Old Sturbridge Village: A Glimpse At Homespun Yarns

    One of the many things I loved about our trip to New England this summer was how much traditional fiber art I was able to see, touch (pet?) and learn about. It had been my hope that I would be able to see some traditionally made yarns at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass. and I was not disappointed! On our second day there, there were a pair of young women simmering yarns and hanging their dyed wares out to dry— and you know my heart just went pitter-pat….

   That day they were dyeing beautiful reds with cochineal (made from….beetles! Yes, bugs), brilliant deep blues with indigo, and greens with sage. I’m not sure what the browns were being dyed with…..but I’m hoping it’s black walnut since I have a big black walnut tree just outside my kitchen window!
    The girls were very sweet and knowledgeable— and I tried to play it cool but you know I was dying to ask if they were using some kind of old timey legit, but pretty gross, human mordant (you don’t even wanna know….ok, it involves urine…..) but I think they said they were using iron (they said.)

   The skeins of yarn they were making that day were big and beautiful and oh, it got me so excited to come home and try these things out with my studio-mate-all-round-best-girl Tasha. I think as fall gets closer and the weather cools off, we will find ourselves out back cooking up big batches of dyes. I have some indigo that I’ve been holding onto (my precious) and I’d love to dye with cochineal. 
   So….despite the hot weather (although it was actually nice today, 88!) I am eagerly looking ahead to fall. I’ve got some big projects on my painting desk right now so I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do a large group of new offerings for an Autumn Gathering this year– but Im ordering prints and restocking my shop soon and will also have new pieces for sale.

   As always….thank you for coming here to visit. I appreciate it so much!~
Til next time,

6 thoughts on “Old Sturbridge Village: A Glimpse At Homespun Yarns

  1. I loved those colors- wanted to buy them right from those two girls! And she made a very good point to me as she was explaining the process: would you rather have things dyed with bugs or with chemicals. I have to say I agreed bugs was probably the better option!


  2. Love these gorgeous colors, Heather!! I have had a fascination with the whole yarn thing from animal to knitted project for many years myself. I can't wait to virtually \”learn\” along with you about how it all works. And with Gretel at the ready, I see beautiful yarns being made for inspiring knitting. Can't wait!!


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