Blog Archives

A yarn about how kindness pays….

I had something super exciting happen the other day (Sunday) and I really wanted to share.   See, it was all the result of what I saw as a little act of kindness on my part…

This is a bit long, so grab your beverage of choice and bear with me if you want to come along…

To start the story… I got involved in a spinning group several years ago, where you could take fiber from someone who didn’t spin and turn it into yarn for them in exchange for a portion of the fiber for yourself. I agreed to also dye the wool I got sent into two different colours for the lady. As time went by, I managed to get it done, it just took a bit longer than I originally expected and made sure to keep her updated on the status of the projects. When I was finally finished and ready to send her the yarn, I found she had unfriended me and was no longer in the group we originally met in. So I searched for her on FB and sent her a message that her yarn was ready and waited to hear from her. Months passed and while the little icon said she had read my message, I heard nothing back from her. After a year, I figured she wasn’t going to claim her yarns.

Enter some of my dad’s friends from online.   He had been to visit them last summer in person and they had put him and mom up at their home for week while they were there. No money was allowed to be paid for food or lodging, just come and visit us. It was a kindness they hadn’t expected and have tried to do small things to send some of the kindness in return.  The wife of the couple crochets in her down time and I thought it might be nice to send her one of the skeins of unclaimed yarn as a gift, just pay for shipping and I was cool.  She was thrilled at the chance to receive it and was more than willing to cover shipping.  When I checked in to be sure she had gotten her parcel, it turned out she had and both her and her husband were in love with my work. She paid for the shipping and added a little extra for me, a pleasant surprise I was happy to get.  Her next message came back with “Did I happen to have anymore that she could actually buy from me please?”

Well, I had a suitcase full and some extra that I had set aside, that I was willing to sell and offered some group shot pictures to let her know what I had. Pictures were sent and she comes back with “I’ll take all the blue stuff right now please. How much do I owe you?” I was thrilled at the sale of these skeins of yarn all at once and was even willing to give her a deal.  She wouldn’t take the discount and insisted on paying full price. Then her next message stunned me to the absolute limit of my expectations… “So let me know how much the cost is for the rest of the yarns and we can figure out a payment schedule that works for us both”

SAY WHAT!!!!!

I asked her to clarify, just to be sure I had this right.  This lovely lady was serious!!  She absolutely wanted all my available hand-spun yarn, at full price plus whatever the shipping would cost. I was waiting for someone to pop up and yell “April Fools” or inform me that this was all a hoax.   Nope, she was serious about it and wanted the lot… I was on cloud nine at this point, this was every artist’s dream and I was living it at this moment!!

She has set out a payment schedule to ensure I get the full amount over a decent amount of time and in the meanwhile, I will turn skeins into centre-pull balls for her to use without ending up with tangled messes… my way of thanking her for her patronage and major purchase.  She works at a job during the day and feels that now she can come home to spend her off time crocheting with stuff that is better than what she can score at Wal-Mart… I am pleased to be able to fill her stash with my unique, hand-crafted yarns and now have lots of room to move forward with creating more hand-spun yarn to fill its place in *MY* stash for sale.

So from what I saw as a small, personal act of kindness came this blessing that has bloomed into my life and at a time I really needed it. This has not only brought a small and steady income for a few months, it has boosted my self-esteem in a big way too.   I have been battling with several health issues of late and my drive to do things has slipped and as I had an every growing stash of things to sell and not many options to sell them, there was little incentive to change things until now.

This has proved to me once again, that if you can find the right person or audience, you will find someone who appreciates hand-crafted goods and willing to pay what it is worth.

It has also reminded me that random acts of kindness, given in the spirit of receiving nothing in return, can sometimes yield large and unexpected returns!!!

Be kind to each other folks…

Advertisements

Long time, no see…

It’s been awhile since I have posted, so I thought I would try and drop by fix that… lol

I have been knitting up a small storm of projects in the last year….  Sweaters, shawls, hats, mitts, scarves, cowls… I have been keeping the knitting needles pretty busy.  Occasionally, I have pulled out the spinning wheel and done some work with it, not much though.

This shawl was made entirely from my handspun yarn!

Sweater for my son

Sweater for me

Mitts in Handspun yarn for my daughter-in-law

Hat in handspun yarn for my daughter-in-law

Gift for a Dear Friend

Shawl for sale

Shawl for sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a sample of what I have been doing…

So lately the urge to spin has returned and it has been nice to finally get back into the treadle of all things spinning.  I finally finished off a roving I had started spinning up during 2018 (a lovely pink toned batch called “English Garden”) and started up a new roving (a multi-coloured batch called “Archangel”).

Finished this batch of roving

 

Started this lovely roving

These are both 100% merino wool that I picked up when a local store was having a really good sale.  They are being spun up very fine and then I will spin another single in a white merino wool & silk blend to ply with so the colours really have a chance to pop.  This will take time, as I am only able to do around 30-60 minutes of spinning per day right now (due to the pain I am also dealing with) and the fact I am spinning it so fine… It will get done though!

I do have a big project on the needles, a circular throw in a lovely chennille yarn called Velvet.  Plus my time filling dishclothes for when I am waiting in a doctor’s office, travelling on the bus or or on the rare occasion I am sitting watching TV… so I have not totally abandoned my knitting – LOL

All things crafty are limited more than usual by health issues this winter.  I have been on a new medication that has helped keep me from being totally blind-sided by the pain portion, so I am happy to take what I can grab in crafting time and do my best to fill as much of my day with it as I am able.

I have items that I am hoping to put up for sale and would like to know if you are interested in my posting them here?  Let me know in the comments if you are…

Bye for now!

