Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Turn: Finding Time For Me

by Colleen Baker of Tactile Baby

This time of year has me yearning for a cup of tea, a warm fire, a crisp new sweater pattern (for me) and a few skeins of a luxurious yarn.With the holiday rush is behind me I finally have some time to venture out to my favorite yarn shops, to pawn over the new shades and fawn over fiber combinations of merino, cashmere, alpaca, bamboo and organic cotton.

Once I decide on the color/yarn of my dreams I'll go off to my studio to flip through the mountain of knitting books that line my bookshelves emerging only when I have settled on the perfect pattern. At this point you may be saying to yourself "wait a second, that's backwards; shouldn't you pick your pattern first and then decide on the yarn?" Yes, most people do prefer this method, but for me it's always been about the fiber. As the name of my shop, "Tactile Baby" suggests I'm all about touch, feeling and texture.

The nearly simultaneous births of my son and my business have left me with few opportunities to knit for myself. This makes the short window of time I can find for myself in January a precious moment that demands that I make the most of my time and (much depleted) energy.

Recently, quite unexpectedly, I found myself in fiber fine fibers. I was home for the Thanksgiving holiday and was cruising the aisles of one of my favorite craft fairs, Scattered Seeds, when I happened upon their booth. Of course I was in the middle of the holiday rush myself and looking for gifts for friends and family,(none of whom knit) but I couldn't resist a peek. What I found was a tiny slice of paradise. Sheeples is a two person, 300+ sheep (sheep+people=sheeples), operation, run not too far from my family's summer cabin in the Interlake of Manitoba.

The flock is made up of a variety of high end sheep specifically bred for excellence in fleece (Medium Longwool breeds such as Romney, Leicester, Corriedale and Cotswold have been crossed with Fine wool breeds including: Finn, Tunis and Merino. The result is an unimaginably soft, long and oh so lustrous yarn.

I left the Sheeples booth with a bag of candy floss pink pindrafted roving and a promise to return for a visit to the farm on my next trip home. And although I haven't quite decided what I'm going to make-up with my 500 yards, I look forward to finally having the time to find the perfect project.

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