A Pilgrimage to Hedgehog

I’m Emma’s mom, Cyndi, and I’ve just returned from the most amazing trip.  Emma agreed to let me do a guest post for her blog. I’m so excited, and maybe still a big jet lagged, so please be understanding.

Being of Irish decent, I’ve always dreamed of visiting Ireland, and finally, after decades of waiting, I made the trek in with my husband and three of my dearest friends. I’ve known these people for some 35 years, and though we now live hundreds of miles apart, these are the kind of friends that, no matter how long you’ve been apart, you just pick up again—right where you left off.  It was magical—everything I’ve ever dreamed of.

My daughter, Emma, has me in the habit of doing something “fiberish” on every vacation, so, despite that I was the only “yarnie” on this trip, they humored me with a couple of stops.  The first was Hedgehog Fibres in Co. Cork.

You might have heard of Hedgehog Fibres. They sell hand-dyed yarn in stores all over the world. There is a shop that carries their yarn in my hometown, Kansas City , But I’ve also seen it in Topeka, KS, Omaha, NE, and Austin, TX. Because of their reach, you might expect a big, impersonal, warehouse in an industrial area, but Hedgehog Fibres is anything but impersonal.  They don’t have a shop, but they have a showroom. They sometimes have tour buses stop by, and shop owners, but even single visitors are treated to an Irish welcome.

When you walk in, you’re greeted by Hope–Literally. Hope is a big friendly dog who just wants everyone to be happy.

Hope the dog

Right after a lovely greeting, you’re offered coffee or tea. (Great coffee, I might add.) This made the other four of our little group very happy, and I was told to take as much time as I wanted.

While the gang sipped coffee, Liz gave me a personal tour. I saw the dying rooms, the yarn wall, where they dry, wind and sort. Everything is done by hand. Despite the fact that everyone was very busy, Liz took her time explaining the process and showing me around. Everyone was welcoming and willing to answer questions.  They have about 140 colors (or colours, as the case may be) that are the core of what retailers choose. The dyers also create some “potlucks”, one-of-a-kind dye lots that let the dyers have fun and be creative.  (That’s what I bought the most of.)

If you ever get to Co. Cork, stop by and see Hope and the gang. They will make you feel right at home.  I just can’t get over how hospitable everyone was. But if you can’t get there, you can look for the yarn at your local shop, or buy online. I ended up with some sock yarn for me (because yeah, it’ s me) and some great stuff for Emma. I hope she’ll show you what becomes of it.

If I can talk her into another guest spot, I’ll take you to the Kissane Sheep Farm in Co. Kerry next.  Until then, Slán go foil.

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