Friday, August 9
Close to home
This sweet face plays a big part in the first of the new yarn I'm adding to the Jill Draper Makes Stuff line. She is one of the three angora goats living at Sweet Dreams Farm. This yarn is closest to my heart of all the new yarn, so it seems natural to introduce it first. If you were lucky enough to attend Squam Art Workshops in June you might have seen Hoosic at the art fair Saturday night.
The reason Hoosic is so dear to me is because of the woman who raises these goats, along with a couple dozen chickens, a few bunnies, barn cats and a Golden Retriever.
This hobby farmer is the kindest, strongest, most generous, non-judgmental, caring and probably my favorite person in the entire world.
Here are a couple shots of us together, a couple decades ago and a couple years ago. It should be pretty obvious by now, she's also my mom. If you've come to Rhinebeck or Vogue Knitting in NYC, there is a pretty good chance you've met her and most people who do don't forget. She has an absolutely radiant smile and almost immediately upon meeting her people feel the desire to hug her. She's just one of those people. I think she brought enough picnic lunch to the last NYS Sheep & Wool to feed a small army, including egg salad from her chicken's eggs. I'd call her a hippie, but she corrected me once and said she's a folkie, so there you go. She has a full time job and just raises the animals for fun, and I can tell you from experience anything she loves gets the best care around. The goats often go on the evening dog walk, along with one of the barn cats, around her property on the NY/VT border. She is awe-striking in so many other ways, ways that I'm jealously keeping all to myself, for the sake of brevity here, but everyone whose life she has even a passing influence in knows how amazingly special she is.
After the mohair was shorn from Evie, Elijah & Pearl it made a short trip, following the Hoosic River, to Putney, VT. In Putney some other kind people at Green Mountain Spinnery combined it with a blend of Suffolk, Columbia and Targhee wool. It is a 50/50 wool and mohair blend, at 400yds/4oz I'd call it sportweight although with the mohair content you can knit it at a much larger gauge without the yarn losing body & becoming droopy.
This is Hoosic dyed in a semisolid called Bering, and I didn't have to ask but I know if she had her pick, my mom would say this color was her favorite. I picture Hoosic knit up densely as mitts and super loosely in a lace stitch as an almost year round wrap, or at gauge in a modern take on the classic Gansey sweater.
My mom being who she is won't take any of "my" money for the mohair she has so lovingly raised so I thought maybe you all could help me with that. I'd like to donate $2 from every skein sold to a cause I know is dear to her heart as a health care provider, Doctors Without Borders or MSF for my non-American readers. She'd never take ask for or accept something for herself, so instead this is my tiny way of paying her back by paying it forward. There aren't a ton of skeins of this and when it's gone it will be a while before we make more, it took a few years of shearings to get the few hundred skeins we have.
If you like the yarn and see me walking a fiber fest arm & arm with what looks like a much better dressed, more elegant version of myself don't be shy about telling her. Folkies love that.