My day started with a visit to One Lupine Fiber Arts, a gallery featuring local artisans’ work on the main floor and with a yarn shop on the lower level. While they carry a few commercial yarns, the main feature is their line of hand-dyed yarns and fibers.
The natural colours of Swans Island yarns
I headed south out of Bangor to my next stop, a visit to Swans Island Company’s
showroom and weaving studios. Swans Island’s yarns are dyed with all natural dyes resulting in soft, variegated hues. Visitors to their heritage farmhouse (c. 1780) have the option to rummage through the yarns on the sun porch. These treasures are experimental dye batches or colours that didn’t end up exactly right, and are available at a reduced price. I was lucky enough to grab some of a blue batch that turned out a bit too purple, along with several other treasures. While tempted by the entire shelf of Bittersweet, I managed to walk away with only a few skeins in fingering weight.
Summer weight blankets
One of the weavers kindly provided information on the weaving processes used in their blankets and I got to experience one of the looms up close. Their exquisite summer and winter weight blankets have been added to my wish list.
The Cashmere Goat
A number of knitters had told me that I had to pay The Cashmere Goat
in Camden, ME a visit. The large shop is in one of the few wooden buildings in downtown that survived the Great Fire in November 1892. Barbara (owner) and Misty were both in the shop when I arrived and were very welcoming and responded warmly to my designs. Misty eagerly introduced me to one of their favourite fastenings – the Jul
leather closures that screw into place. I was immediately drawn to the French Curve Leather Closure. It attaches to your garment with 2 pedestals on either side and closes your garment with a button like movement in the leather. No marring your garment, no need to make buttonholes. It’s a fantastic afterthought closure.
The Cashmere Goat has a variety of buttons but I was drawn to Laura Pierce’s Sea Buttons
, made from items found on the beach. I was torn between these stone ones and some made from white china with green patterns but in the end decided on the stone ones.
Fabulous local Maine yarns at Over the Rainbow
After I tore myself away from the friendly atmosphere of The Cashmere Goat, I moved on to Over the Rainbow Yarn
in Rockland, ME. This is a bright, welcoming shop just off the main street; however, what impressed me the most was the display of local yarns just steps inside the front door. By the way, if you’re in the area on November 2, my fellow Ontarian, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
will be at shop. She’s a great speaker!
The last stop of the day was in Belfast, ME at Heavenly Socks Yarn. Tucked away in a basement on Main Street, this store stocks more than just sock yarn – despite the name. Their shelf of Peace Fleece had been just been restocked the day before I visited. Is it just me or has this yarn become softer than it was 10 years ago or so? After seeing the beautiful sweater worn by the staff person on duty, some Wild Mustard ended up in my knitting bag.