Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Buy Handmade! (VERY Handmade!)

Recently I have begun collaborating with a friend of mine who dyes and spins yarn. You may remember her - she was the same person who comissioned me to knit I don't know how many earflap hats from her handspun yarn one Christmas. We've taken it one step further and are selling things now at craft fairs and on etsy.

I know quite a few people make a living or augment their income with selling hand knit or crocheted goods. I am trying to be one of them! But what Wendy(for that is my cohort's name) and I are doing takes that a step beyond. Wendy does not buy her yarn, then dye it. She spins it herself on an actual spinning wheel, in an actual crowded and chaotic craft room, not very unlike my own craft room. She has a hand cranked wheel for carding wool that may some day give her tennis elbow. She stinks up her place soaking and washing and drying fleeces. When we say we are making these things by hand, we mean from the sheep to the shelf.

Wendy usually gets fleeces from Romeldale sheep, an American breed which is critically endangered. I even have the names of the sheep she gets the fleeces from SOMEWHERE in my craft area. They produce a very soft and springy wool that dyes up beautifully, as you can see in the image below.
I sometimes want to keep this hat for myself.
Some of the fleece Wendy uses is what we call Mystery Wool. A friend or an acquaintance says, "Oh? You spin? I have a fleece for you!" and then the next thing she knows, she has a fleece with an unknown provenance, with characteristics yet to be discovered. And other times she just happens on a good deal.

On my end, it's a bit of a challenge. I never know what yarn I will be working with next. The gauge changes, the texture changes, the style changes, according to Wendy's whim. This means everything is unique, and that I am really never knitting or crocheting the same thing twice. It keeps me on my toes, and I am constantly developing patterns which incorporate versatility to keep up with the yarn.

But what does this all mean for you, Gentle Reader? It means you can get handspun, hand knit/crocheted stuff from us! Stuff that will last! Stuff that is so removed from big box store yarn that it doesn't even know what a box is! Imagine!

Do check out our etsy shop.


arianna said...

I am soooo late getting around to reading this (my blog reading is super behind, I am sorry!) but the link to your Etsy shop does not work! Has it changed?

Christine Jewett said...

My blog entries are super behind, so no worries! I fixed the links. :)