I’m a hoarder….sorta. When I get excited about something, I go ALL IN! I have to know everything about said “thing” and have every gadget ever made to accomplish said “thing”. Surely I’m not the only one. My most beloved hoard has to do with fiber…mostly yarn. My grandmother taught me to embroider and crochet at a very young age. I can still remember her rapping my hands with a ruler if the back of my embroidery didn’t look as good as the front. I longed to learn to knit, but she had no patience for that endeavor. She couldn’t read a pattern but she could crochet anything. I remember her rubbing a crocheted piece between her fingers, as if she was committing it to tactile memory. She would hurry home and crochet a “sample” of what she had just touched and hang it on a keychain loop with other such patterns. When she went to heaven that key ring became a beautiful memory of her that I cherish.
Anyway, I digress. My 3rd grade teacher taught us how to knit with pencils. The whole class knitted headbands and the local newspaper came by and took pictures of us for a cute little article. In those days, long before YouTube, I managed to teach myself to purl and then started my first project: a sweater that was long enough to cover my bottom! Said sweater is still a UFO (unfinished object). I have no clue where it finally disappeared to. Counted cross stitch then exploded into my life and I had every color DMC Floss ever made. I made beautiful pictures and then took them to be framed……….! What an awakening that turned out to be! I still have stacks of folded, finished cross stitch projects in a box…..unframed. My sister fell into the counted cross stitch hole as well, although I must say she was much more accomplished than I was. She even cross stitched Davey Allison’s car for her husband who was a huge NASCAR fan!
Sometime around 2010, I came upon my aunt knitting dishcloths. It was a simple corner to corner pattern that I knew I could complete. About 200 dishcloths later, I was ready to move onto the next thing. I took several classes at our local yarn shop, learning along the way, how lovely, soft, (and expensive) really nice yarn is. Let me add that it is very worth it. Excellent craftsmanship doesn’t come cheap. Learning to make socks was on my agenda, so while we were in New England for the summer, I took a sock class and fell completely in love. The next year I wanted to learn to spin my own yarn, so I sought out a shepherdess and learned to spin. She not only raised her own sheep, but she was a retired Navy nurse. We got along like a house on fire (whatever that really means!) She introduced me to the nostalgia of an old fashioned farmer’s market. I bought a couple sheared fleeces and quickly realized I had no desire to process my own fleece. Something about the dung hanging off of it changed my mind. Let me say here that I have the utmost respect for those who process their own fiber and spin breathtaking yarns. They are my fiber heroes. I happen to have a group of ladies I have met with every other Thursday who fit into this category. We proudly call ourselves “Goddesses”. These ladies were my lifeline when my husband George was going through his cancer battle.
Those who are well-versed in fiber arts understand the word “Stash”. It is all the yarn, fiber, etc… that we have “hoarded” because it was pretty, on sale, free, soft, perfect for a project, for a good cause, just the right color, a limited quantity, an oops, one-of-a-kind……. Feel free to fill in the blank as to the reasons why we purchase fiber. Sometimes we are even forced to add to our stash because we can’t find the very yarn we need even though we are certain we have already purchased it. My husband started to notice the size of my stash when it started taking up residence all over the house, my car and the garage, rather than sequestering itself out of sight in an organized manner in my “craft room”. Thankfully, he had not bothered to open the craft room door as it was not even close to organized. Moving to Virginia and packing up our Florida home however, revealed my stash in all its glory to my husband, who uttered those famous words, “What are you going to do with all that yarn?” “Well……, uh, ………..I’m going to start a business one of these days. Yeah, and I’m going to sell all my handmade stuff….”, I replied. “Well, you better get busy”, he said as he turned and walked away.
Fast forward to December 2018 when George and I purchased a house in my hometown of Big Stone Gap, Virginia to be closer to family. The death of my mom that previous May had rocked our world and we needed the support that only family can provide. My sister Teri, and her mom, Gwen (she’s my half sister and its a long story) moved into our downstairs apartment after the sudden death of Teri’s husband, Steve. Teri spoke fluent crochet but hadn’t practiced her craft much in recent years. She worked full time in the front office of a large high school in Rock Hill, SC. Steve was ill and unable to work, as was her mom, who lived with them as well. Suffice it to say that she didn’t have much time for anything beyond work, caregiving and sleep. After Steve went to heaven, I spent some time with her and tried to teach her to knit. It wasn’t the right time, but it did encourage her to pick up her crocheting and she fell back in love. (She did eventually learn to knit and she happens to be a very talented pattern designer, as is her mom.) It’s so cool how God works: each of us has our own “things” that we love to make; and they are all different! Kind of like the body of Christ being a real body, with fingers and ankles and noses and lips. Every part has a purpose. I like administration. She likes social media. That dream of a small, online business really began to percolate…
The area of Southwest Virginia where we live is called the “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” after a famous book of the same name written by a famous home boy name John Fox, Jr. It has been made into an outdoor drama which is the second longest running outdoor drama in the country. If you ever find yourself in BSG, be sure to look it up. As a nod to our hometown, Teri and I dubbed our business “Lonesome Pine Yarnworks” and started building our inventory. We claimed the 13th verse from Proverbs 31 as our business model: “She chooses wool and flax and works with eager hands.” We commissioned DAH Media Design to build our website and invited some super talented artisans to join us, showcasing their stunning fiberwork to round out our offerings. Look for a future blog that will introduce our artisans and discuss the history of circular knitting machines…my new love. I’m. ALL. IN!!! We know what that means.
Our website should be launching soon: LonesomePineYarnworks.com. When it does, we would be so honored if you would take a look at our marketplace. Everything is handmade. Most of our socks are knitted on Circular Sock machines, but all are hand finished. George’s line of hats “By George” are knitted on an Addi circular knitting machine, but hand finished. Some of our hats are knitted or crocheted by hand, as are many of our scarves. We have kitchen sets, dishcloths, snap purses, scrubbies, small stuffed kitties, hand spun yarn, locks, batts, and soon dog sweaters, bowl cozies, commercial and indie-dyed yarn, sock tubes, sock blanks and So. Much. More! Prices reflect the amount of craftsmanship required. Each of our artisans are masters of their craft. Your complete satisfaction is our goal. If, for some reason, you are not 100% satisfied, we want to hear from you. We will make it right. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for product updates, exciting give-aways, discounts, flash sales and BINGO!!!