My Fibershed Wardrobe
I have been getting ready to head off to Stitches West at the end of this week and wondering why my excitement level isn’t any higher. My bestest Fiber Trash Girls have been begging me to join them for the party, for the past several years. This is my group of friends who knit and spin together (sometimes frequently!) here in the northern Sierra foothill, as well as join me for an annual rustic retreat every summer at my high country cabin (where I raised my children and hiked through the snow every winter day for 13 years). They have been my staunchest supporters as I ventured into the world of being a CSA farmer and natural dye purveyor. So, of course I want to get a chance to hang loose with them!
They keep touting the Marketplace, and I am looking forward to seeing in person the work of some of my favorite designers (Romi, Stephen West, etc., etc.) and being inspired by the awesome creativity out there in the big, wide world. However, the truth is that this natural dye work I have been actively building up the past few years has transformed me considerably, and I am really most interested in seeing what other natural dye products are out there and how people are using them. I have discovered through some soul-searching as I contemplated whether I would go to Stitches or not that I am not so interested in commercially-dyed yarns any more, and am happiest with the three items pictured below, all made with naturally dyed yarns in the past year.
I am pretty sure that each of these wardrobe pieces appeared in earlier posts… the gold and blue hat is the Zelda Cloche, featured in my post about aspen leaves. The handspun one features several different colors, all from plants, and is loosely based on a slouchy hat pattern featured in Harvesting Color, by Rebecca Burgess. I added wooden buttons, from a northern California tree (according the the 40-year old card they were on, from a friend’s elderly mother’s stash), and the pieces of pokeberry-dyed felted wool under the buttons. I do have to confess that the pokeberry on this fabric (a second bath, after dyeing yarn) did not remain very colorfast, but it does still add a decorative element). The shawlette is called And So Are You, and is Rocky Mt. grey wool that I overdyed with lodgepole pine bark.
Most of the clothing I wear day-to-day is recycled, from consignment shops, friends and family and general thrifting… I also needed to purchase some work-world items this winter for the full-time job in child abuse prevention services that I took up about six months ago. I am finding it difficult to obtain all the clothing I want/need at prices I can afford, within my fibershed, and therefore am even more inspired to search out local supplies and make them myself. This is the cardigan I will be finishing in time to wear for spring.
I also have a lot of wool roving (local, from Mary Vega’s farm) to spin up and dye, and a large lot of merino fleeces (also Mary’s) being processed into sport weight yarn at Yolo Wool Mill for the final shipment of the 2012-13 CSA season and the upcoming 2013-14 season. There is a lot of potential in those local wools, including my plan to make this bag for myself. Therefore, this trip will include a bit of shopping, but mostly only if I can find small suppliers of natural or naturally-dyed yarns. My heart soars going out into the garden or the woods and gathering plants that I can turn into color to wear, and the commercial yarns just don’t give me the same feeling. I AM looking forward to seeing my Verb acquaintances made while building the indigo composting floor last year and seeing what they have brought to the market.