Friday, June 25, 2010

Improving life, one skein at a time...

I live in new york city. But I wish I lived on a farm, I don't think I want to do the actual work of the farm but I love the idea of the horses, sheep, and angora goats and alpacas I would look after and process their wonderful fibers to make beautiful hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns that would be highly sought after ...(except for the horses, I would just ride them, and admire their beautiful glossy coats while I would relax and knit from the back porch)

I grew up in the country, in Hunterdon County New Jersey, very close (strolling distance) to the beautiful Delaware river.In the summer we would ride our bikes to the "walking bridge" (no cars), cross over to Lumberville Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, and get our ice cream bars and sodas. The visit to the river was always interesting, the water was high or low, muddy or clear-it was always a draw just to be near the water .

There were lots of farms around, mostly dairy farms with picturesque black and white cows. We had some neighbors who had sheep, but I never saw any wool being processed.

My mom taught me to knit, she was truly a yarnaholic and i think passed along her love of yarn and knitting by our trips to yarn shops(there were few then) . As i observed her swooning over skeins of alpaca and wool and silk--their colors and twists, i think i just naturally caught on to this fiber thing. Later i found out while looking through some things my family had that my great grandmother written a column in Harpers about needlework.

It wasn't until I went to a sheep and wool festival in Maryland in '92 or so that I started to realize what was involved in sheep farming. Or I should say what was involved with enjoying the products of sheep and wool farmers. I was so taken with the beauty of wools that had been minimally processed that I got my first spinning wheel soon after. Over time, i have experimented with silk, alpaca, llama, different wools, kid mohair, cotton and linen. I did a little hand-dyeing , but nothing serious. Last Fall my friend Rose and I went to Rhinebeck sheep and wool fest, and came back with 3 or 4 fleeces of crossbred and romney, and some corriedale. As I scoured the wool, dyed it and was hand carding it, I looked into buying a drum carder, hence my new "fancy kitty" carder. I've gradually been formulating this business idea...but really had hesitated because I have a demanding day job. So, after seeing what a number of others are doing on Etsy, Ebay, and others, and it seemed that there was a community of yarn buyers/enthusiasts that were interested in a non-factory, non-homogenious product. More importantly, I have loved working with fibers for so many years it seemed unavoidable to open a yarn shop...not brick and mortar yet, but maybe some day...

My mission is to pass along that love of really extraordinary fibers and the enjoyment of the way those fibers take color, how they feel, how they look when they're knitted. My passion has always been about this simple thing, and how sometimes the simplest stitch can have such inherent beauty...

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