Sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind. After years of dreaming, planning, and chickening out, I finally decided it was now or never.
An Idea Takes Root
Years ago, I accidentally ended up at a professional development. When a fellow teacher suddenly found herself unavailable, I jumped at the chance to spend a couple days at a cattle ranch at the headwaters of the Rappahannock, learning about the impact of agricultural activities on the Bay.
I spent the first day in waders, analyzing larvae and surveying banks to determine creek health. The next morning, I found myself sitting in a Jeep on a rise. The day was dawning crisp and clear. My hands curled around my steaming mug of coffee as I watched the cows and their calves lumbering across the hills, and I thought, This is it.
Since high school, I've wanted to do something creative, but it's hard to make a living from yarn. And my favorite jobs have been the ones that kept me active and outside; my summer spent laboring in an 18th-century brickyard will always hold a special place in my heart. But how to marry those two loves?
The Path Ahead
But I put it off because my perfectionism told me I wasn't ready yet. I needed more stock. I needed to perfect my packaging. I needed to get better photography gear. I needed to grow my blog, my YouTube channel, my Instagram... It was one excuse after another. But you have to start somewhere.
My online shop will start out small, but I hope to grow my offerings over the next year, including selling in person at markets. My long term goal is to acquire a flock of my own. I want to have at least one heritage breed -- I long for Leicester Longwools -- and to develop a variety of colored fleeces.
As I've gotten older, I've spent more time thinking about my impact on the Earth, and it's made me more aware of what I buy and where it comes from. There's something special about knowing the name of the sheep that produced the wool for your project, about knowing that the animals are living their best lives. And I want to inspire a love of natural fiber in another generation.
Your support in the early days means everything. Shop small, craft local!