Featured Maine Maker: Lana Plantae Farmed Yarns
About the Lana Plantae Family
Buxton-based business Lana Plantae, Latin for wool and the plant kingdom, is the product of Marcia, a Maine horticulturist, and Desmond, who grew up with a family that raised sheep in Saint Kitts in the Caribbean. For 20 years alongside their now-grown children, they have been raising alpaca and sheep, tending to their farm, shearing, delivering baby alpaca and sheep, and creating beautifully cozy yarns. The yarns are dyed naturally with an array of dye plants grown on the farm. The result is a rainbow of bright but naturally colored yarn just waiting to become your new favorite sweater.
The Lana Plantae Process
Lana Plantae uses natural dyes to create vibrant colors reflective of the earth, weather and climate of Maine. Their process showcases the sustainable values of their family farm: to reduce and reuse.
- Step 1, Careful Collection: During the abundance of summer, plant material for dyes is minimally cut and carefully gathered to leave a supply for the animals and insects. The plant material is then weighed to ensure the dye is sufficiently strong.
- Step 2, Simmer: The plants are simmered in a large pot of water that sits overnight, beginning the stages of creating luminous color.
- Step 3, Mordants: Yarns simmer in these metal salts (a process called mordanting) to help create a chemical bond between the dye and fiber. The mordant baths are reused, being dumped only when their properties have been completely exhausted.
- Step 4, Water: Water from a nearby river, tap water or collected rainwater is added to create different color outcomes.
- Step 5, Dyeing: The mordanted yarn is put into a cool dye bath and simmered.
Where To Find Them
- On the farm: The farm is open to the public by appointment. In addition to purchasing their products, you can learn about the yarn-making process and meet the fuzzy creatures that make it all possible! Reach them by phone (207-710-9533) or send them an email: [email protected].
- Online store: lanaplantae.com/shop
- Retail store: Knitting Nook – 124 Sawyer St., South Portland
- Festivals and events: Stay up to date on their events page and Facebook page. You can also give them a follow on Instagram: @lanaplantae.