Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have a dream!

Fiber folks unite!
Now you're wondering what the heck I'm on about eh? Bear with my enthusiasm a second here and keep reading. This all stems from something I read online ( a while back, so I don't have a clue where unfortunately) about how one person raised the sheep, sold wool to another person who dyed the wool, who sold to another person to spun the yarn who then sold to someone who knit an item from the yarn and sold it. The idea of an interconnected series of artists/fiber lovers has always appealed to me ever since. It adds value to the items for me, not just because of the individual stages, but because I know that each person was fellow artisan approved.

Who knows good work more than fellow fiber artists/enthusiasts? We're all a big interconnected bunch when you think on it. I buy from fellow dyers/spinners/fiber producers as much as I'm able, and turn it into something I can then sell myself (giving credit when I can.) It's a hard economy out there, and building relationships is as important as finding good materials to work with. The idea of creating a network of people who support and publicize each other is a dream of mine.
How would this work and what are the benefits of being in each step?

Someone sells the initial fiber such as this wonderful BFL Humbug I purchased from International Fleeces. (or a local farm where you get the wool from raw.) She has wonderful fiber from all over the world, not to mention wheels and all sorts of wonderful items related to fiber prep spinning and weaving.

The next stage (if you desire. I may not dye this humbug) is the dyeing. Check out these braids I purchased from Urban Gypz (Top is Morrels on a superwash merino/seacell blend. Bottom is Little Giraffe on Superwash BFL). If these were batts the dyer would most likely be the fiber processor as well.
Yummy right? Her work is gorgeous. I describe it as an impressionist painting on fiber.

Up next is the spinning!
I spun this thick and thin yarn from a Falkland braid I purchased from Pumpkinhaus on etsy. Which would have started off as white top like this:
In selling the yarn I gladly give credit to the dyer, because it's her art I spun, and hopefully enhanced by putting my own unique spin on it. In addition to the actual spinning, I chose to make it a thick and thin. If this was spun as a 2 ply it would be much different and so on. This also gives me the chance to give a bit of a kudo to Pumpkinhaus, and the ability to direct traffic her way and support a fellow artisan.

Final stage is the knitting/crochet/weaving. I didn't knit this hat from handspun (it's charcoal grey Lamb's Pride) but it suits as a stand in. (The pattern is the Knotty But Nice Hat I would never sell this as it belongs to my husband now, and the pattern was not my own.)

I wish I had a handspun item to show, because they're incredibly lovely in their individuality and uniqueness. If/when I ever sell a handspun item, I will also gladly give credit to the spinner/dyer if they were not me. It's just good form and a wonderful way to support each other (in my opinion of course.) I wouldn't want to take credit for someone else's work either.

Don't you just love the stages, ins and outs and opportunities to get to know fellow fiber lovers work and support each other? As the work in the fiber increases, the value does as well. The initial producer typically earns the least, with the final product holding the most possible outcome (and probably the longest holding time.) But as the work increases this makes sense.
I'd love to be able to be a part of a interconnected process like the one I spoke about in the beginning of this post. Think about the opportunities for creativity, support and marketing (because really, at the end of the day we all need to make more money to be able to buy more fiber/yarn/hats/sheep etc.) Considering each stage has a blog/twitter/friends/family/regular customers that is more publicity for your role in the process and opportunities in the future.

One day! <3 I know so many fabulous dyers/knitter/spinners/shops online at present, it could just become a reality in time.

What do you think? Is this something that interests you? Would you like to buy an item from someone you know has the backing and support of other fibery folks? Does the idea of an item woven, or knit, with yarn that originated in an artist filled series of stages appeal more to you in the end?