Monday, July 25, 2011

A Day Trip To Block Island for Fiber Fun

From guest blogger Ellen H.:

On a beautiful, sunny day in July. Karen and Ellen took a day trip to Block Island. Nobody needs an excuse to head to Block Island in July, but our travelers had a purpose: to visit the North Light Fibers and tour their fully operational fiber mill where natural luxury fibers such as alpaca, camel and yak are dyed and spun.

North Light Fibers is a labor of love by longtime Islanders Sven and Laura Risom. In addition to sharing their love of fibers, the Risoms are motivated by a desire to prove that manufacturing can have a place in the local economy, which is otherwise almost completely dedicated to tourism. In fact, they are the only manufacturing on the Island and had to get a zoning change before they could open their small, single-room mill above their outlet store.

The location could not be better! A very easy walk from the ferry terminal in Old Harbor, on their way to the mill visitors pass Abrams Farm, which houses a wonderful collection of unusual animals, mostly in open fields where people can interact quite closely. There are fiber-bearing animals such as llamas and camels, but also kangaroos, emus, lemurs and a giant tortoise. Through a farm gate (don't let the alpacas out!), a short walk up a gravel drive brings you to North Light. If you arrive by 10 am, Sven will give you a personal tour of the mill operation. It tends to get rather hot and steamy later in the day, especially when the dye baths are cooking!

The company store sells yarn, batts and roving, and finished goods: woven, knit, crocheted and needle-felted. Karen bought some luscious yak-and-wool yarn and Ellen bought a small, throw rug, loom-woven out of dyed alpaca in sunset shades. What luxury!

Afterward, our travelers met up with friend-of-the-shop Kathy Lang to see her show of monotype prints (lovely!) and enjoy a relaxing lunch on the veranda and the Spring House Hotel.

Both our travelers had a such a good time and enjoyed such a hearty welcome from Sven and Laura, that we thought we'd put an idea out to our blog readers. Would you like Fresh Purls to organize a day trip to Block Island to visit the mill? Perhaps in sometime in September?  Let us know in the comments if you would be interested in going as a group.

1 comment:

  1. Yes please! I've never ben to Block Island and it sounds like fun.