Friday, April 30, 2010

The Wool Witch

It is good to be The Wool Witch. Years ago when e-mail was making it's debut, my dad came up with the "woolwitch" as my email address. It suits me perfectly since I live in Woolwich Maine, and I spend my days stirring pots of color and making magic happen to plain white yarns.
My latest "spell" has been cast on a terrific new yarn, just spun my my good friends at Green Mountain Spinnery. This past February, David, the Spinnery owner and my good friend who understands my crazy visions, stopped in and loaded up his car with over 100 lbs of carefully selected fleeces, took them back to the Spinnery in Vermont, and spun them into my favorite Double Twist yarns.

Dave has spun this yarn for me many times before but this time, he lightened the spinning count, and the yarns are much lighter and more of a heavy DK ...or light worsted, whichever you prefer. It screamed "make me into socks!" when I pulled it out of the box ...and I agreed. But I wanted to make this yarn unique, I wanted it to be knit into socks that folks would look at and say "Hey, those are some sweet socks you got there." So out came the dye pots, on went my witch hat and after a little experimenting, a pinch of this and a pinch of that, eye of newt, hair of dog .... well you get the picture, I invented a new way to dye.

I am calling these yarns Sweet Maine Feet Yarns. I hope to see lots of brightly colored socks on many warm, snug feet this fall. They will be just a bit heavier than traditional sock knitters knit, but we Maine folks like to make things rugged and durable. The Down fleeces make this yarn soft and springy and the Longwools make it strong. Of course they would also be great knit up as sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens ....anything you wish to be bright, bold and beautiful!!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Garden Preparations

The best part of the day occurs in the early morning. The air only smells as sweet this the sun comes up. Quiet is broken as folks head off to work and the noise of cars begins to hum on Rte 1. When I was growing up on the island, the hum came from the lobster fishermen setting out for the morning to haul their catch. I enjoyed the early morning then, but I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. It is my zen time, my thinking time thankful time.

We spent Easter Sunday redesigning the front garden. For the past several years it has served as a small tomato garden and garlic bed. The garden behind the house was much larger and spacious making it perfect for vining plants. This past fall, I let my sheep in to clean up the left overs and decided to keep them there as the mud all around the paddock was so deep from all of the endless rain. Last week I picked up my raised bed materials from the local lumber yard. Rough cut 2 inch thick, 12 foot long planks weighted down the truck as it was loaded. My son and I worked all morning cutting, nailing together and positioning the beds, as well as turning and amending the soil. It was no small feat moving the heavy planks into the garden, I could not have done it alone. The onions had been planted as well as some mesculn. No peas this year, it is just too late and this garden is not big enough. Instead we will fill this sunny spot with tomatoes and cukes, scallions, herbs and some squash. I am calling it the Gazpacho/Salsa Garden.The chickens helped out after the commotion of pounding hammers and grunting humans digging and tossing dirt around was over. This garden plot is full of worms, but the hens were more interested in the seedling weeds and any little bugs they could find. Once our vegetable seeds are planted though, the beds will be covered with chicken wire so these seedlings can not be scratched up and eaten by the hard working girls. They are the hardest workers I have ever seen, cleaning up the garden and tilling the soil. I'll be working on some new dyeing techniques this week, and hopefully finishing up a hooking project that I started a few weeks ago.