We are Nikki Solomon and Maria Muscarella, two Work At Home Mountain Mamas. We met through our love of plants many years ago. Our lives continued on similar paths through our families, our love of nature, the desire to roll around in soft fleeces, knitting, and spinning!
No. Though ferns make wonderful dye plants, our yarns are traditional wool, alpaca, and other animal fibers.
Our Local line of yarn comes from our farmer friends living near us in the mountains of NC. We’ve been to their farms and gotten to know them as well as their sheep and alpaca. We see first hand how lovingly and ethically they treat their wooly friends. We attend the shearings and select the perfect, luscious fleeces to create Fern Fiber’s yarn. Then we hand deliver these fleeces to our local mill to be spun.
Many of our plant dyes are hand gathered from our gardens and the forests surrounding our homes. Since it takes more raw plant material (versus extracts) to dye yarn, we often save these hand harvested dyes for our local yarns. We also use dried plant material and extracts that we purchase from fabulous natural dyeing businesses.
Mordants are substances that assist dyes in bonding with the yarn. Some plant dyes do not require mordanting. They have the chemicals within them to mordant themselves in the dyeing process. If a dye does need a mordant, we use such things as oak galls, alum, occasionally iron, and rarely copper.
Ah, lovely indigo. It has such an ancient and amazing history, and it is the only plant that we dye using fermented vats. Most natural dyes form a chemical bond with the fiber, assisted by mordants that we may use. Indigo, however, forms a physical bond and, due to the oils in your skin and the physical friction created when knitting, some of the indigo is likely to rub off on your hands. This is called “crocking” and is a fun part of the process when knitting with indigo. But, do not worry, once your garment is knitted and washed, most of the crocking will have taken place and you will be free to wear you lovely items without looking like a Smurf.
We really LOVE seeing our yarn worked into new designs!! We are a very small business and can only offer limited yarn support, but we would love to hear your ideas. Please contact us if you are wanting to use Fern Fiber in your knitwear designs.
We are occasionally able to offer wholesale. Please contact us for more information.