It sounded like a good idea. My SO and I planned to wander around Vermont for a few days, and to lend some structure to our ramblings, I made note of various and sundry yarn-related locations to drive by. I didn't want to disturb anyone or creep them out, but I thought following a yarn path would be a fun theme for our vacation.
First stop was supposed to be Firefox Fiber, which technically is not in Vermont, but it was on the way. We never did find it - we were on the wrong side of the mountain (thanks, Google maps) - but we did find this:
While I did not buy any Firefox Fiber there, yarn was purchased ...
... plus I bought Barbara Parry's new book.
Once we were in Vermont proper, we stopped in Putney at Green Mountain Spinnery. It was Sunday afternoon, so I was surprised to find they were open and that there is a small retail outlet there. Doubly surprised were we to get a tour of their operation. I wish I had a digital recorder because I can't recall all the details of the process. I do remember that GMS put the green in commercial spinning. Not only do they work with only natural fibers, they do it in an ecologically sound manner, and have been doing so for thirty years. Definitely ahead of their time.
(All mistakes in captioning the following photos are mine.)
Fleeces waiting to be processed:
Where the fleeces are scoured...
... and spun to remove excess water ...
... and actually put in a dryer!
Um... I forget what this does. Fluff the fibers?
Then a small room is filled with loose fiber.
Next comes the carding...
... to create woolen batts.
... becomes single plies with a Z-twist...
... which are plied with an S-twist.
Yarn is then skeined...
...and hand knotted.
Eric Robinson could not have been more helpful and friendly, so of course I had to make some purchases, including her own design for the Anatolian Flip.
Our success at GMS propelled us to Barton, home of Cherry Tree Hill yarn, one of my favorite sock yarns. Their web site points out that they are not open to the public, but tours can be arranged. Apparently not last minute tours, though, by tourists who show up unannounced near quitting time on a Monday afternoon. I could not charm my way past the reception area, but I did eyeball the hanks of gorgeous color that hung all around.
What we did learn on our trip up to Barton was that people say "Vermont is a small state" the way others say "Arizona has a dry heat." It is still hot in Arizona and it still takes a while to get anywhere in Vermont. That cooled my enthusiasm for the yarn tour.
And yet the yarn found me. Serendipitously, when my SO pulled over to photograph a restored train depot, I spotted this across the road:
Something I don't do at my LYS's is walk in and ask for local yarn, but that's what I did every time I came to a yarn store in Vermont. And I was rewarded with luscious finds every time.
I didn't always limit myself to local yarn, though. While working on my entrelac scarf in Noro Kureyon, I been making plans to purchase some Noro Silk Garden and try a few modifications to the basic pattern. And since a colorway I liked was there at K&B, I went ahead and bought it.
I spent so much that I got a free tote bag!
By now, the yarn budget was crying "UNCLE!" so I decided to limit myself to one more store. On our way to that store, however, we stopped in Middlebury for lunch, where what should we find but Vermont Beads and Fibers. It's a good thing I have not started adding beads to my knitting (yet), but I still came out of there with more local yarn.
I thought visiting the Ben Franklin Five 'n' Dime would be safe, but even they had yarn. I've been looking for the right shade of green cotton for an idea rumbling around in the back of my head. Lo and behold, there it was.
Plus a reversible red bandana that is going to line a denim suede bag I crocheted too long ago.
How lucky can I get? Well, lucky enough to find the Vermont Yarn Company, where my bankrupt yarn budget established a line of credit thanks to Visa:
This is where I learned about canning jar dyeing. Be still, my heart!
Believe it or not, I did NOT buy every skein of yarn I lusted after, but if there had been more of the canning jar dyed yarn, I would have purchased a sweater's worth.
My SO is an amateur photographer, and we visited several old cemeteries so he could photograph ornate headstones and statuary, so it wasn't all yarn, all the time. But he was the one who spotted the yarn signs, over and over again, thereby enabling my yarn addiction and forcing me to contribute greatly to the local economy. Plus he wants some new hand knit socks.
Actual knitting also occurred on vacation, but we'll leave that to another post.