Friday, March 6, 2009

Marin visits Philadelphia

Cathy Campbell, who has been our hand knitting yarn manager for the past 3 years has left us to pursue married life closer to her home in New Jersey. We will miss her wonderful loving style and wish her well in all her new projects. She is looking forward to staying involved (in a more part time way) in the world of knitting.

In the meantime, here at O-Wool in Middlebury VT, we welcome Marin Melchior to our routine. Marin is an avid (as in VERY avid) knitter who started knitting right after she learned to walk. Besides her great technical skills, she also has a vibrant, energetic sense of color. The one word I would NEVER use to describe Marin is boring. She always has a new project underway, (an older one to finish), a new idea, a pattern to tweak, a book to buy and a swatch to experiment with. She is a wonder, and it's great to have her working with us.

Last week Marin met with Cathy as they visited Caledonian Dye Works in Philadelphia. This is the dye house that dyes our yarn, and you can see Rick with his welcome smile outside the magestic entry way.

Inside the lighting wasn't really good enough for photos, but Rick gave them a tour of the large dying vats, and explained how the dye is washed back and forth through the skeins.

After the skeins are dyed they need to be wound into the right yardage for the small skeins that a customer will purchase. This winding is done by Bill Clemson, just a short distance away in another large cavernous building.

Here Bill is measuring out the correct yardage on some Classic Natural O-Wool yarn. Later these will be twisted and tagged by us here in Middlebury. Then they are finally ready for retail sale.

Speaking of retail sale, Marin and Cathy did get a chance to visit Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia where they were greeted very enthusiastically by Courtney!

Courtney modeled her new O-Wool earflap hat, and held up some of the cozy yarn.


The other day, after writing the posts below I had a definite "bookcrossing" experience at our local library. If you are not familiar with this concept, wikipedia defines a bookcrossing as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise". I guess technically a library is a pretty obvious place to cross a book(!) but the quality of the crossing is what I am writing about. I went to the library to return a couple of books, and without looking in any stacks, or on any computer search index, I crossed paths with TWO books about the healing quality of knitting. Yes, the day after I had been writing about that. Not any of the last 10 years. No, just that day. See what I mean? One was a shelf end display, and the other had been donated by the library patron just in front of me. Now, truly, what are the chances?

So, with my assignment in front of me (has anyone else gotten reading assignments dropped on themselves like that?) I headed home to do a quick read and review.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
is the story of a mother, Mary, who has just experienced the sudden loss of her only child, and has found it impossible to continue finding comfort in the activites she used to. She is depressed with grief, and has trouble following her husband's lead to acknowledge, and then move on to once again regain the joy in life. At her mother's suggestion she (very reluctantly) takes up knitting, and then joins the local knitting circle. Mary meets a group of women with their own stories and each one teaches Mary a new technique in knitting. Through this process Mary is able to finally share her grief, and find the spark of life again, supported by her new friends and the rhythm of knitting.

Knitting, A Novel by Anne Bartlett
is a wonderful book written by an experienced Australian knitter. Again the subject includes grief over the death of a loved one. Sandra, who is studying textiles from an academic viewpoint, has just lost her husband to cancer and feels like she lives life from within an ice cold glass bubble. By chance she meets an eccentric woman who is her polar opposite, Martha. Their lives start to overlap, and Sandra persuades Martha to help her mount an exhibition of retro and contemporary knitting. What begins as a professional collaboration becomes a deeply personal and transformative experience. This is a wonderful quirky story in which knitting plays a very important part in the healing process.