The Sisterhood of the Yarn
The movies are full of stories of female bonding over things like a pair of jeans ("Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), a group of Southern Belles living in a small town ("Ya Ya Sisterhood", "Steel Magnolias") and plucky girls who step in and do the jobs of men whist the men are away at war ("Swing Shift", "A League of Their Own"), but the sisters of the craft are strangely invisible to the average Hollywood scriptwriter. Why?
There is no sisterhood that reaches across economic, regional and age barriers like the sisterhood of the craft. And, I don't mean witchcraft; although it is also fine, for those who want to channel their inner witches, to go ahead and turn judgemental, puritan males into frogs and lizards and such. After all, Halloween is just around the corner.
One of MY yarn sisters, Jody, is a snowbird who lives part of the year in Canada and part of the year here in Florida. I think you can guess which parts are spent where. So, we, her Floridia yarnies, are her MAIN yarn sisters (I believe), but she does have others amongst the Canucks and Caribou.
Jody knew that I could not travel to the Toronto Yarn Crawl that she hosted at her place a couple of weeks ago, but some of our other yarn sisters did. I was bitter and jealous but, did they forget me? No. While they drank heavily and yarn shopped more heavily, they still made sure that one of them came back to Florida with a skein of -drum roll please.-
Tanis Fiber Arts, hand dyed 80 percent Merino, 20 percent nylon, Canadian, fingering-weight yarn for me!
That's sisterhood folks. A sister will bring you yarn that you absolutely don't need, but are dying to have anyway, just because you happened to mention it in an online post. Thanks Jody and Bonnie.
Ode to the Sisterhood:
We care about each others cables. We pet each others cashmere. When stitches are dropped, we're there with the crochet hook for one another. Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of shrinkage, our sisters are there for us, pointing out that we should wait a week or two before divorcing our husband because he put a hand knit, 100 percent wool garment in the hot cycle.
close up of T-shirt logo from above
So I will have to spin the story myself: Brilliant, funny, creative women meet on any given day, all over the world, to practice their craft together. They help each other decipher life's patterns. They admire each others work. They cherish the old ways, the hand work that has been passed on for thousands of years from woman to woman. They love their art (because craft IS art) and often, they love each other. We are the fates, the goddesses and, sometimes, the weird sisters, but sisters nonetheless. I am thankful for each one of you.
Link to the Goddess Shawl Pattern on "The AntiCraft".
And, while I'm feeling a little witchy, My latest favorite alpaca -related messages. Try to guess which one I answered personally.
questions on alpaca breeding and profit
1. Alpaca fleece market value — where can I find a timely read out on the value (per pound) of fleece?
a. is it .8 per pound?
b. is it 2.00 per oz?
c. is the price per oz or lb. based on the many factors of the fleece, i.e., crimp, density, etc.?
2. I can visualise (sic) alpaca breeding much like am-way - pay up front (big money) then hope to sell your product...
a. the price of a bred female alpaca is based on the quality of offspring she produces - and the quality of the fleece - and then what? I don't see a reliable market for the fleece and therefore I don't see a reliable market for my alpaca investment.
also - the value of geldings is the fleece only apparently .... to eat one would be like cooking and eating E. T!
3. So when its time to shear my alpacas, am I going to have trouble selling it?
years ago I raised sheep - the market for fleece was never what it should be, but at lease (sic) there was someone in town who would shear them, place the wool in a large bag, write you a check and send the wool bag to the closest market for a small fee .....
4. I am retired, and not enjoying it - so I want to raise alpacas or sheep - cows and horses are not (old man) friendly.
I am not exactly sure how I found your site--through a series of clicks starting on the Localharvest.org site which took me to an alpaca farm in Tavares, which then got me curious as to how Alpaca fiber actually gets spun into yarn.
Not to bore you any further, but I am a homeschooling mom of two, with a newly discovered passion for handmade. I am learning to sew and crochet at the same time and will get to knitting soon I am sure.
My question (finally) is do you still teach handspinning? Or do you offer a dvd on how to handspin? I live in Oakland FL just west of Orlando, and though I havent done a search for handspinning "lessons", I figured you would be a great person to ask first.
I am trying to organize a visit to the Tavares Alpaca farm for my children so that they can actually meet alpacas up close. Part of my mission as a homeschooling parent is to help my children connect with their environment and see how things are created naturally and organically. It is challenging in a time of videogames and internet as we are all grateful for these advances, too!!
Anyway, thanks for your time and I look forward to your response :).
Comment from my blog:
On Thursday, September 9, 2010, 02:42 PM, Lex Lang wrote:
Hi, I was just surfing for of all things charms alpaca shaped charms and saw your site, I am looking for a place that I can ask questions I am not an owner but rather SIL to an owner and breeder, I have many questions and am too imtimidated to ask them of my in laws. I am totally completely in love with this incredible creatures, I knit and do many other crafts.
Would love to find a place to get information on raising baby alpacas, They are blessed to have 4 on the farm right now
and I thought I was in love before they were born, some one is laughing big time at me. I want to learn, but am not getting alot of encouragement, mostly don't want to do something wrong to put the animals in danger or at risk.
Hope you can help me out
Thank you in advance
If you guessed that I answered both messages 2 and 3, but 3 had a FAKE e-mail address, you're right! As for message number 1, a.k.a. "I can't even be bothered to GREET YOU before I list the questions I expect you to answer", I did not answer him personally, but if I had, it would sound like this:
I am sorry you are an old man but I don't see why you need to have alpacas, sheep, horses OR cows if you don't love them. If you are bored, take up golf! I'm tired of interacting with people who do not spin, knit or weave, do not love animals, and yet think they should be able to make a living selling the animals and fleeces that they have little or no interest in.
I, too, am old-ish and I have had to have a very painful shot in the bottom of my foot because my sister's evil horse, Beau, leaned on me when I was cleaning his hooves. So, do I just let his hooves get thrushy and sore? No, I do not. I wear ugly Croc shoes, roll frozen fruit juice cans under my foot and take my cortisone shot like a big girl. Heck, I even let the horses graze on my own front lawn because their pasture is too dry.
Sure, people think I'm weird
but, this isn't a halfhearted, late-life career change, this is my fate.
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Yes, Susan, WHERE IS the YEARLY Meeting of the SISTERHOOD? No site would be large enough I fear. MD Sheep & Wool Festival is about as close as we can get UNTIL... The Florida Fiber Festival gets underway. I've heard that both you and I are shoo-ins for membership in the CORE Committee of the FFF.
In the meantime, When do we get to order Shenanigans Yarn Shop T-shirts? I am needing at least one.
Its true, Kate, there is a secret knitters' sisterhood. I was standing in line at Universal and got tapped on the shoulder..."Are you knitting a sock?" "Why Yes! You must be a knitter too!" I was also forced to go meet someone's mom because she's a knitter. We laughed together at the, "Why do you knit when you can buy socks for a dollar. And what are those things worth?" insert silly monetary number here that doesn't even cover the cost of the yarn let alone the 40,000 stitches it takes to make it exsist.
So what's the chance of their being a formal meeting once a year ;)
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