My mom learned to knit last winter (or was it re-learning, Mom?) and she has been gung-ho about knitting ever since. She has been making scarves for . She has a list she's working on -- scarves for each of her 8 children and their spouses, all 27 of her grandchildren (one of those for her granddaughter is in the photos below) and her 3 great-grandchildren.
Whoa! -- That's alot of scarves! I wear the scarves she made for me all the time. So does our cat, Baggins (just kidding) Mostly Mom uses the many kinds of popular "Fun Fur" yarns. The scarves she makes for the "men and boys" are knitted of more traditional yarns, but all of the scarves are super soft and warm.
I don't knit. I know how to crochet, but lately I haven't had the patience to do even that. Maybe someday I'll get back into crocheting (maybe I'll start the trend of a HAT for everyone in my family ...) in the meantime I drool over beautiful yarns in my friend, Carol Worthen's downtown Helena store, the Fiber Whorl. I stumbled across a beautiful website called Plucky Fluff where the owner and artist sells her amazing, incredible, crazy-fun unique handspun yarns. Oh wow! These make me want to run out and buy a set of knitting needles and just dive right in. Wish I could afford to buy lots of this handspun. It's a bit pricy, but knowing how much time and effort goes into washing fleece, carding it and spinning, I know her prices are well worth the money. These are entirely unlike commercial yarns. Check out her website and the others I've linked here if you're a fiberartist -- or know one who might be talked into making you something from one of these skeins.
These handspuns are lovingly made, each batch or skein is unique. So the yarns I've posted from these small artisan businesses may already be sold. I'm posting the pix to give you an idea of the variety and creativity. They all add photos of available yarns regularly, so check their websites for the latest one-of-a-kind fibers for handknitting, crochet and felting.
Handspun one-of-a-kind yarns from Plucky Fluff. From upper left: End of November, Grow, Wildflower and Snuggle Bunny.
Handspun one-of-a-kind yarns from Plucky Fluff, Ahsa and Neauveau, from upper left: Ahsa's Jelly Sandwich, Plucky Fluff's scarf made of Flora yarn, Neauveau's Blue Bird skein and Frostbite by Plucky Fluff.
Another group of gorgeous handspun fibers, from upper left: Fall, Seaweed-Lemon and Forest Floor all three by Pink Peppercorns. And lower left, Yumm Twist by Fuzzy Bumblebee.
Pink Peppercorns not only sells awesome handspun yarn skeins, but also bags of "scraplets" for fun knitting and weaving projects; and handpainted silk ribbons (see photo below) Her site is easy to navigate and beautifully designed, just like her yarns and ribbons. Pink Peppercorns also creates beautiful hand painted silk ribbons for artisan sewing projects. I could think of a few unusual uses for these ribbons, if only I could afford to buy them! They're on the pricy side, but if you like fiber arts, take a look - they might inspire you to try making your own hand painted ribbons.
Neauveau is another handspun and fiberarts business onwed by artisan, Ashley Martineau of Oergon. She has raised the art of recycling to new highs by unraveling thrift-store sweaters and re-selling the skeins of yarn on EBay. She has some interesting tutorials on her website, including an illustrated how-to-unravel article. I always thought unraveling a sweater would be super easy, but you apparently have to know how to do it right or you'll just end up with a pile of short peices! Ashley has been written up in Interweave Press -- an article about her yarn recycling and a shawl pattern that looks very cool.
Ashley has kindly provided an easy-to-read list of links with many more handspun artisan's websites.