2023:

Category Winner
1 Hand-Crafted Yarn Beth Friedman
2 Hand-Knit or Crocheted Garments Linda Forde
3 Hand-Knit or Crocheted accessories Jodi Isham
4 Woven Garments Molly Schultz
5 Woven Accessories Marna Schield
6 Woven, Knit, or Crocheted Household Items Barb Lyndgaard
7 Hand-Dyed Items Barb Lyndgaard
8 Art or Decorative Items Kelly Grucelski

Entry items need to have been made within the last THREE years

We hope everyone will bring something to show to share your ideas on what you have been working on. With eight categories and no specific theme, there is a category for all items that are fiber related. They must be woven, knit, crocheted, felted etc.

You may enter four items and everyone will vote for their favorite. Please submit your entry by 6 o’clock on Friday so everyone one has a chance to select their favorite items starting after the speaker until 3 o’clock on Saturday. Winners will be announced Saturday evening after the Fashion Show.

The categories are as follows: (The categories are just a little different from last year)

A. Handcrafted yarn

B. Sweaters, sweater vests, jackets

C. Shawls, ponchos, blankets

D. Mittens, hats, scarves, socks

E. Table runners, rugs

F. Hand dyed items

G. Household items you would not wear, bags, pillows, baskets, towels etc

H. Art or decorative items