Blog Main

»

Archive: May, 2015

Washable Wool Collection

/ , , ,

Most people have used, or at least heard of, Superwash yarns. Superwash is a process by which the scales of the wool fiber are burned off with chorine and then the fibers are coated in a plastic polymer. When the friction of washing is applied, the fibers slide over each other and don’t felt, the way untreated wool will. While it’s extremely convenient to have knitwear that will stand up to the rigors of washing, the process leaves much to be desired. Chlorine? Plastic? All those chemicals aren’t great for the environment, either.

Our Washable Wool yarn Collection is made with Eco-wash, a gentle process that uses an enzyme to gently treat the fibers so they will not felt. Both the yarn and the process are certified organic. The resulting yarns are crisp and bouncy with excellent stitch definition. We feel good about offering a product that is both user friendly and kind to the environment.

Caring for Washable Wool

The Swans Island Washable Wool yarn Collection is machine washable–feel free to toss it in with the rest of your laundry! We do recommend that to ensure that your item will last you lay it flat to dry or let it dry on a drying rack.

Our Washable Wool yarn is available in Sport weight and DK weight.

We have a new free pattern available for our Washable Wool Sport Weight: Twinkle Toes are striped socks for kids with a couple of different striping options!

Twinkle Toes Sock pattern from Swans Island

Here are some of our favorite patterns in Washable Wool DK:

Venus Cardigan, in Washable Wool DK

Washable Wool yarn knit into a cardigan

 

Caesious, by Hunter Hammersen in Washable Wool DK

Shawl in Swans Island Washable Wool Yarn DK weight

Baby Bomber, in Washable Wool DK

Baby hat in Swans Island Washable Wool Yarn

Celebrating Family Legacies: Shelby

/ ,

Today we continue our series introducing you to our weavers. At Swans Island we hand craft each piece to become an exquisite piece to be passed on from one generation to the next. Each family has their own treasured heirloom items. We paint these items with our memories and meaning, cherish each piece as a part of our own family history. These special pieces signify our love–for an individual, a moment in time, or an annual ritual.

Keep reading to learn more about Shelby, one of our weavers, and her the scrapbook she made of her great-grandfather, in this artisan spotlight.

What inspired you to become a weaver and what do you love most about the craft?

I have been a knitter for 20 years and have always enjoyed fiber arts. My Mom taught me to knit when I was a teenager and it was a nice way for us to connect when I was that age. We still enjoy getting together and knitting. I love the process of creating and find it gratifying to be involved in the creation of something beautiful and tangible. To be able to see and touch what I have made is really rewarding. It’s a great way for me to spend my work day.

What part of you is most engaged by weaving?

I like to create something that is functional and lovely to look at. I’ve worked in the service industry before and while I enjoyed getting to know people, it is not as gratifying as being involved in the creative process. Weaving touches a part of me that has just not been engaged by other work.

Do you have a particular process when you weave? For example, do you listen to certain music, do you have any tricks to throwing the shuttle? Is there a certain way you manage the warp? What’s special about how you weave that differs from any other weaver?

I take a conscientious approach to my weaving. For instance, I’m a stickler for making sure that there are no skips in my selvedge edges. I know that after I have completed weaving a throw it will be going up to the finishing room for stitching the binding and quality control. I’m friendly with that crew and I want to give them a piece that has few if any errors in the weave.

Do you have something something special in your life that you will pass on to your next generation?

My great-grandfather, Robert Weymouth, performed in air shows in the 1960’s through 80’s as Maine’s Flying Farmer. I have very fond memories of him, and I treasure a scrapbook that I made as a young child that contains photos, articles and other memorabilia. Robert started his career as a fighter pilot in World War II. His act really brought out both his skill as a flyer and his sense of humor. After working the crowd, he would hop the fence and run to his J3 Piper named “Mr. Ed”.  The shocked crowd would watch as he took off and performed stunts like stalling the engine and hanging out of the cabin.

He passed away in 1987 and Mr. Ed is now part of the Owls Head Transportation Museum collection. I want my son to know about his great-great-grandfather. I hope he gets to know him not just as a performer, but also as a wonderful person who loved his family, made the most of each day, and brought joy to many people’s lives. I see these qualities in my one year old son already, and through him I remember my great-grandfathers joyful smiles and hair raising stunts. 

_O4R3477-sm

Celebrating Family Legacies: Alessandra

/ ,

At Swans Island we believe in creating items thoughtfully and responsibly. We craft items that are meant to last and be passed on from one generation to another. Today we’d like to introduce you to one of our weavers in this artisan spotlight. Alessandra hand weaves blankets and wraps here at Swans Island.

What inspired you to become a weaver?

The first time I visited Swans Island I brought my kids and we toured the workshop. The sales person gave my kids raw fleece which they played with while we watched the weavers ply their trade. I knew then, in the back of my mind, that I would come to work here some day. The fact that weaving is a traditional woman’s trade really inspired me.

What part of you is most engaged by weaving?

My timing comes through my feet. My feet need to be in rhythm with the loom in order to engage the shed pedal. My non-work life is very busy and involved in a multitude of daily tasks. My work at Swans allows me to be in the now, focused on the task of building this blanket. I’m able to get lost in the concentration.

Artisan spotlight Swans Island Weaver Alexandra

Do you have a particular process when you weave? For example, do you listen to certain music, do you have any tricks to throwing the shuttle? Is there a certain way you manage the warp? What’s special about how you weave that differs from any other weaver?

When I get to my loom I like to do a thorough check of the loom. I pay particular attention to the pedal position. I like to listen to classic rock because I know all the words and love the uptempo beat.

Each of us have items that are special to us–legacy items that are passed down from one generation to another, could you tell us about something that’s special to you? 

My Granddad retired the year I was born. He became my primary babysitter. I’d spend the summers with him on Sanibel Island in Florida and he’d take me fishing, shelling, and woodworking in his workshop. Each day we’d spend hours on the beach watching sand pipers weaving in and out of the waves. From an early age, I brought him his tools as he worked on various woodworking projects. Eventually, I was allowed to help finish sand the pieces. Granddad made many carvings of sand pipers, and I have one that I actually sanded. It lives in my kitchen next to my cookbooks.

My own children knew my grandfather when he was alive and love to hear stories about my early childhood with him. They are captivated by the carved sand piper. It’s a piece of him that is also a part of our household and reminds me of those warm summer days spent with Granddad.

Artisan spotlight Swans Island Weaver AlexandraNext time we’ll be featuring Shelby’s interview and her legacy item.

Swans Island Company, Handcrafted in Maine USA Since 1992

Thanks for visiting.
We no longer support your browser but maybe you’d like to update.