Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

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Quince and Co.

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


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Will Work for Yarn

Picture this. A 61-year-old on the corner with a cardboard sign saying “Will Work for Yarn.” Kind of like the depression – only really depressed because she NEEDS yarn. And lots of it. Or fiber to spin – that’s good too. Food would be good – she spent all the grocery money on fabric …………….

Such is my life. While trying to adhere to the spiritually simple life and not accumulating everything I see and don’t need – I. CANNOT. STOP.

I am actively selling stuff  I no longer want on Ebay in order to buy stuff I probably don’t need. Thank God I don’t use credit cards. It’s fun until you get to your credit limit (in about a day) and then the fun stops. I want them to make a credit card with flexible payments. That would get a lot of people using them again. Bad idea.

It’s not bad enough that I honestly will work for yarn – I get frustrated when my favorite yarns start selling out and I can’t buy them. There was a sale last month on Knitting Fever Silk for $15.99 a skein. Yes, that’s a sale – it’s 34.99 usually. Well all the colors I liked were gone gone gone by payday. Whimper.

Sigh. I thought I’d give you all some pictures to drool over – just in case you have a yarn obsession too. And these are all silk so hey they’d be great to knit in summer – under the apple tree in a comfy chair with Leonard Cohen on the iPod ……………… maybe a nice glass of wine next to your chair ……………….. and your family fixing dinner for you so you can finish faster …………… and everyone cleaning house so you can finish faster. And then a yarn fairy drops down beside you and says “You can buy all the yarn you want”any time you see it”, causing you to swoon …………….


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Knitting and the Life Behind the Wool

I’ve recently started following Juniper Moon Farm and Shepherd Susie on WP. I’ve had so much fun during lambing season watching the little gals and guys come into this world – well, seeing their pictures after they are here.

This farm is the epitome of sustainable. It is life in action. Susie’s trials and tribulations are the trials and tribulations of all of us – but she has a secret weapon – the love from all of her animals. In the photos she takes you can see the love from the eyes of the lambs. When I gaze upon them I am so glad I do not eat meat and I wish desperately that no one would.

Susie sells Yarn Shares on her website – she was the pioneer in fiber CSAs which help the farmer financially throughout the year maintain their farm and gives the owner of the share a stake in the farm. When you purchase a CSA you get fiber or yarn. What a treat! It is enough just to see the babies and then to get the wool – oh my that is heaven!

Susie is moving now. She packed up all the critters on a van and took off to her temporary home until she can find that just right place for her and the babies. This is a monumental task, as we who have ever moved know. I’ve moved 16 times in 35 years of marriage and countless other times before marriage – but I never had to haul a trailer of animals behind me. My wish for all of them is a safe arrival and enjoyment of their new adventure.

Soon’s the ship comes in – I’m buying a CSA. It doesn’t cost any more than buying a few skeins of yarn from the retail shop and it is so much more IMPORTANT.  All knitters and spinners – heads up – charge to the website above and let’s get cracking! You know you want that wool – and those cute little lambs can’t wait to give it to us!

I’ve added some pictures of baby lambs here – none of these are Susie’s lambs but you can see her lambs on her blog – there’s a link at Fiber Farm.