In September 2013, Shelagh and her husband took our father and step-mother on a trip to Nova Scotia. They flew to Halifax and then rented a car to tour around. Of course, the tour included several days along the beautiful Cabot Trail, ending in the small town of Badeck.
Before travelling to a new place, I like to research local yarn spinners and dyers as well as local yarn stores. I like to support local small businesses anyplace I visit.
I discovered a store playfully named Baadeck Yarns, which sold yarn from a Nova Scotia spinner/dyer Fleece Artist. The company was established in 1979 and is still going strong; they sell yarns throughout Canada and the United States.
When I first walked into Baadeck Yarns, I was drawn to a green and purple variegated yarn. The store owner saw my interest and started chatting with me. She told me the colourway was called "Scottish Thistle," which made me love it all the more because of my connection to Scotland: I have family there I've visited several times! She also told me about the yarn maker, Fleece Artist, who creates a variety of different yarns. The one I was drawn to was from the Tosca line and is 96% Merino and 4% nylon, spun and hand dyed into a thick and thin, slubby yarn. The store owner suggested knitting something using a simple stitch to emphasize the texture of the yarn. She suggested a knit2, purl2 variation on seed stitch.
When I got home, I tried the pattern: it's simple but it really does show off the texture of the yarn. And the Tosca is lovely to work with because of the Merino. That's because Merino is a fine wool with a smooth finish. Merino is one of the wools that has what's called "next-to-the-skin" soft, and it's both warm and breathable. Mixing Merino with nylon in the spinning process makes the fine wool slightly stronger and more likely to keep the shape of the final, knitted item. I loved working with it to create a lovely scarf; here's a detail from the finished scarf.
Another Tosca yarn that caught my eye was dyed in a purple/blue colourway called "Lupins." I used the same simple pattern to make another scarf but didn't make it as wide. Again, the yarn was wonderful to work with—soft and strong—but this time in richer colour.
Next time I visit Nova Scotia I want to visit Fleece Artist in Mineville. In fact, I'd love to do a yarn tour of that province!
I did so much yarn shopping at Baadeck Yarns that I now research yarn stores and local fibre artists before travelling anywhere! I know I'll be able to make something special from each journey.