This week I had scheduled one of my frequent trips to Hardwick, Vermont for a Taproot meeting. But rather than take the regular route, I decided to make a trip of it, discovering a new close-to-me place along the way (remember that New Year's Intention to seek adventures? Yes! Big and small!). And that's how I found myself this week in Harrisville the most lovely little New Hampshire town I ever did visit. There is the home of Harrisville Designs, makers of yarn and handmade tools for fiber crafts. It's a two hundred year old woolen mill, revived forty years ago. Given my recent acknowledgement of the flood of fiber in my own backyard, I can tell you that I was remarkably (impressively!) restrained in the showroom and shop. (Oh but those looms are calling me! Someday, someday. Just not yet. I've got to save some hobbies for my fifties and sixties, yes?)
But after the showroom, I was spoiled with a most delightful private tour of the mill, by none other that the charismatic owner himself, Chick Colony. Ah! What a treat for this lover of sheep and yarn and spinning and knitting, albeit the novice that I am in all of those categories. On one level, a great deal of the operation was beyond my understanding, and I marveled at the skill, expertise and finesse required to make the beautiful yarns that we buy in the shops (Brooklyn Tweed, and others alongside the Harrisville brand itself). But on another level, having a basic understanding of the process from sheep to sweater, it was an amazing treat to see it enlarged onto such a bigger scale, but yet still a scale at which everything is touched by human hands and requires such care and attention to get just so. It was fascinating to walk through the mill from raw fleece to finished product, labeled and ready for shipping. And inspirational to see a family working together, and maintaining a community around the work of textiles.
Ah, it's enough to make one want to get knitting, isn't it?