Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hangin' With the Amish

My most recent job brought me to a part of the country I had never seen. I'm working in York, PA, which is 45 minutes from the heart of Lancaster County/Intercourse/Amish country. The original job looked like it would take less than a week, but due to unforeseen circumstances, it looks like I will be stationed here much longer. It isn't too hot and the countryside is beautiful, as you can see from my Amish laundry picture (taken as I was driving) so I'm okay with that.

In a way I was glad to extend my visit as it allowed me to visit Lancaster County yesterday. Had a wonderful, surreal time wandering around Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, where I found several great yarn shops and a lovely quilt museum. There are Amish buggies zooming all over the place and it all seems very authentic, not commercialized as much as you would think.

I was on a quest for local handspun yarn and I found some. I posted a photo of the 3 skeins I bought. The two on the left are natural-colored (one very grey and the other medium brown, which didn't photograph well) and spun from Corriedale sheep on a nearby farm. I bought them in Labadie Looms enroute to Intercourse from a fascinating shop owner that told me her family had been weaving/spinning for 300 years.

I love the golden yarn on the right. I bought it at Lancaster Yarn Shop (see two violinists playing on their back steps in the photo). It was also spun locally from Corriedale sheep and said on the tag it was "aster dyed". It looks like over 200 yards of worsted weight (already balled!) and only set me back $8.95. I can see it knitted up into a complicated, lush winter scarf. That color would look great with any color of outerwear.

York is an interesting area. I hate driving here as they are even more aggressive than Dallas drivers, but my hotel situation is great. The teenagers and 20-somethings here are some of the most polite I've encountered anywhere in my US travels. I'm planning to see Hershey and re-visit Amish country before I leave. I'm also about an hour north of Baltimore and two hours from Delaware. If I make it to those two states I can mark them off my states-I-need-to-visit list.