The idea came to me last week Wednesday as I was washing my second harvest of wool. A road trip was in order. Unlike First Harvest, handspun entirely, the second and all subsequent harvests will be spun at a mill. This is an important detail in the story of Second Harvest, one that I felt deserved footage in the video I am creating to mark its launch. Therefore, I would need to actually visit the mill in order to capture the story of the yarn’s provenance.
We happen to be blessed with a number of fantastic fiber mills within a short, comfortable drive. In the interest of doing business locally, my intent was to work with any one of them to create the yarns that will define both Second and Third Harvest. Had I decided to do so 6 or even 3 months ago, this would have been a non-story. But that’s just not how I roll, I’m afraid. I wish I was that person who had it all together. The impending deadline of the Taproot/Squam Art Fair, where I will be debuting Second Harvest (yahoo!) made the decision an easy one swayed by turnaround time – I had not yet even finished washing the wool, much less sent it off for carding and spinning. So while I was not able to easily drive the wool to a mill within spitting distance, I was able to keep it in the same geographic region (the Midwest) albeit traversing a time zone. (I’m using the same mill that processed so beautifully the First Harvest wool into the delicious mozzarella-rope-looking combed top that I later dyed and spun myself.)
With my mom riding shotgun, we hopped in the car at 4am on Tuesday, the kids brimming with excitement despite the ungodly hour. 8 hours later, we arrived in East Central Michigan, the trunk near-bursting with bags of washed wool, my fingers stiff from gripping the wheel through Chicago traffic, construction zones, and two lengthy downpours.
We met the eager and generous folks who received my wool; we gave them our rapt attention as they guided us through the beautiful mix of wood and iron machinery that made up the yarn portion of the mill. A sample skein of yarn hung around each of our necks as we left, like wooly leis, proof that we had witnessed something magnificent.
And then we got to the real meat of the trip – the indoor water park that awaited us at the hotel. “Finally!” said the young ones, after dutifully putting in the time on the road with nary a complaint, and they wasted no time at all getting wet.
By the time our heads met the pillow on Tuesday night, we rested easily on the conviction that a person could not have possibly fit more into a single day – getting up before the sun, the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, cheddar bunnies, THE BEST MOVIE IN THE WHOLE WORLD to watch on the iPad, (“Puke,” said the Grownups. “Thank god for earbuds.”) a woolen mill, waterslides and beach balls, dirndls everywhere, a covered bridge, peacocks, sauerkraut, lollipop ring suckers, and even…..Climax.
Twice – on the way there and back. Time on the road sure does fly by with a road sign like that to snicker at. Gosh, it was a great time.