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  • Brusca Umpqua

    It's August and we had a few days of cool weather here in the Pacific Northwest before the summer heat returned.  I finished my Umpqua sweater and was actually able to wear it couple of early mornings while taking my new puppy out for a walk.  I'm loving the sweater knit up in the Brusca yarn that I brought home from my Portugal trip in June (we also now carry it at Tolt!).  Brusca yarn is the newest yarn from Retrosaria and I couldn't wait to try it!  

    Visiting Portugal has been at the top of my list, I have wanted to visit the country where my Nana's family is from and also to meet the lovely Rosa Pomar of Retrosaria.  We have been working with Rosa for a few years now, importing her beautiful Portuguese wool yarn that she has worked so hard to create.  Rosa has been turning the wool industry around in her home country and distributing her yarn to yarn shops across the world.  So when the opportunity to travel to Portugal with a group of fiber friends came up, I jumped on it!

    Retrosaria, in Lisbon, is more than just a yarn shop.  Rosa carries goods from local crafts people, from handmade shoes, baskets, wool pillows, to jeans from a local factory. She also offers bolts of fabric, including some beautiful wool from the Burel Wool Factory.  Rosa treated us to a Portuguese knitting lesson which was fun, it is a really enjoyable and comfortable way to knit (I need to keep practicing!).  I purchased a beautiful pair of handmade leather sandals, a basket, a pillow case, and, of course, yarn for my Umpqua sweater.  If you find yourself in Lisbon, be sure to visit this gorgeous shop!

    Meeting Rosa for the first time and wearing my Tecumsah sweater (pattern by Caitlin Hunter) knit in João yarn.

    Rosa teaching us how to knit the Portuguese way.

    One of the highlights of this trip was meeting Theresa, a hand spinner from Bucos who makes the yarn Bucos that Rosa stocks in her shop and distributes to us.  Theresa has been spinning since she was a child and still spins yarn today for her  sock knitting and blanket weaving (which she does with her friend Ana) and for Retrosaria. 

    We also spent time up in the mountains, near the Burel Wool Factory (which we visited and I purchased a large wrap). Being up in the mountain town allowed us the opportunity to go on a hike.  A few of us set out on a 13 mile day hike, which was beautiful and hot. We took pleasure in filling up our water bottles from the mountain springs.  Water never tasted so good!  

    The Port-ewe-gals on our way up to the mountains.

    Towards the end of the trip Rosa took us to the small town of Folgosa da Madalena for the São João's Day sheep blessing.  This event was an absolute wonder to experience, and I feel so honored to have been able to witness it! (please visit our Instagram account where you can see more from this trip including my collection Portugal stories).

    On the flight home I cast on my Umpqua sweater using the newly purchased Brusca yarn which I carried on the plane in my new basket from Retrosaria.  I am so happy with the way this yarn knits up, and with my new sweater.  I'm happy to add this sweater to my collection of Portuguese wool knits!


    Please visit our Instagram account for more photos from this trip and my dear friend, and roommate in Portugal, Karen Templer, wrote a wonderful series of blog posts about our trip.

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