Heavenly Socks Yarns

September 2008

Hacho Baby Sweater

New and selected yarns will be featured this month at 20% off. These yarns include four lines of the Mirasol project, a fair trade venture to benefit the local children of Peru. These lines include:
Tupa: a DK wool/silk blend;
Hacho: a variegated hand-dyed DK merino wool;
Contanani: a worsted cotton/wool blend; and
Sulka: a chunky wool/alpaca/silk blend.
Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran Tweed, Queensland's Kathmandu Aran and Sheep Shop Three are featured as well as Nashua's Grand Opera. (Grand Opera is the sparkly wool that Helen is using to knit her lacy fitted cardigan, as mentioned in our August newsletter.) There will be other selected yarns on discount, as the shop is bulging with yarn!

Shown at left is a baby sweater in Hacho, Color #300, Tutti Frutti.

Other new items in the store this month include:
-- An expanding line of seed beads. We will happily show you an easy way to use beads in your knitting. If you are at all interested, please don't hesitate to ask. When we show people, they can't believe how easy it is!
-- Debbie Bliss' new magazine.
-- Hand-dyed lace-weight cotton from Blue Heron Yarns.

In this political season, I would like to briefly talk about the politics of yarn. When yarn representatives try to sell yarn to me, I usually think along these lines: Is this something customers are asking for, or a gauge/yarn type missing from the store's offerings? If it is yes, then I go through these questions:
1. Where is it made?
2. Can I find it locally or distributed by a Maine or New England company? If not,
3. Is there a socially responsible company that distributes a similar yarn as in the case of Manos, Frog Tree, the Marisol Project, etc.? If not,
4. Where can I find it so that the shipping is least impactive on the environment?
5. If it comes from another country, as most do, is there a reason not to support trade with that country?
I do not spend much time researching reasons not to support a country, although it is in my consciousness. So far, I feel that I have been able to make good decisions using this process. Sometimes, it may cost me and you a few more cents to buy yarn produced or distributed more locally, but I believe most customers are willing to support local and regional economies. However, this month Plymouth's organic cotton arrived, priced at 4.95 for a 50-gram skein. An almost identical skein is offered by Rowan Yarns here at the store for twice that price! What accounts for the price difference? I think it is because the Plymouth yarn is made in China, a fact I was not aware of when I ordered it. So, was it the wrong thing to have done? I don't know. If you have any thoughts on this topic, I would love your input!

I would like to share with you part of a letter I received from one of my wholesalers, Jim Bryson, on this topic: "There has been a huge influx of yarns, knitting needles and accessories from the low wage countries of Asia of which we should be aware. ... You may find it startling to see how much manufacturing in our industry has been shifted to low cost base regions in Asia. I'm not trying to be xenophobic, I just want everyone to pay attention to where the goods are coming from. The decisions we make to stock our stores are going to dictate where the manufacturing base is going to be located. Our Italian mills are suffering greatly. In my opinion, Italian yarn manufacturing is the most creative and innovative in the world. When the Italians are gone, who are the knockoff companies going to copy?" His words made me think about this issue from another perspective.

-- Helen

Celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days on Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28! Visit your friendly local alpacas at Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm, 141 Crosby Brook Road, Unity (207-948-3828) from 9 am to 4 pm on those days. They're located in walking distance of the Common Ground Fair, so consider stopping in on your way to the Fair. Or click Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm to visit them on the Web. To learn more about alpacas or to view the list of participating farms, click National Alpaca Farm Days.

Corry and Gabe, Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm

Hats for Kids is alive and well! Create warm hats for our kids in Waldo County. They can be knitted, crocheted or sewn, in washable wool, acrylic or fleece. Mittens are needed too. Call Judy Kao at 207-338-1945 if you can make a hat or two. Hats and mittens may be dropped off here at the store for pickup.

Art by Heidi Daub

Aarhus Gallery is excited to exhibit the lively color work of the talented Blue Hill artist Heidi Daub, September 2-21. The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, September 5, 5-8 pm. With a personal vivid style and recognizable imagery, Heidi's modernistic landscapes play along the border of abstract and representational painting. Heidi says, "I am concerned with ordinary things and the extraordinary ways in which the ordinary shapes our lives ... There is an aspiration to a holy moment so to speak."

Heidi Daub graduated from Montserrat School of Visual Art, has lived and worked in Maine since 1984 and has exhibited her paintings widely throughout New England since 1987. Heidi is represented by galleries throughout New England and her work is housed nationally in many private collections. In 2008, Heidi has inaugurated the Women of Maine Visionary Arts Award to support women involved in audio, visual or literary arts who exhibit outstanding commitment and are inspiring to others.

The work of Aarhusians Kevin Johnson, Mark Kelly, Annadeene Konesni, Richard Mann, Wesley Reddick and Willy Reddick will also be on view. Remember to come to town, relax and enjoy the evening with the extended gallery hours of the Belfast Friday night Art Walk.

For more information and a slideshow of the current exhibit, click Aarhus Gallery.