Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

Quince and Co.

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The Fabulous Saco River Dyehouse

The Fabulous Saco River Dyehouse

I almost hesitate to write this post. Why you say? Because I am afraid you will all go buy the yarn I have my sites on and I won’t get any. I’m going to take that chance.

I learned about Quince and Co. while browsing Ravelry for patterns. I came across this awesome vest called Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. She is a master knitwear designer. You can see her stuff on Ravelry.

Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

In that pattern she used Quince and Co.’s Tern yarn. It is a combination of 75% American wool and 25% silk. I bought it in the barnacle color. This yarn was fun just to roll into a ball. Nice and soft and not fuzzy or scratchy. The color reminded me of a nice cup of latte’.

The vest has gone the way of most “I can’t do this” projects only because I ran out of yarn and I had made so many mistakes I just said hey go onto something else. You’re done with this. It was a good first project in that I was able to practice the rib pattern – I don’t like the rib pattern at all. I forget where I’m at. I just knit 2 purl 2 and for a while it will look like a rib and then boom it doesn’t and I have to tink it and try again. Sigh. Not being an experienced knitter I don’t know if I will ever get over my fear of ribbing.

When I started this project and my new fascination with making sweaters back in December 2012, Quince and Co. was in the process of refurbishing an old mill to use as a dyehouse. The small dyehouse they had used had closed and they were left with a problem. Too small a company to use a large dye house with big lot requirements and too large to stand over pots of dye and stir in their kitchens. Bubble bubble.

They decided, along with a couple other companies, to start their own dye house. They found the mill in Biddeford, Maine and began the huge undertaking of making it a dye house. On their blog you can see before pictures and get a sense of how much work they had to accomplish to get this up and running.

Not only did they need to refurbish the building, they also needed, I presume, to get the dyeing down right. If I lived anywhere near Portland I would be standing at their door begging them to let me work there. For free even. I love dyeing anything. I have stopped short of the cat, but only because she bites and scratches and wouldn’t let me put her in a pot of water ……………

Since I don’t live in Portland, mores the pity, and I have a ton of stuff I have to do here – I just dream about what it would be like to work in that dyehouse. The pictures of the mill before and during rehab can be seen here and you will be amazed at the work done.

But lest you forget, they make yarn. Glorious yarn in alpaca, American wool and Tern which is blended with silk and a pure linen called Sparrow. They make yarn in these gorgeous colors that look like the shore to me here in Maine. The colors are those of nature and the yarn is the yarn of every knitter’s dream.

It does not end with color or yarn. Quince and Co. prints some of the most glorious patterns by top knitwear designers you will ever see. Hannah Fettig, Gudrun Johnston, etc. Hannah’s Featherweight sweater has been in the top 10 most popular patterns on Ravelry FOREVER. It’s a gorgeous raglan open cardigan and you can play with it – add a fancy stitch to the edge, make it longer, make it shorter ……………. I have the pattern. I only need the yarn. Which I will get from Quince and Co.

Featherweight by Hannah Fettig

Featherweight by Hannah Fettig

It is only my addiction to fabric that keeps me from buying yarn from Quince and Co. daily. I’m finishing up my Boxy by Joji – also on the top 10 of Ravelry’s most popular – and then I’m on to Featherweight or Brise if it is still warm when I’m knitting. Brise is Hannah’s cardigan in Sparrow – a linen with exquisite colors, many of which are new and just out of production.

Quince and Co. is a knitter’s find – a jewel in the wonderful state we call Maine. I urge you to go to their site – browse and see if you can get out without buying a ton of yarn. Just leave the undyed Osprey alone. It’s mine.

Limited Edition Osprey Special


Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

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