These days of mine…

Are filled with crafting and creating, when I’m not futzing around online, reading or watching Netflix, but I haven’t always been a crafty soul…

In my youth I was more concerned with other things and trying to sort out yarn and needles, hooks and string or anything other than my mildly artistic doodling was overwhelming.  I groused for years that I lacked the skills to save my life if crochet or knitting were involved.  Reading, music, life in general took front stage and the attempts to craft were put in the closet of my mind.

Fast forward to my mid 20’s.  I found myself pregnant and desiring to make items for my soon to be child.  Knitting was still too complex to fuddle through, yet crochet seemed more approachable.  Success happened, soon I was creating gifts for cousins also expecting, toys, blankets and clothes for my son… Crafting was happening!  That once complex means of creating things by hand wasn’t quite so complex and distant in my life, I was thrilled and began learning as much as I could about it.  New stitches, reading patterns and charts, collecting hooks and patterns soon paved the way to my creating patterns to share with others.  I could do this, finally I was a crafty person that could make items that even my very skilled great aunt approved of!

Time slid away with crochet being my only crafting outlet until by my early 30’s I was interested in the skill of hand-spinning.  Taking a spindle or a spinning wheel and fiber and creating hand crafted yarn.  A friend of mine had learned how to do this in an art program in university, she did it often while we sat over coffee and chatted, I was enthralled by the craft and desperately wanted a spinning wheel of my own.  Another friend happened upon a spinning wheel at a local yard sale and called me about it, arranged for them to hold it until I could get there and for approximately a 1/4 of the price brand new, I had my own spinning wheel.  Within a week I was spinning as if I had been doing it for years, producing my own yarns from fiber I acquired from online groups and sources that introduced me everything from raw fleece to clean and processed fiber.  Over the years I have tried so many of them… different kinds of wool, mohair, silk, cashmere, angora, dog fur and so much more.  Thick, medium and fine yarns accumulated in my baskets, they didn’t translate to crochet as well as I hoped, so they languished, waiting for a purpose.

Within 6 months of starting my journey as a spinner, I found a particularly large set of needles and took a chance in buying them as a gift for my friend.  Instead, she used them to teach me how to knit.  These large needles and a couple of strands of thick yarn, her patience, a little trial and error and some practice doing just the knit stitch and there I was knitting!  I could do it, I could process it, it wasn’t nearly as hard as my young self had convinced me it was…  There went I with much practice, learning new stitches and new things about this craft, deciphering patterns, collecting the various types and sizes of needles.  I could now knit.  The joke was on me and I was teased about how I could now knit to save my life – LOL.  I didn’t care, I was having fun, I was exploring this new field in my skill set and having a grand time.

 

Now all these years later,  I don’t crochet as much as I once did, knitting has taken over as my craft of choice… Slippers, socks hats, mitts, scarves, cowls, shawls and even a sweater among the things I crafted on my needles in the intervening years. There is a fairly large stash of yarns hidden and tucked away in odd spots of the house to feed the habit with, sometimes I go on the odd foray to the store to buy something for a specific project, otherwise I try to stick to what already lives here.  As well, I have a fair stash of hand-spun yarns, in spite of how much I have sold or gifted to other knitters. Years of spinning have produced a lot of finished skeins of my hand-crafted yarns and I have even taken to knitting things in it for myself and others, instead of holding on to it for “something special in the future”… My future is now and the yarns are finding a use in my knitting finally.  

I have a half dozen items for myself, I’ve done several items for my daughter-in-law, a couple for my son, an item or three for friends as gifts.  Creating things by hand, even as far as creating the basic components from scratch is like therapy for me, the joy and accomplishment that comes from it is so much greater than I could have imagined all those years ago when I bemoaned my lack of skills.  Sometime it takes time, maturity and the right teachers to make it happen.  I have to say, I am plenty glad that all that and more have been a part of my life.

 

I look forward to sharing some of what I do in the future…  Hope you will enjoy taking that journey with me.

Such a simple idea…

For anyone that isn’t a spinner that needs to wash out skeins after they are finished being spun, who like me, waits until I have a bunch [or a couple dozen] of them to do all together and make the effort worth the time, you can take a pass on this blog if you want…

For anyone who is, please read on…  I got a brilliant light bulb moment back about 6 months ago and finally tested my theory out the whole way and I have to say it saved me a ton of stress and angst.  I use the washing machine, fill it with hot soapy water, soak them awhile, spin them out, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water, soak again, spin out again and then hang them to dry.  While they are all going through that washing, rinsing, being all wet cycle, my paper tags can’t stay with each skein and then I lose track of what each one is and yardages on each, etc.  Memory like a sieve most days, some of you have to hear me on this…

anyway, brilliant idea came about when I realized there were a pile of bread tags in a dish that we had been saving for some reason no one could remember and I was going to toss them out when I happened upon the idea of using them as ID tags for my skeins.

I picked out the white tags with no printing on them and with a sharpie marker I started labelling them “A, B, C, D, …” and so on until I got to R [ran out of tags at that point], then I grabbed hinged ring to keep them all together and neat while not in use.  All I needed was a notebook and I started ID’ing my skeins and listing all the pertinent information on that skein under the letter on the bread tag.

Image

Finally got to a point where I really needed wash the skeins I had finished, or make up more bread tags and tossed all my skeins into a wash & rinse cycle… Lo & behold!  There are all my skeins, clearly tagged and now I just have to refer to my notebook to create paper labels for each one once they are dry and ready for sale or storage.

How easy [and cool] is that!