Friday, December 11, 2009

Red Delicious


It had been a particularly packed summer. During those long months of swimming, gardening, and travel, I had understandably fallen out of touch with some of my blogging pals. So just before the school year started again, I decided to visit an old friend's blog to touch base and, hopefully, reconnect.

I really should back up. I originally met Maya at her blog Springtree Road a little over a year ago. I instantly found delight in her personality and flare. Timidly, I participated in her 2008 November in Black and White photography project and learned so much through that experience. Her eye for detail was fantastic. Alluring, really. I appreciated her private emails that patiently answered my endless stream of questions and she had a way of making me feel like part of her inner circle, even though I was obviously an amateur.

On this particular end-of-summer visit, though, I discovered that Maya had started a new business creating hand spun yarn. You know, the real stuff where you gather wool from an animal (sheep, llama, etc.), dye it yourself, and tenderly hand spin it into silky skeins. Is that cool, or what?!

I think it was her post on "Tink" that first piqued my interest about the whole start-to-finish process. Her Etsy shop, now lined with beautiful skeins, kept me hopping from photo to photo imagining all of the potential projects that 'someone' might create with each one.

Quality hand spun yarn is a little pricey, but for obvious reasons. Having claimed to be a supporter of hand made, I figured I should really give this stuff a try before balking at the cost. Besides, this is about the most 'hand made' purchase I could make. I finally settled on a skein of 140 yards named 'Red Delicious.' It was 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool which honestly meant nothing to me at the time. But my daughter looks so lovely in red, and I knew that somehow, and some way, it would be used to create something special for her this winter.

Using this yarn was nothing like the many experiences I've had with the usual $3 to $4 acrylic (synthetic) skeins of yarn I've frequently purchased from places like Walmart, Michael's, Hobby Lobby or elsewhere which always make my hands sweat and sometimes even itchy after prolonged exposure. Nope. This hand spun yarn was soft, yet hefty...thick, yet not overly fluffy. There's something almost magical about working with yarn that's been carefully hand crafted. I'm convinced that it's got all of its creator's love and affection embedded deeply within its delicate fibers. And when crocheted, it had a natural luster that only further showcased its intricate detail.

I figured I should stop to take a photo of my "in the beginning..." portion.


But a little while later, things were really cookin'. And I was enjoying the feel of this yarn so much that it seemed to be moving along a little TOO quickly.


So, can you tell what it is, yet?


Yep, it's a cozy tassel hat!! (my first, actually)


And boy oh BOY...look what Maya just listed this last week. I noticed this blue mix (on sale) for the first time TODAY and it's exactly what I was looking for to start a similar hat for one of the little guys. I've already spent my budgeted December play money, but if it's still there on December 31st (pay day), this baby's mine! Can't you just see another tassle hat of this dark blue and gray? Next, I'll probably be looking for a dark green and grayish mix for my one remaining child. And I know that if anyone can do it, Maya can! :)

What about you? Have you ever knitted or crocheted with authentic hand spun yarn? Would you ever consider trying it? Just once? If you have any interest, whatsoever, in high-quality yarn for a very special (smallish) project, do be sure to check out her Springtree Road Etsy shop when you have a moment.

And, believe me when I say that this experience had me looking at several of these to help support a developing new habit:


Yeah, it's really that great!


19 ♥ thoughtful comments ♥:

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Ohhhhh, Shaye, don't get me started!! I still have Christmas presents left to finish in other mediums - and I've not picked up a crochet hook in years! (Well, I have, but not to actually crochet.) And I've not practiced up on my knitting that Camilla from GI taught me months ago... You're killing me!

And as an aside, there's a spinning group not far from here. Not the city where you were, one the other direction. I've avoided thinking about it much for this very reason!

WOW - I *have* to get out of my PJs and to work, but you're going to have yarn on my mind all day...

(((HUGS))) - miss you!

Momma Nut said...

