Sunday, November 28, 2010

What was your defining Moment?

When I first started learning how to knit I recall seeing links of yarn online and mind boggling at the prices. I couldn't get over why someone would want to pay $20 for a ball of yarn (and in some cases more!)

Does this sound familar? I bet you get asked all the time why you spend as much money as you do on the fiber you spin, or the yarn you buy. You may even remember the defining moment when you went from boggling at prices and changed into someone who *gets* the love and why we do what we do.

My defining moment was when my Mum (You may know her as Weeverwoman a wonderful fine weaver, and the past president of the Canadian Guild of Weavers for oh... a kabillion years?) realised how bored I was in North Carolina, far from my family and friends in Canada, and sent me a care package with: a spindle, a big bag of merino, border leicester and blue face leicester, a niddy noddy and half a dozen books on spinning. I had been teaching myself to knit (again) and I'm guessing she knew the fiber bug was laying dormant in my genes and just needed a gentle push to get started. When I was 16 she tried to teach me how to weave, and I'm ashamed to admit all I did was act like a petulent child and banged the shuttle around beating the poor fiber far too hard. Many years later she admitted to getting up in the middle of the night, taking apart my table runner and re weaving it for me. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

Back to my revelation. I put my hand into the big bag of Louet merino and it was like the heavens opened up and an angel chorus started to sing. I swear I swooned and possibly drooled a tiny bit, then promptly forced my husband to "Touch this!" That was pretty much it, I was hooked for life. All the past generations of fiber loving dna woke up and I've been obsessed ever since.
At the same time she sent me some of her own handspun:
Sort of like a "See, you can do this too!" inspiration. Boy did it inspire! I still have that skein actually, it's gorgeously soft, wonderfully hugable and far too precious for me to use on anything but the perfect project.

Now my favorite part of any project is the fiber and yarn. I love touching wool, dyeing it and turning it into something unique, then spinning it up and watching how the colours add to the already inherent texture and beauty in the fiber. I think back on that $20 ball of wool and I can completely, and without hesitation, understand why anyone would spend that much money on a one of a kind work of fiber art that provides as much joy in your hands as it does in the final product. Handspun and hand painted yarn is a mystery when you knit, and watching how the texture and colour turns out in a final project is worth every penny, and more.

When someone asks me why I don't just buy my yarn at Wal-mart, or why do I spend weeks and weeks knitting a sweater when I could get it for half the price, I typically just smile and nod. How can you explain yarn as art to someone who probably won't be able to understand until they have their own moment of revelation? It may also explain why I'm so eager to help others learn how to knit, spin and dye. I was lucky someone took the time to help me find something that gives me such happiness and joy- and the idea of bringing that to someone else? Makes me giddy.

The love of yarn and fiber is different for everyone. This is just my story, and I would LOVE to hear yours!


  1. Wow. Your mom's skein looks lovely!! And how sweet of her to do the reweaving! It sounds like she didn't want to push you, but knew you would have your revelation eventually.

  2. Ah, thanks Kiddo!
    I like to think all the stars and planet lined up just right. Far from home and friends and BORED!
    I also knew that if you started, you'd want to get it right.... so ya, I sent along bait, the hook and the proof!
    I didn't think it looked so obvious....

    :) MUM xxx