I wrapped up a vest for the book last weekend! This is a design that I’ve been needing to publish for a long, long time. It has trees on it, trees made out of cables. They’re gorgeous and came out exactly as I pictured them:
but sadly I can only show you the wrong side for now…
And with that I realized I need more yarn. One of the wonderful things about working with Cooperative Press on this book is the fact that we can do our own photography. And that means we can capture the seasons and settings of Vermont in every photo shoot. This just wouldn’t be possible with a traditional publishing model. Taking a whole year to generate the content of the book would be frowned on, and holding 16 individual photo shoots instead of one or two comprehensive ones just isn’t possible with a normal book budget (think of the professional photographer fees!)
Since I’m working on the designs a season or two at a time I’ve been collecting the yarns at the same rate. This isn’t a scattered approach but rather a thoughtful one. I knew all my designs in advance, and I knew what sorts of yarns I’d need for each. Working one season at a time allows me time to reflect on how each is a cohesive unit as well as how they fit together into a whole collection. I’ve set a steady, measured pace for my work and it allows me time to search out folks like Imperial Yarn.
Imperial Yarn Columbia is the featured yarn in the vest above, and oh man do I love it. The yarn has many of the features I love in a rustic farm yarn, it’s sproingy, bouncy, it has lovely texture (this is the two ply) although their 3 ply looks like it would give a much smoother fabric with excellent stitch definition. But wool from the columbia sheep they’re raising is miles softer than other farm yarns. It’s no merino, but this columbia yarn is softer than that well loved workhorse Cascade 220 – and for me that makes this yarn soft enough for next to skin wear! (Your mileage may vary.)
If you look at the story behind Imperial Stock Ranch you will quickly figure out another reason I’m so happy to use their yarn. They’re American made. They’re preserving the historical buildings on the ranch. They’re working with sustainable agricultural practices to preserve the wildlife and ecosystem. And they’re not just making yarn, Imperial Stock Ranch is diversified. They raise beef and lamb as well as fiber and preservation. If you’ve been around here awhile you’ll know this is important to me too. I don’t think it’s wise to ignore that farm animals are also food animals or we become too detached from our roots. Agriculture is meant to be a full circle process, from garden to compost, from life to death, and pretending you can have milk without cows or wool without regular breeding programs is foolishly short sighted.
I can tell you this: I will be using their yarn again!