United States, Sweet Tree Hill Farm / Kathleen Oliver, Knitting
Sweet Tree Hill Farm is located in the hills of Central Virginia, in Cumberland County. Arriving on Christmas in 2007, Kathleen Oliver has been working hard to renovate this 100 year old property of 20 acres with many old pecan, walnut and pear trees, hence the name of the farm. The old house is a bungalow style farm house which overlooks an 8 acre 20 foot deep pond. The farm’s mission is to provide American-raised Shetland yarn, unique original patterns, and artisan quality clothing such as socks made on the farm where the wool is grown.
Oliver raises Shetland and Gotland sheep, heritage breeds that are from the Northern Short Tail group with Viking beginnings. She designs yarn from their wool and uses the yarn to knit socks. These socks are knitted on a hundred year old sock machine. They are either knitted with the natural colours of the wool or Kathleen hand dyes the yarn. Some designs have Fair Isle details on the cuff while others are less traditional. The wool is minimally processed with light washing and spun into a 2-ply yarn with small additives for softness and durability, like Merino and nylon. Socks are then knitted one at a time on an old Legare 400 machine, manufactured around 1900-1920. Each machine was built by hand with metals that are no longer used in manufacturing. The socks are then washed, steamed and designed with comfort and function in mind. They are packaged with washing instructions and include a little bobbin of extra yarn if future darning is needed.
To follow the story of Sweet Tree Hill Farm, find them on social media here.