The most marvelous part of my trip to Maine - other than seeing my friends, of course - was our visit to Nanney Kennedy's farm. I first read about her in Shear Spirit and then tracked her down at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and that set the stage for this visit in Maine.
When we pulled up to her farm, she was up to her elbows in yarn, working all stages of her dyeing from the solar dye vats to the final rinse in an open-air bathtub.
Everything was so vibrantly alive and intense: the colors of the yarn, the sparkling midday sun, the green pastures rolling down to the forest, and the conversation, which excitedly ranged from color theory to sustainable agriculture to the politics of information. The experience was almost surreal in its beauty and vividness.
The visit got me thinking again about the ways in which we weigh different meanings of greenness - organic, sustainable, local, natural - and the degree to which these words capture the meanings we want them to. Her wool is no longer certified organic, but it's as sustainably-produced as you can imagine. Her dyeing isn't called 'natural' because she doesn't use plant-based pigments, but it incorporates mineral pigments and seawater and is incredibly low-impact. It really emphasizes, for me, how keywords are no substitute for getting to know your producers personally.
In the end, I can't imagine any yarn being more sustainably created. Oh, and did I mention how superlatively gorgeous and soft they are? If you're interested, you can find her Seacolors Yarn and Maine blankets on her website, Get Wool. Or even better, check out her show schedule (including Rhinebeck!) and see her wonderful yarn for yourself ...