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Archive for October, 2012

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Hey. Feeling very on top of things these days.

Well, on top of some things.

And one of these is our Annual Call for Scarves (ACFS). Remember Scarves, etc? You gave us such great pieces last year that we’d like to do a repeat. Last year we didn’t get around to asking you for designs until November. THIS year, however, we’re still in October. So good.

So what are we looking for? The perfect scarf–even if it’s a cowl, a shawl, or the classic skinny rectangle. We’d like to see your idea, be it original and wacky, classic and comforting, sophisticated, cute, textured, colored, cowled, wrapped, shawled, short- or long-ended. What we want is the scarf you want to live in. And one that’s relatively easy to knit (we think scarves should be comfort knitting).

So, please–send us your design(s). We’d love to have your submission by Nov 8. If we accept your idea, we’ll get yarn to you pronto and hope to see your finished piece by the beginning of January. You’ll get to keep your scarf when all is photographed and done, and we’ll pay you, too, for your design.

Please submit your ideas via email to Scan your swatch and sketch (rough drawing is fine) and put SCARF in the subject line. No need to use a Quince yarn in your swatch, we’ll get the idea and, if we accept your idea, we’ll send you a Quince equivalent. Questions? Email us at

Okay–come on! Send in those ideas!




Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Meet Noreen, our production manager. In the photo above, she’s skeining Chickadee in preparation for dyeing–(oh so soon, now). Most commercial yarns are package- dyed on the cone. The dye solution is forced through the wound yarn, a procedure that changes the nature of the goods. Not so at Saco River Dyehouse. We’ll be skein dyeing, a process especially suited for hand-knitting yarns. Dipping skeins in a dye bath opens and ‘blooms’ the yarn, the better to preserve its soft hand and loft. Skein dyeing is labor intensive, but the results are so worth it.

Note the skeining machine. Yarn from the spinning mill is shipped to the dyehouse on cones. The yarn ends from the cones on the left are threaded through the overhead frames, then directed down and then fastened to the revolving skeining machine on the right. The arms on the skeining machine are opened and set to a given diameter. The machine spins around a specific number of times, depending on the weight of the skein we’re making. For thinner yarns, it goes around more times than it does for thicker yarns–more yards per skein means more resolutions. Cool, no?

When the machine stops, Noreen ties off each skein in three places to hold the strands together through the dye process. One tie, even two, sometimes, and you have a tangled mess at the end. Noreen holds a pair of clippers (orange handles) to snip the ends of the ties.

Thus is the yarn readied for dyeing.




Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Time for a progress report. Saco River Dyehouse is coming along. Hard to believe we’re only a few weeks away from dyeing our first skein. OMG, as they say. Pinch me.

Little by little, the space is coming together. Store, offices, warehouse, prep and shipping area, boiler room, and dye house proper are coming into focus. We have…

sheet rock.

We have…

windows and daylight instead of plywood fill-ins.

We have…


We have…

tanks in place for a visitor from Bulgaria to look into.

We have…


And we have…

a friend.

Friday, October 12th, 2012


So I’m picturing a string of twinkly lights with lame cord casing. If you worked a flat cord, it would automatically curl around that green plastic wire, right? Eyelets for the bulbs?




Friday, October 5th, 2012

Taproot is a lovely thing—a magazine–about family life centered on relishing  the natural world and time together in it. The magazine is about making things, growing things, and taking pleasure in words and images. If you’re familiar with the blog soulemama, it won’t surprise you that author and family blogger Amanda Soule is one of Taproot’s founders/contributors.

You won’t find glossy ads in the pages of Taproot. Instead you might find out how to cook with dandelion greens, a crop that even a two-year-old can harvest, about a woman’s efforts to raise hens in her urban community, and what’s important about dirt. If you, or someone on your knee, should ask, “What’s dirt made of?,” you’ll learn what’s in it and why it’s precious.  More: Taproot is laced with short poems and winsome photography. My favorite picture in the first issue, photographed by Meredith Winn, shows a seedling just starting to thrive–in dirt–in an egg shell planter held oh-so carefully in little hands.

As knitters, we know the pleasures of family knitting. Wrapping our needles around things meant for someone we love. It’s a tangible way of wrapping arms around that person, a way to nurture both self and other. How often do we get to do that? So, it’s only natural that Taproot includes a little knitting.

Carrie Hoge designed a set of family mittens (shown below in mom size) that appear in the current (third issue) of the magazine. They’re easily knit, and quick.

Clever lady that Carrie is, she wrote one pattern and tweaked the sizing by having the mittens worked in 4 weights of yarn, from Puffiin for Dad down to Chickadee for a toddler.

In the next issue of Taproot, you’ll find a Carrie-designed cozy knitted blanket. So keep an eye out for issue #4 and check here often–we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as it’s available.!



Monday, October 1st, 2012

Just down the street from us lives Cecily Glowik-MacDonald, a gifted designer, prolific producer of sweaters, and treasured friend. Her first self-published book, Landing, is a collection of eight of her own top-down, seamless sweaters, plus four accessories designed by Portland friends and designers, Dawn Catanzaro, Bristol Ivy, and Allison Jane. The pieces in Landing are gentle and spirited, photographed by Carrie in Cecily’s blue-doored antique cape snuggled in downtown Portland. Happily for us, Cecily used Osprey in Frost (the palest of grays) for Spindrift, her live-in-it cardigan and Puffin in Lichen for Bristol’s texturey cowl (above).

For her palette, Cecily took soft, muted colors from collected bits of beach glass–bottle green, milky white, faded blue, and a soft coppery red.

One of the things I’m drawn to in Cecily’s designs is her clever use of placed stitch patterns. Note how nicely Osprey shows up the texture in the back panel of the Spindrift cardi (below) and how it pops that garter-stitch collar.

And Cecily’s silhouettes are always easy to wear, just bind off, do a quick steam, and don.

For more on Cecily and her designs, visit her blog, Winged Knits.





(blog is Wingedknits)