If you had told me in 2016, when we bought our Strauch carder that I would be making a living by dyeing yarn and fibre or teaching people how to spin; I probably would have laughed at you. In the last three and a half years, we have grown so much. We have expanded our hand dyed offerings and added so many fun products. I even wrote and published a book with my friend Rachel! To say it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind, is an understatement, but I am so grateful for all of it. I love to see what people create with our products and to see things click when I’m teaching.
I have always had a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, which is why I’m so excited to share with you this news today. After a brief discussion with Judi, we decided that we are in a place that it was time to start giving back to our community. When we talked about the things that matter to us most, it all came down to kids and a few special people in our lives.
There are so many amazing charities out there, that we had a hard time narrowing it down. Ultimately, we decided that choosing three charities was the best way to go. It would allow us to help in more than one place, and hopefully, have a larger overall impact. We will be donating $5 per regular skein of yarn or braid of fibre sold in the participating colourways. Sales of these colourways will be tracked and money will be donated quarterly. I can’t wait to share with you the charities we’ve chosen and why!
WEST COAST KIDS
The first charity we chose was the West Coast Kids Foundation (WCKF). I have watched from the sidelines as my friend, Mina, has helped to bring this foundation to life. Mina and I met at Camp Goodtimes in 1999. Our friendship was formed in the wee hours of the morning, where we talked, laughed and cried, while the campers slept in the rooms around us. It is a friendship that I value, cherish and am grateful for every single day.
At WCKF, they aim to do things differently and create amazing experiences for families with children facing cancer and blood disorders. They are committed to being transparent about where your donations go. They have even created a wonderful funding tier called the Mundane Medal of Honour. When companies or individuals give to this tier, they know that their money is going towards the mundane costs of running a non-profit business. It covers things like legal cost, memberships, office supplies etc. This means that more of the regular donations can go directly towards supporting kids and their families. They are working towards a permanent home for a year round, fully accessible camp facility at Stave Lake, which they hope will be open in the summer of 2021. They dream big and we want to support that dream.
The next charity we chose is the Forward Foundation. This one is special to me on two levels. The first, I had the pleasure of getting to know the driving force behind this organization, Chris Cayford. I met Chris when I volunteered at the Olympics in 2010 and we stayed in touch via Facebook afterwards. I watched his courageous battle with cancer and fulfill his dream of creating a foundation to provide terminally ill young adults with a meaningful experiences of connection. He was inspiring, funny and kind, and his legacy lives on through this foundation.
The second, is that on February 9th, we were able to attend a party for my dear friend Ann. I wrote a blog post in 2017 when we did a fundraiser for her, which you can find here. In short, she is family to me. She is brave and strong and so very loving. She has picked herself up after everything cancer has thrown at her and continued on. It has been 20 years since she was first diagnosed and she leaves me in awe on a daily basis. Sadly, the cancer is back and this time, there is nothing more the doctors can do. I can’t imagine my world without her in it, but I am beyond grateful to the Forward Foundation for helping us to celebrate her life and giving us that time and space to connect. It was a beautiful day and I hope that we are able to support others in the same way through our donations.
CKNW KIDS FUND
The last charity we have chosen is the CKNW Kids Fund. While I have never had to use their services, what they offer BC kids resonates with me. Both of my girls have learning difficulties. We are fortunate enough to be able to afford the specialized tutoring they need, however I know this isn’t the case for all families. It gives me great comfort to know that there are organizations like this, to help fund treatments, equipment and other services for so many children. I have listened to the many stories that families share during their annual fundraiser and they just make me smile. I also love that they are very transparent about where the money raised goes, as I want to make sure that more of the money we donate, goes towards helping kids.
With the introductions out of the way, let me present to you the colourway collection! We have started out with 5 yarn and 2 fibre colourways, and this will continue to grow as we move forward.
Through the Darkness.
When we first started talking about our giving back program, this colourway came to me almost right away. It represents breaking through the darkness and despair of depression. So often, when faced with a life threatening illness, depression is your constant companion. The bright spots of colours in this yarn are the “silver linings” of life that help to lift us up. It’s about finding the things that bring us joy again. It is the love of friends and family and moments of laughter.
This colourway makes me smile. I recently received a text message from my friend Jess. She shared with me a dream she’d had about a colourway of mine that she was knitting with. It was a beautiful light green with pink/purple/white/dark green flecks and she was insistent that it should be called Sweet Pea. I took the colours she described and turned it into this yarn. I was tempted to call it Sweet Pea, but in the end it seemed more fitting to call it Jess’ Dream. After all, what would we be without our friends?
This colourway started out with the idea of creating something bold and whimsical. Something that would delight small children. When it was dry, all I could think was that it reminded me of what a fairy garden would look like. A place of magic, laughter and fun. A place like camp, free from pain, illness and needle pokes, where kids can be kids.
Laughter with Friends.
This one is pretty special to me. It was created using two of Ann’s favourite colours – Turquoise and Navy Blue. I had originally thought I would keep all the speckles in the dark blue/turquoise family. However, when I was working, I decided to add some purple, which is my favourite colour. It was a way for me to connect and to capture all the trips for ice cream, laughter and time together. A way to capture our friendship, because through all of it, we’ve always been able to laugh.
Sunshine and Giggles.
The idea for this colourway came to me as I was driving my kids home from school. They were giggling about something silly and the sun was shining through the windows. Their joy was tangible and I wondered how I could translate that feeling into yarn. It needed to be bright and playful and this is what popped into my head. I’m probably a little biased but I think it’s quite delightful. I wonder, if you look at it long enough, can you feel the sunshine and hear the giggles?
As a spinner, I couldn’t limit all the fun to the knitters and crocheters, so I had to create a couple of fibre colourways too!
These two colourways, Into the Deep and Splashes of Joy were inspired by the colours in some recent art work created by my eldest daughter. To me, they remind me that inspiration can be found everywhere and to always look for the joy in life. They are colours I want to spin and I hope you enjoy them too.
These colourways will be making their debut at Fibres West tomorrow and Saturday. They will become part of our regular collection and will be added to the website shortly after the show. I hope you will enjoy these colourways as much as I do, and that you are excited about our new giving back collection. Simply look for the little sticker on the label, to know you’re helping us help others!