Looking back over the Battle of the Brands competition, I learned a tremendous amount about myself and a lot about my company. If you would like to read my concluding thoughts on winning the statewide competition, Arkansas Sourcelink has it posted here.
I realized just why my little handmade yarn company and other handmade companies around the world mean so much to me.
When you hold a handmade item in your hand, you hold the heart of the Artisan. The creation took thought, love, and passion to come to life. It gives you a glimpse into the creator’s mind. Yes, Handmade may cost more than a $5 skein of yarn, a $20 blanket, or a pair of earrings at the dollar store…but there is a story behind the creation. A story you take part in just by owning the item. A story you can share with generations to come. There is a real person and real thought behind each handmade item.I for one need more handmade and less mass-produced items. I have tons of commercially produced items all over. But I can tell you, the items I treasure the most are all handmade. Pictured above are a few of my favorite things. A goofy set of Sheep Salt & Pepper Shakers created especially for me by Chris Massingill. A Yarn Knitting Bowl created by The Punk-n-Patch. A hand wrapped and sewn bowl made by my ever so crafty step mom, Debbie Ayres. My American Vintage Pillow, a splendid design by Jeanetta Darley. Jeanetta also drew to life The Twisted Purl’s adored yarn wrapped sheep logo. These are but a few handmade goodies you can find around my house.
Above is a picture of a quilt made by my grandmother, Eva Ayres. “Meadow Lily” created in 2000. For a long time, I just kept the quilt in a special pillow case so it would not get messed up. Then I realized, I was missing out on the joy of owning this handmade treasure. It now goes back and forth from my bed to the couch. It’s my favorite blanket to snuggle up with on a cold winter’s day. My grandmother’s hands cut the cloth, made the design, and stitched this masterpiece together. It will undoubtedly be treasured for generations.
This is a blanket my grandmother, Thelma Cox crocheted. She is no longer with us and this blanket is the only one I have made by her lovely hands. My grandmother passed when I was a wild and rebellious teenager, before I even realized my passion for yarn. I know in my heart she was the one that planted the yarn seed. There was rarely a time she wasn’t sitting in her chair crocheting beautiful pieces for everyone she loved. This handmade baby blanket I treasure the very most. Her fingers ran along every stitch. Her hook wove back and forth between countless loops creating the pattern. I wish I could give her a skein of my yarn and watch what she could do with it. I’ll be content holding her blanket and knowing she is smiling down watching my creations.
My handmade story starts with fiber. I dye the colors I’d like to see. Blend the fibers together through a drum carder to get the various textures. Take the carded batt from the drum carder and spin it into yarn on my spinning wheel. I leave my finger prints on every inch of string I create. But my part is only the beginning of the yarn’s handmade journey. You take it and give it life by turning it into your own handmade creation. You complete the handmade story.
I take fluff and turn it into string so you can make clothes and other pretty things.