It is an especially New York City story, a wintry one. One cold day I was knitting and talking with Hannelore Hahn director of The International Women's Writing Guild. She suggested I read a book, Sylvia's Farm about a latelife farmer and shepherd, Sylvia Jorrin. She was right and January was the perfect time.
Soon after, I met with a knitting friend at a local cafe. Over her shoulder I noticed a woman wearing a lovely white wool sweater. "Judy, there's the most wonderful handknit on a woman behind you. And she looks like someone I've met." Then I heard the sweatered woman mention Delhi, a town in upstate New York near where Ron and I had honeymooned almost 40 years earlier. When we parted, Judy checked out the sweater, "Very nice; maybe it's a Gansey knit." Introducing myself to this stranger, I discovered why she looked familiar: I'd seen her on the cover of her book! She was visiting in the City.
That cafe encounter led to unexpected wool experiences. Exchanging by phone and U.S. Mail (no emai address she proudly announces), Sylvia learned of my enthusiasm for handspun yarn that Ron could spin. "I have sheep with beautiful fleece!" Sylvia is very declarative. Fine; she'd send me a few ounces.
Thinking he could spin it at once, Ron discovered otherwise. So it went back upstate to a to a mill for carding. On its return Ron easily spun and plied this East Freisan Dorset-Finn Cross, a mix of sheep breeds. I tried this swatch on three sizes of needles--8, 9, and 10. The best "fabric" seemed to be created by #10 needles.
Sylvia, a delightful story-teller, returns to my neighborhood this weekend. On Saturday, June 3, at 4 p.m, she'll talk about her book, her spiritual connection with the land and her journey from designer fror Ralph Lauren to one-woman farmer...another event at Knitty City, 208 West 79th Street. And she is bring fleece so we can see the origin of our end product, yarn.