100 Mile Yarn Diet…Saskatchewan Style
All prairie dwellers do it. We drive across the rolling prairies to get from one destination to another. We take in the spectacular beauty of the horizon, where the sky and landscape meet. We are astounded by the hills and valleys that punctuate a landscape that is normally considered flat and boring. I am a prairie dweller, and a knitter, who has been inspired by the diversity of our landscape and awed by the plethora of locally grown, produced, and manufactured knitterly offerings available right in our own back yard.
We have all heard of the “100 mile diet” concept where we buy locally produced food stuffs – produce, dairy, and meats. Saskatchewan has a number of farmers that make their wares for sale. However, a number of farmers and ranchers also offer fibre for spinning and yarns for knitting. I have often wondered if the “100 mile diet” concept could be applied to a knitterly lifestyle. Could I truly implement a “100 mile yarn diet” into my knitterly pursuits? I think yes would be the answer.
Saskatchewan is a diverse and multifaceted agricultural based province where producers offer anything from food stuffs to hand crafts to the supplies for those hand crafts. As a knitter I take notice of our beautiful landscape textures, varying shades of colour, and especially herds of fibre bearing animals sauntering through a pasture; all of which inspire my creativity. I have been known to stop along the highway to marvel at the beauty of a pack of Alpacas soaking up the sun and shortening the grass. I have appreciated the beauty of a herd of sheep, as well as the occasional Angora goat, grazing along a fence line. My knitter’s personality has been drawn to locally grown and manufactured knitting supplies. “Now, where do I find such offerings?” I wondered.
Both Saskatoon and Regina have at least two yarn and fibre specialty shops. I love to support our local businesses and shop locally for knitting supplies as often as possible. I am supporting the local economy and able to touch and feel the yarns before I commit to buying them. The Wool Emporium in Saskatoon, SK has devoted an entire wall dedicated to Saskatchewan grown and Saskatchewan produced yarns. The offerings are wide in variety, style, weight, and colour. I am never disappointed with the offerings and always find at least one skein that will suit my knitterly pursuits. Check it out for yourself and visit a local yarn shop in your area and see just how many skeins of locally grown, harvested, milled, or produced yarns you can find. You will be surprised at what is available in your back yard.
Living in a province as diverse as Saskatchewan, I feel a sense of pride when I purchase items from local producers and vendors. I’m going to try to knit locally from here on out. I’ve bought wool from alpaca farmers at yarn shows and farmer’s markets before but I am now ready to implement a more comprehensive plan. It’s exciting to think of what wonderful yarns are out there, just waiting to be discovered. Oh sure, at times there will be yarns that I yearn for, which are not locally produced, that I want or need, but I can limit these purchases in favour of substituting Saskatchewan grown yarn. Just the way local produce tastes better, I wonder whether local yarn feels better. I’ll find out!
Now, I’m not saying that I will only knit from locally produced yarns. For, as in a “100-mile diet” plan, there is always something, like coffee, that is not available within the 100 miles. Just like I need my coffee, olives, or lemons, I may also find a need for that Peruvian wool or other region-specific yarn. So, “have at it!” I say. I will only place the occasional order for such yarns while most of yarn budget is dedicated to our local producers. However, I shan’t forget that my LYSs do offer an ordering service that can provide me with nearly anything I need to be a well equipped knitter. Although this yarn isn’t produced locally, my dollars may are supporting my LYS and that is within the 100 mile parameter set forth in the “100 mile yarn diet” I am implementing.
How about you? Have you checked your LYS to see if they provide locally produced yarns and fibres?
Is there a yarn that you need that your LYS cannot bring in for you?
Are you willing to give the “100 mile yarn diet” a try?
Do you have a favourite local producer and type of yarn?