Indigo Fisherman Dreams
October 28, 2009
Upon returning from Rhinebeck–I mean, in the gate lounge at the airport, moments after sitting down, as soon as I could possibly get to it, forgoing a pretzel, even–I started work on a swatch. It was like having a dollar in my pocket at Smith’s Variety.
It was all because of this yarn, made by Buckwheat Bridge, a small angora goat and Cormo sheep farm and mill located in the Hudson Valley.
They call it North Sea Fisherman’s Yarn, because it has the dense twist and gauge of the yarn seen in the traditional fisherman ganseys of England. It’s spun in a mill powered by a giant roof of solar panels. The sheep eat nothing but delicious things grown nearby. The goodwill captured inside these skeins is palpable–you hold it in your hands, notice the unfussy look of it, and you realize that your sweater, made from this stuff, is going to make the world a better place–FOR JEEPER’S SAKE GET BUSY!
It’s indigo dyed. My shopping enabler and gansey expert Mary Neal culled through all the skeins to find ones that matched close enough, though the fact is, there’s variation in the batch I bought and of course that’s a GOOD thing when you’re knitting a sweater so filled with authenticosity.
ExACTly. I wondered if I was going to have the thrilling blue-fingered experience that comes with knitting denim yarn. But the dye behaved, and when I got home, I had this:
Excellently dense stuff. 24 stitches = 4″ on a size 4. I could go down to a size 3 and have a fabric that could withstand a North Sea blow. When I stuck it in a cup of water to block it, I forgot about it for a couple of hours. When I came back, the water was a deep, fine blue, and I thought I’d sapped the yarn of its vital indigo life force.
Not really. The yarn is as deep a blue as it was before its soaking. It’s eternablue in there. None more blue.
I have in mind Mary Neal’s cool gansey pattern from Knitty, Jamesey. But I lack the same coathanger physique of my dear nephew who is the model in those photos, so I may cook up a more forgiving version. Must think about this.
Which is, after all, the fun.