Ooooh! I want to buy some home spun yarn and I don't even know how to crochet or knit. But my mom does and how much would she love that magical, soft and fluffy yarn?! I'm thinking she would love it! That was a beautifully written post BTW. It felt like a warm and cozy afghan in and of itself.

beckyw said...

OOOOOO- La-LA! Love this project! I will try to get some of this homespun..... Not for the kiddo's though... they constantly lose their hats!!! ARGH! Good to have you back to bloggin'!!!

Dr. Wifey said...

so pretty! wish i knew how to knit :)

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Lenetta~ Oh I'm so envious...a spinning group?! That's what I need up here to get me going! Looks like I need to sit with you and Camilla a bit to revisit knitting. I'm pretty much all crochet. Miss you, too! <3

Momma Nut~ Awww, thank you darling! I was up from 1:30 to 3:30am with my youngest and finally published this baby. I'm glad it makes sense to the rest of the world. :) And yes, if you ever want to do something extra special for your mom, grab her a skein of hand spun yarn. The hardest part of this project was deciding WHAT I wanted to do. LOL

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

beckyw~ Thanks for missing me. :) And I have to say that I've thought twice on whether I want to use this precious yarn for my two youngest. Our hats always end up on the basement floor or stomped on by the back door. So I know exactly what you mean. Even when BJ was taking her hat off the other day, I found myself swooping in and taking it from her hands before she could put it anywhere. LOL

Dr. Wifey~ It's never too late to learn!! It's especially a great lesson to learn while pregnant (wink). I mostly crochet, but I'd love to start a knitting project some time soon. :)

septembermom said...

Shaye, you're one talented lady. I feel like my knitting looks very pale in comparison. It is fun to make gifts. What a wonderful way to share during the season. I should look into hand spun yarn. Very nice.

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Oh thank you, Kelly! And I hope you'll treat yourself to a skein some day. I'm glad I gave it a try!

elisa said...

Oh! Stop! No! I will not be temptediwillnotbetemptediwillnotbetempted....

I do love to crochet. But I have about six unfinished projects in my work bag already. This will have to wait!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

LOL @ elisa! I know what you mean. A creator-at-heart always has unfinished projects.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Cute, Cute, Cute!!!! ♥♥♥
Both the little girl and her hat!
And I love you.

greenknitter said...

Oh I am in LOVE with Maya's yarns!

The colors reminder me of super sweet candies and the fiber itself is like a plush pillow.

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Lovely story and hat. Thanks for sharing about your appreciation for hand spun yarns. A lot goes into them and as your story tells, a lot is gotten out of them!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Peacefully Knitting said...

Isn't Maya the sweetest! I love her yarns too and all that she has accomplished. You have a great blog and I like your crochet..... great colors!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Boomer~ Love you, too!

Greenknitter~ Oh I totally agree. Just looking at her work gives me satisfaction! :)

Alpaca Farmgirl~ Thank you! I never knew this experience would be this thrilling. I was pleasantly surprised! Also, I'm pleased to learna bout Fiber Arts Friday. How FUN!

Peacefully Knitting~ She really is. And thank you for your sweet compliments. I'm so happy to find other fiber lovers out there! :)

Jess said...

Shaye -- definitely something I could get hooked on! B's hat looks great! Great work.

Might be something I need to learn to do...

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Jess, it's so therapeutic. I bet you'd really get into it. It's so satisfying to finish each project.

After this experience, I quickly looked at the one yarn place within a couple hours drive (Walmart) but everything on the entire wall was synthetic. EVERYTHING! Ugh.

Amanda said...

I so miss my knitting. If/When I'm ever able to pick it up again, I will be certain to check this yarn out! Thanks for the post! And I love your new layout.

Shelly C said...

using hand spun yarn is a goal of mine, I love to knit with big fluffy yarns, still haven't mastered the art of crochet but one day hope to learn it... my knitting needles are crying out to me right now... hmmm, I've got a free night so the unfinished project just might get worked on.

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