n Which I have been Home for Five Weeks and Many Things Happened, or, New Yarn and a New Apartment!

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

First, the big news:  my husband has been accepted into a graduate program at Clark University in GIS.  On the positive side, the program is one of the best in the country in this field, employment potential post graduation is very high, and he is genuinely interested in the subject and the actual work.  On the down side, Clark is in Massachusetts, and so I spent much of my time home anxiously refreshing Craigslist Worcester trying to find the elusive perfect apartment that is near Clark and also accepts dogs (of the two of us, I am far pickier about where we live, so the apartment hunting falls to me).  We finally succeeded in finding the right apartment, though I am superstitious enough about such things that until we have actually moved in I will not say for sure that we have the apartment, and I will not fully relax about it.  Neither one of us want to leave Maine, but it will only be for a few years, and then we will be back (fingers crossed).  In the mean time I will continue to buy fleece from the same Maine farmers who have supplied me with such lovely fleece in the past, and explore the potential of flocks in western Massachusetts, of which I hope there are many.   Astute observers will notice that I no longer list “Maine” after “Natural Dyes, New England wool” on my yarn tags.  I have left that space blank, because I can’t bring myself to list “Massachusetts”.  I mean no offense to folks who are from Massachusetts (my dad grew up outside of Boston) but New England is full of regional chauvinism, and folks from Massachusetts are the first to understand that to other New Englanders “Massachusetts” carries a certain something.  That said, I am looking forward to getting to know a new city. 

3 Ply Coopworth Sportweight 

3 Ply Coopworth Sportweight 

Astute observers will also notice that I mentioned new yarn tags, because while have been home I have also been dyeing up a storm.  My 2015  3-Ply Coopworth Sportweight is available in a very purposeful looking color run, which is one of those happy accidents of natural dyes since the only color I actually planned was the deep red Pomegranate, and everything else followed.   This batch of yarn was spun to a slightly lighter weight than my previous 3-Ply sport weight which was itself on the heavy end of the spectrum for sport weight, so people who have worked with my 3-Ply sport weight previously may want to swatch again.  The yarn is available here.   

Spring is also the time to pick up fleeces.  This year I am exploring fleeces from a couple of new farms (to me).  Currently at the mill is Blue Faces Leicester from Two Sisters Farm in Waldoboro, Maine, which is being worsted spun into a light Aran weight yarn, and on Sunday the intrepid Sarah Hunt (of Fiber Trek) was good enough to lend me her time and her Subaru to transport 172 pounds of Straw’s Farm Island fleece from Straw’s Farm in Damariscotta, Maine to my workspace, from where it will be picked up on Wednesday (hopefully) to go to the mill.  The island wool will be spun into a 5-Ply Gansey yarn in support of the Cordova Gansey Project, masterminded by Dotty of the Netloft in Cordova, Alaska.  I will make a proper post about it in the future (because it deserves its own post - or series of posts) but for now, please go check out Dotty’s amazing posts of the subject.  She has managed to put so many of my very inchoate feeling about knitting and history and ganseys and the  sea into very eloquent words, and she has done in so well that the next time someone asks me about my feelings of connention to gansey knitting I may just point them to her posts. 

I return to the boat this Saturday.  I will be meeting the Sea Lion in Sitka, Alaska.  As always my time home has passed way too quickly, but I am looking forward to our Alaska season.