Sunday, August 28, 2011
Our family trip to Vermont was wonderful, and we had a great time swimming in lakes, taking long hikes, and scouring the countryside for the most delicious locally-made cheeses.
One of the most enjoyable things for me was hanging out with Joanne Smith and her flock at Bear Mountain Farm. The pretty lady you see pictured above is Iris, one of the beautiful ewes who make up Joanne's flock of Romney sheep. Joanne raises the sheep for their fleece and for breeding stock, and her fleeces makes some of the finest artisan yarn I have ever seen. Anyone lucky enough to live nearby should go visit her at the West River Farmers Market in Londonderry and see it for yourself!
Here's what I picked up when Joanne was kind enough to let me paw her wares when we visited the farm:
My hasty photo doesn't begin to do it justice, but these are 5 undyed skeins of natural, minimally-processed yarn from 2 of Joanne's ewes, Kitty (dark) and Joy (white). Each shearing is processed and spun in separate micro-batches at an eco-friendly mill in Maine. As a result, each skein of yarn is labeled with the name & photo of the very sheep from which it came. And because each sheep's fleece changes from year to year, no two lots are ever alike. Bear Mountain Farm's yarn is truly an artisan product. It's also lustrous, gorgeous, and wonderfully soft.
The yarn is mainly sold in 4-oz skeins, all worsted weight, and only available at the farmer's market or by special order, so they aren't exactly easy to come by. I'm glad I splurged a bit and brought home enough for a nice robust project!
If you're in Vermont, go to the West River Farmer's Market in Londonderry some Saturday and stop in on Bear Mountain Farm - or look for her at Rheinebeck, where her fleeces have won numerous awards. I can't wait to start knitting with this yarn!