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Georgian Bay and Cottage Industries–yeah, Yarn!

On the way to Georgian Bay, we stopped at Shelridge Farms.
Inside the workshop, one wall held most of the designs done for Don and Buffy by Lucy Neatby and Maureen Mason-Jamieson.

Most of these are available in kit form in their yarn (It ain’t called Soft Touch for nothin’.) at their website.

How do you choose? And this comes in Worsted, DK, Fingering/Sock, and Lace.


Don met us at the end of their driveway which was too small for the bus. However, Barbara Spohn had let them know about my knee problem, so Buffy drove her car down to save me the walk on the unpaved drive. Isn’t this why we love fiber people so much? Would a stock broker have done that?


Buffy set up the dye table that she uses each day to dye their product and members of the group were invited to dye up some stock.
Foreground is Maureen who talked about her design philosophy some and just played with us. She is a marvelous teacher. I’ve had several classes with her and I like how she structures and controls a class.
Don and Buffy’s daughter has a bakery. Aren’t these adorable?
And i bought 10 skeins of Soft Touch W4 to make a jacket or sweater or maybe just to sit and hold for a while. It really is amazingly soft—beyond Malabrigo.
More important that the product is the cottage industry process they have created. Scan back at the photos and try not to look at the yarn or people. Look at the workroom. It isn’t all that big. Maybe a three car garage with very high ceilings. Yet they manage to run a business to support themselves and their family with only two employees–Don and Buffy.

Koigu wasn’t any larger, if as large. Maie and her daughter and another artist create all of the Koigu yarn that is sold in the world in a small building in the woods in Canada. That is astonishing to me.

The courage it takes to begin one of these businesses leaves me very humble; I know I don’t have it. This trip has caused me to wax philosophical about the role of the Small Business in the creation of American society. In this scary economically volatile time, I’m not asking what is best for the people, but what is best for the small business owner–like Remi at Charlotte Yarn and Donna at Harding Realty. They are the people who risk and give back and create the caring communities that make life better for all of us.

Sorry, but I’m reading about the FairTax and I’m convinced.

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One Response

  1. Food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

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