Monday, October 26, 2009

Meditation on yarn

Lately I've been thinking, very seriously, of taking up knitting again (click any picture to enlarge). At the Farmers' Market, each week I've been enchanted with beautiful handspun yarns and I've fondled them a little more with each passing week. The Spincycle Yarn Store has been tempting me the most, so last week I actually looked at some of the yarns with the idea of maybe making something as a meditative activity this fall.

This merino wool/silk blend caught my eye, so I actually looked at the price. Well. So much for meditation: I had to spend a little time catching my breath at the price. I want to know, ladies, is this because it's the best that it costs so much?? It is all local. Here's a short excerpt from their website (under "about us"):
Inspired by the rich colors of their surroundings, and using local fibers, they hand-dye every batch and spin every inch in their messy little studio in downtown Bellingham, Washington. They travel to market on very cute bicycles, hauling all their beautiful yarn and display racks on bike trailers. They are committed to spinning yarn that is both fresh and classic, to inspiring your craft with ever-changing textures and colors, and to advancing the knitting revolution!
I know it's more expensive than most, but to make this little "harf" (hat and scarf combo), I would need three skeins at $42/skein! Is this beyond the beyond or should I shop around? Perhaps I should just mention that I fell in love with the feel of this yarn and had a hard time tearing myself away, although once I looked at the price I wondered if I would be better off, if I want to take up some sort of meditative activity, to attend a yoga class.

My mother used to knit a sweater a week. She taught me to change the way I knit from taking my right hand to throw the yarn over the needle to using my left-hand first finger like a shuttle. It took me knitting an entire sweater to learn it, because the tension is not consistent until you get the hang of it. Maybe it's partly because I miss my mom that I want to remember her by taking up her favorite activity again. Or maybe it's the sun coming up later and going down earlier.

The Spincycle people use local yarns whenever they can, and after learning that they haul their stuff to the market every week on bicycles, I'm pretty sure I should support these wonderful people. What do you think?


  1. I am scheduled to start the weaving of scarves next week. So while I am at the yarn shop, I'll try to find the same type wool you've mentioned.

    I bought two Peruvian alpaca skein for $24 each. Supposedly, I should get two scarves . . . we will see. At $42 per skein, I'd have a hard time justifying a purchase of that amount, particularly since one skein will not finish a project. :D

    BTW, I miss my mom too.

  2. I love to buy wool, Djan. It's a passion of mine and worth every penny in my opinion. I love the colours and the feel of it and the endless pleasure it give me when I make something new and original. If you can afford it, buy it. You won't regret it.
    I would love to learn to spin. That would be a cheaper way to do it, perhaps.
    Blessings, Star

  3. How beautiful. I love the deep rich, earthy colors of the yarn hanging in the first photo. Enjoy your knitting.

  4. I think of my mom whenever I hook a rug. That was HER passion and I feel closer to her when I pick up the hook and strips of wool material.

    I think that if you want it...then buy it.

    (What would your mom say about paying that much for wool?)

  5. Yikes! That seems a bit pricey but I haven't knitted anything in a very long time.
    If it's a fair price and you love it and you can afford it and you are supporting local business, I'd say go for it...or you could do like my sister-in-law and raise sheep and spin your own yarn. Ha-ha!
    Now you've got me thinking about taking ups knitting again!
    Sunny :)

  6. The yarns are beautiful but $42 per skein seems high, but then I don't knit. My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet but I just never got the hang of it. I use to do cross stitch but that was in Alaska and the nights were long and cold.

  7. Uuhhh lucky knew how to knit! You can make different styles in different colors. I love scarves but I don't knit...but I can buy and there are many of them here which I can choose. Sometimes I thought of learning to knit but the problem is that I am not patient enough.


  8. It's great to support your local businesses, especially if they're green! As long as you can afford it. At that price, I'd have to go to WalMart... ;)

  9. I used to knit, crochet and do needlepoint, all learned from my grandma and mom...and I have not done any of them for years. I have all the different size needles, etc. sitting in an old trunk.
    Maybe I better sell them on E-bay. I find now that my eyesight is different and I don't have the patience. But when I go to the craft sales, I see all the beautiful baby things and hats, etc. and they are beautiful.

