Just in time to start thinking about fall and winter projects, we're delighted to introduce our exclusive churro yarn. Hand-dyed using traditional plant dyes by master textile artist and archeaobotanist (and New Mexico State Archaeologist) Glenna Dean, these yarns glow with the colors of time. Available in Two-Ply in Taos and Santa Fe hues, and Three-Ply in Santa Fe and Taos hues.
Indeed, if you'd been a settler in New Mexico in colonial times, you would probably have used yarn just like this, locally spun from wool humanely sheared from ethically raised flocks, hand-dyed using rain- or well-water and native plants, ...
sun-dried, all made close to your rancho if not actually on-site. These are the yarns you'd have used to make the bedspread for your marriage bed (using colcha embroidery designs, of course), or to make faces and hair for the rag dolls you made for your little ones out of the few fabric scraps that were no longer usable for larger projects. If you were a fashion plate with time to spare (in other words, an unmarried, upper class woman with servants to do the dirty work), perhaps you'd have felted some flowers to decorate your hat or a brooch. (See an example below and to the right.) As a young mother, you might have made churro-wool-yarn baby toys to get just a little bit more time before the little ones started clamoring for attention. Plant-dyed churro yarn would have figured so prominently in your life back then, and now, thanks to Glenna Dean and NearSea Naturals, it can again!
And the churro sheep, they're a story in and of themselves -- a story of tragedy but ultimately of hope and triumph. The churro sheep is recognized by Slow Food USA as an Ark Of Taste item, where they say that "The Navajo-Churro sheep boasts many attractive characteristics. The meat is lean with distinctive, sweet lamb flavor. In addition to excellent meat production, these sheep provide abundant milk and have a highly desirable fleece. The sheep is hardy, living lightly on the land and requiring less water and grass than other sheep. The sheep is long legged with a narrow body and fine bones. The coat is prized its variant array of natural colors. " Of course, we appreciate the sheep for its fiber rather than its flavor! (Look at the great picture -- I love that the churro sheep have three and even four horns.)
Glenna's an amazing, incredible resource and we're so fortunate to have her making these yarns for us. Just talking with her is an education -- indeed, we never want to let her stop talking because we keep learning more in each casual conversation! She's well-published in archaeological and textile circles, does fun things like keynote at conferences, goes out to (sustainably) collect dyestuff for yarns herself as well as maintaining a dyestuff garden, oh, and has a very important day job as well. She's truly enthusiastic about what she does, and about the need for maintaining -- and in many cases reintroducing -- sustainability in the local yarn world, and we believe her ethics make her a perfect fit for NearSea Naturals. Plus, did we mention that the churro yarn is absolutely gorgeous? It's a joy to work with.