Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ecofriendly Yarn Hunt!

I am on a serious hunt for additional sources of ecofriendly yarns!  I am specifically looking for fiber grown and processed in the USA, but I am not limiting myself completely to USA products.  I am investigating buying wholesale supplies in order to offer the yarns themselves to my customers over the coming year, in addition to my finished items.  So far, I've found some really interesting ventures, and I will post here as well as on Facebook about them as I go.

First, I'll start locally (for me):  Home Again Farm, 37098 Schell Road & Route 26, Theresa, NY 13691-2226; 315-628-5302; http://www.homeagainfarmalpacas.com/

Home Again Alpaca Farm was originally established in 1831 as a dairy farm, and is now owned and operated by the family's sixth generation.  They converted to alpaca farming in 2005, and have a current herd of 20 alpacas. The farm also grows grapes for local wineries.

Home Again encourages "slow, 'drive by' viewing" or calling to make an appointment for a full farm tour and personal introduction to the alpacas.  Schools and organizations are encouraged to visit!  Experiencing the farm is truly a joyous treat - I wrote about my family's 2010 visit here:  http://lindagibbshandmade.blogspot.com/2010/05/our-visit-with-alpacas.html

The farm also has a lovely gift shop that offers yarn and roving made from the fur of the alpacas on the farm.  The yarn is processed near Syracuse, about 100 miles away.  If you are not a fiber artist or crafter, they offer many finished items made with alpaca yarns by both local artisans and by artists in collectives in South America, supporting alpaca and human well being in Peru.

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Attendance of a Needle Arts Show!

This past weekend I attended the Pittsburg Knit and Crochet Show (www.pghknitandcrochet.com) in Pittsburgh, PA!  This was the 10th year the show has been presented. It was the perfect show to get my feet wet at this type of event, and I came away renewed and refreshed, ready to try my hand at more jewelry, some art pieces, and working with hemp and linen this summer.

A cadre of experienced fiber arts instructors offered a wide variety of classes for knitters and crocheters at any level.  Special events included a pj party, a keyote dinner and book signings with well-known author Debbie Macomber, who also has a new yarn line out, and brunch with pattern designer and author Nicki Epstein.  The show also included a large vendor market, with yarn makers and retailers from as far as Texas and Maine, plus a rotating trunk show, with 30-45 minute presentations by different pattern designers, yarn producers and yarn retailers.  It was so much fun to see and touch items that I've seen pictured in pattern books 'live and in person.'

Meeting so many wonderful people in one place who were just as (or even more!) passionate than me about yarn and crochet was a joy.  I was happy to be able to offer others my tips, and to receive fantastic tidbits from others.  I fully enjoyed the Freeform Crochet class I took, led by Lauren Etling, who was warm, charming and fantastic at teaching. 

I definitely intend on attending another event in the future. Next time, I'd like to either travel with one or more fellow fiber fanatics, or meet up with a few at the conference.  Especially at any larger markets, it would help to have several people working together cruising the marketplace for deals and particular fibers.  I needed the two days to see everything at this one!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cold Weather Crochet Mojo

Even though I'm supposed to be working on spring and summer designs to have ready for the upcoming seasons, I can't get myself to switch gears just yet!  It is fortunate for me, then, that there is still time for me to get in some last gasp winter hats, scarves and mitts with Valentine and St. Patrick's Day themes before I must move on!

I'm still loving the colorways of Lion Brand's Amazing yarn.  This yarn is just over half wool, blended with acrylic, for warmth and softness.  It is wonderful to work with.  The hats and cowls I've made this year with this yarn have been customer favorites.  Great photos here:  http://www.facebook.com/lindagibbshandmade.

One more week to get my cold weather crochet mojo used up, and then it's on to spring and summer!