Before I even started this journey to sell my handmade items I was working with natural fibers. When I taught myself to knit several years ago it was with forest green Red Heart yarn which I never quite made anything out of. I think this was eventually donated to one of senior centers here in Denver. I discovered the shop Showers of Flowers which had a huge showroom of all kinds of yarn. Pillows, shawls and sweaters were made using non natural fiber yarns in a variety of weights and colors. At that time I wasn't even aware of natural fibers but more concerned with cost/yardage for projects.
Then I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and I purchased a spinning and a CVM wool fleece. My next step was attending the Western Stock Show were I met the alpaca ranchers and my dear friends at Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch in Arvada, CO. I have participated in shearing day for several years now and have skirted fleeces the past 2 seasons. It has and continues to be a great learning experience for me and gazing at the alpacas in their pastures is just so peaceful.
So why is it that I focus on natural fibers you ask? For me it is a means to support ranchers and small markets throughout the U.S. and world. My journey into spinning natural fibers has introduced me to several sheep ranchers and alpaca/llama ranchers within the western U.S. face to face. When I took up spinning cotton I gained such an appreciation of our ancestors and a better understanding of the cotton gins importance. There are so many fibers (animals and plants) to explore and spin. The groups on Ravelry who spin various fleeces per month have been a huge source of information for me and fan base for my work.
For me the niche of natural fibers places me amongst a caring group of people who love animals and enjoy working with their hands. They are forthcoming with advice, understanding of trials and tribulations and confidence builders on new journeys with fiber. In our societal "Green Environment" focus working with these fibers fits just right in while helping to maintain bloodlines/crops for future generations to explore.
What are your favorite types of yarn to work with? Do you lean towards a specific brand or manufacturer?