On a very hot and humid, sunny day in July, we found Marcia MacDonald doing what she loves - naturally dyeing yarn.
Marcia lives in Buxton, in a lovely old Maine farmhouse which she and her husband are restoring, with hope that these renovations will result in a designated studio space for Marcia. There is a barn for a flock of sheep and alpacas, which at the moment is about 25 animals. The grounds are scattered with multiple dye gardens, with new garden ideas planned. It is a challenge to keep up with all the work that this lifestyle requires, but as a team, they do it!
Marcia has been dyeing yarn for about 20 years. She had a plant background, and when she and her husband bought their farm, she became intrigued with the idea of dyeing wool with the plants she grew.
The yarn that Lana Plantae offers for sale is wool from their farm and other small regional farms. Since a lot of the world's yarn is milled overseas where harsh chemicals are often used to clean and soften the fibers, Marcia's goal was to minimally process their hand picked fleeces using a gentle, certified organic wash, and dye the yarn by using plants and insects that create lasting color without damaging the environment. (Some chemically produced dyes can be derived from coal tar and manufactured in factories that pollute air and water.) The result is, simply, a wool that feels like wool. The colors are vibrant but never garish; the natural colors all work very well together.
We hope to carry some of Lana Plantae's yarn on the Fiber of Maine website and in our brick and mortar shop Heavenly Yarns in the near future. At the very least, we hope to send it to our subscribers, paired with a pattern. In the meantime, their yarn is available on Etsy, and they will be at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity in September and New York Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck in October. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.