Notes From the Road
by Kathryn Hunter Luciana
|Front window of The Perfect Blend Yarn & Tea Shop, Saugerties, N.Y.|
The farms are of particular interest to me, because I love to learn about the animals from which the fibers originate. Many farms are not open to the public, so "crawling" offers a great opportunity to see them. This year I set out to visit two farms first, but unfortunately I read my map wrong and arrived at one farm too early, and the second on the list was not open. Dejected, I told my companion not to worry, that we would soon turn our luck around, and finally in Red Hook, we did.
As the drizzle increased, we pulled into Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company and opened the door to a warm and friendly greeting. This shop is also on a farm. Mary, the owner, explained that she raises Icelandic sheep, most likely brought to that country by the Vikings, and Shetland Sheep from the Shetland Islands north of Scotland. They process the fiber into yarn right there. You can't get more local than that! I was given a short tour of the processing room by Mickey and was particularly keen on the large felting table. After experiencing the process of wet felting by hand the previous weekend, renting this table for a project seemed particularly appealing to me. I purchased skeins of Shetland/Icelandic Lopi blend yarn for felting and some scrumptious merino/silk blend for a soft next-to-the-skin something.
|Raw fiber drying on the screen|
|The spinning machine drafts and twists the fiber roving to produce yarn|
|Arturo Ceballos and his needle felted sculptures|
As I looked around I was drawn to the back of the shop where a gentleman, sitting at a small table, was working on the most beautiful menagerie of needle felted creatures: perfect portraits of little rabbits in various colors and aspects. His name is Arturo Ceballos. He teaches needle felting at the shop and also also sells his wool sculptures at Cottage on the Hudson Fiberarts Studio. Many examples of his work adorn the shop. Still further, in a second room I found a diminutive lady, serenely sitting at her small spinning wheel spinning fiber into yarn. Not unusual for a yarn shop, but as I looked more closely, I realized that in her lap, under her arm was a large, very fluffy, very quiet rabbit, and she was spinning the yarn directly from her fur.
|Mariepaule Rossier spinning fiber from her Angora rabbit|
|Beautiful Angora Rabbit taking a break|
|Intrepid companion, April|
A visit to these local businesses supports our talented local artisans and is a wonderful way to discover the richness of the Hudson Valley.
Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company 190 Yantz Road, Red Hook, N.Y. 12751 845-758-3130
The Perfect Blend Yarn and Tea Shop 50 Market Street Saugerties, N.Y. 12477
Cottage on the Hudson 951-642-8750
Kathryn - Huzzah! Handmade https://www.etsy.com/shop/HuzzahHandmade