  10. It is pricey but it lasts forever. I have two Merino wool sweaters that I love. They are so soft and comfortable. I see it as an investment that lasts a long time. Not just some short lived fad.

  11. That's really very pricey. I knit and crochet all the time and buy yarn in a variety of places. On line I tend to buy in bulk. There are more than a handful of wonderful yarn shops here that have high end yarn and hand dyed yarn; never seen price tags close to that. I think maybe you're paying for each mile they road their bikes.

    You can buy some very nice yarn, including wool, some washable wools even without taking out a loan. Yikes!

    But, since you've got an itching to knit something, could I ask you visit my other's dedicated to warming the homeless through knitting and crocheting.


  12. Forgot I wanted to say, love the name harf....though I've seen lots of patterns for these I've never heard them call that. Great name.


  13. I like the word Harf too! I would never spend that much for yarn..that is one pricey scarf.. three skeins.. uffda. I am more the five and dime store yarn type..I just check it to make sure it is soft and not scratchy..and a color I like. I do knit and crochet..both hobbies I learned a long time ago..I was thinking the other day that I need a new hat and I just happen to have the perfect skein of $5 yarn, and a simple crochet pattern.
    I also have a spinning wheel..a winter project too:)

  14. I was just in a yarn store in Austin, Texas. Even though I don't knit or crochet I was fascinated by the beauty of the wool.....

  15. Thanks to everyone for the great comments. You've made my day. And Sandy, I will gladly knit something for your Bridge Project. Everyone should go check it out here. I am amazed at what some people come up with to help others...

  16. Oh DJ, You're singing my tune. I love to knit and I know what you mean about the feel and the colors. I have a local yarn shop that carries these wonderful hand woven, hand dyed, silk and merino wools, silk yarns, etc. Yes, they are more expensive than what you can get at a JoAnn's, but you can definitely tell the difference. Yes, $42 a skein is quite expensive. I mostly spend between $10 - $24 per skein. I have spent $42+, but usually there is so much yarn for this price, it's like having to buy two of the $24.00 skeins.
    And knitting is so meditative. I knit while watching TV or sitting in a car, or waiting at the beauty shop or under a hair dryer. If you haven't looked for a while, see some of my knits at

  17. I'm hooked on yarn right now, too. I bought all the yarn for a throw for our bed and it is just waiting for winter. I am currently working on a bright tie-dye-looking yarn for my youngest for her futon, as a Christmas present. I need to take a class for knitting, because I only know how to crochet. I'm watching for a beginning class to start soon in Reno.

    $42 a skein is a bit high. I would support them, if feasible, but wouldn't let that stop me from seeking out other yarns, as well. I do go to yarn shops, because as Nina says in her comment - you can tell the difference.

    Be sure and show us what you make!

  18. D-Jan,How lovely to think of taking up knitting again....maybe during the winter months.My MIL knits all sorts of things.That is expensive,but if you like it so much buy it,it will last for years.Have a nice day.

    ps.How's your leg now?

  19. Not only is the yarn gorgeous, but the philosophy of their business is wonderful! I'd probably break down and pay the price just on that basis...but you know your budget best!!! Love your photos...crisp, clean and so inviting!!! Great make me wish I'd paid more attention to my grandmother when she attempted to instruct me in the fine art of knitting! ~Janine XO

  20. I taught myself to knit after I quit drinking. Suddenly I had all of this time on my hands and knitting kept them busy. I immediately loved it. I fell in love with the instant gratification, the idea that I was creating something, the challenge of something that inspired me, and the thought that I could re-do as many times as I deemed necessary.
    I have let it slide in the last couple of years because of the lack of time (it's tough to knit with a child pulling on the yarn and I was too tired at night) but I've actually picked it up recently. Like the last couple of weeks recently.
    The $42 sounds high but you could always knit a smaller project (perhaps a hat or scarf instead of a harf). That way you could create with that incredible yarn, support your locals, and not hurt your wallet too much. Maybe you could save the harf pattern for a yarn that's a little less pricey.
    I can see why you're so tempted; the picture of the yarns is beautiful.


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