Wednesday, 25 May 2011
This is the last of my catch ups from the USA which is just as well. Exciting things are happening at home too and I'll need to blog about them very soon. In the meantime, let me take you to Starcroft Fiber in Maine.
Jani and her daughter Leah are two of the most effervescent fibre enthusiasts I've ever met, with just my kind of business ethics - simplify, stay small and enjoy what you do. The fleeces that they use for spinning, dyeing and felting come from sheep who live all year round on Nash Island, off the coast of Maine. The resulting yarns are beautiful, I was lucky enough to be given some, dyed a soft smoky grey. Handspinners can also buy the fleeces for spinning at home.
Mary Jane and Ellen and we were shown round the mill, with its wonderful wool washing system, the felt making machine and all the equipment needed for creating yarns. Although the fleece is processed by machine Jani checks the yarns by hand to make sure they feel right, just like a handspinner would. What impressed me most was how happy Jani and Leah were with their work. The business is just big enough to be challenging and fulfilling all at the same time. A truly inspirational workplace, next time I want to come back for the shearing!
Monday, 9 May 2011
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Mary Jane explained something tricky to her students. Later that weekend we hopped into the car, bought some snickerdoodle flavoured coffee at the gas station and headed for the hills. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Never buy a coffee named after any foodstuff other than coffee. The hills, on the other hand, did not disappoint.
We were en route to Ellen's, Ellen lives in New Hampshire with her family in a house stuffed with all the beautiful things she finds in thrift shops. Everyone in that household makes stuff - music, cookies, knitting patterns, semi-conductors, snow machines. We had a blast and made plans to meet in Maine later on.
Mary Jane and I set off to Maine in the midst of a snow warning. I didn't take the warning too seriously until I woke up the next morning to find many inches of snow outside my window. Beautiful crisp new spring snow. A perfect reason to spend our days knitting by the woodstove. And that's just what we did. I have some lovely pictures of MJ but most of them show her knitting top secret patterns for important magazines. Instead, here is proof of the usefulness of knitted items. Perfect for snowbound log collecting.
It wasn't all snow and yarn, I also met some of the nicest people in Maine. And dogs, and ducks. There was so much to see and do and eat and photograph that I think I'll just have to come back again. Still more tales to tell of this journey. Next time I'll tell you all about following your bliss at Starcroft Yarns.....