I wrote almost a couple of weeks ago about the lists I’ve been making and trying to finish up before Yarn Con, but what I haven’t written about are some of the things I’ve already finished.
During my last school vacation, I spent some time working with Carla of cjkoho Designs on a project that we’ve been collaborating on since August.
A dear friend, Mary, cares for a small flock of sheep on the west side of Michigan. I’ve purchased a few fleeces from her in the past, and love the Blue Faced Leister/Romney cross sheep that she has in her flock. It’s truly a dream to spin, and I love that I know the shepherd, and feel connected to her flock as though they are somehow friends by extension.
Carla and I visited with Mary this fall at the Michigan Fiber Festival, and Carla, too, fell in love with the fleece. So much so, that we grabbed up all eight that Mary brought to show us. . .and we fought off people in the parking lot who were eager to see the beautiful wool and take it home themselves. Our vision was to have all of this Michigan grown fleece processed into yarn, right here in Michigan, dyed in Carla’s studio, and then supported with patterns designed by yours truly. The vision is to welcome our customers to the good parts of Michigan; we’ve called the yarn Welcome Home. The process has been awesome in the way that only projects that push you to grow can be.
This labor of love, from the state we love is being released to the public at Yarn Con in just a few days, and we were interviewed about it by Jennifer at CraftSanity when we met up at MidWest CraftCon in Columbus. . .but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m one of those “shop local” people. I love to go to locally owned stores. I don’t mind paying a bit more for ethically produced products. We buy organic when we can. . .you get the idea. I don’t snub big box stores completely, there are certainly reasons to shop with larger corporations too, but I have bought into the idea that my local dollars spent locally help my neighbors and friends who own businesses locally.
It’s another reason I love going to fiber festivals. I can meet the artists who dyed the yarn, I can see photos of the sheep that grew the fleece, and maybe meet the farmers who raised them. Even if the dyers don’t live in my little town just outside of Detroit, that connection is important to me. Friends in fiber. Knit from the same cloth. (Yes, that horrible pun was intentional. Go with me.)
I’ve never really complained much about the cost of hand dyed yarn, but know it’s pricier. An artist touched it. Worked her magic on it. Thoughtfully created something beautiful for me to use. It’s worth the extra cost.
What I had never done for any length of time is to spend time in the studio with one of those artists.
Holy Crow. Is that a lot of work.
P.S. I've got a batch of patterns to look at in my inbox fresh from the tech editor and graphic artist I'm working with. Some of which are refreshed patterns already in my Ravelry library. If you've been thinking about one of them, now is the time to add them. Next week, all customers will get an update, and the price will go up. Take a look!