i was taught to knit by a farm apprentice in the autumn of 2006. still years away from our own yarn, let alone our own plant dyed fiber, i nevertheless became engrossed in that first mile long scarf of the nastiest acrylic.
in the decade since sheep first started grazing our pastures and my hands fumbled awkwardly with those needles, our sheep and wool projects have taken a solid place in our overall farm plan and my knitting has improved greatly.
this past winter though it happened, really happened, i crossed over into the land of complete obsession. i took the plunge, after countless hats, mittens, wrist warmers, and cowls, i cast on a garment: a vest made of our own plant dyed indigo yarn knit by me for me.
something shifted when i first put on this top. i’m afraid i won’t be satiated until i’m clothed from head to toe in hand mades. spring is going to stop me i know, but in these final days before i don’t sit on the couch ever, i will finish this cardigan made from our Jacob’s wool.
i’ve spent the better part of the past two decades preaching about the importance of a strong local food system. i can feel the swelling excitement within about local fiber. join me, adorn yourself with hand made, locally sourced beauty. it ranks right up there with the first spring salad.
It started out looking like this…And slowly but surely, became this…From sheep to baby blanket… It’s the first time I’ve ever accomplished the whole process from start to finish in many many years of wanting it to happen!
In between the beginning and the end, there was a whole slew of processes. If you’ve been following along with our stories in this space for some time now, you may recall the tending and shepherding of the sheep all through the cold winter months. Or even before that, my family’s trip to Pennsylvania to fetch my flock of Shetlands and then being crammed in the truck like sardines for the long haul. Then spring arrived and shearing needed to happen. Remember when the Hill and Hollow crew came to save the day with their electric sheep shears? And remember not quite as long ago when my family had an overnight stay in a hotel and as my luggage I took a dirty sheep’s fleece for scouring in the hotel bathtub? And the borrowed drum carder? And all of the spinning? And then the indigo dyeing? (Which was a whole process in and of itself with the seeding, weeding, growing and harvesting!) Finally, my favorite part of the process, the hours and hours of knitting… knitting while the kids swam in the creek, or in the early gray mornings, or while I waited for supper to cook, or while I accompanied Eric for chores (but not being able to walk and actually help out with chores because of my leg. Moral support is good too!). It is a long-winded process I will admit! But it’s also incredibly satisfying…(You can see the color change between dye lots… I wasn’t totally thrilled with this feature and did try to overdye the whole blanket to make the blue more consistent, but alas, there is still a definite line. Oh, well. Maybe next year when the indigo is ready, I will try again.)
When I finally finished the baby blanket, the kids asked me how much I would charge if I were to sell the blanket. I just had to laugh.
So the blanket is all finished. Now I just need a baby to wrap up in it…