A couple of weeks ago I was sitting and knitting with a friend and we got to talking about the perception that yarn is expensive, particularly the yarns at String Theory.
It made me think of the first time I visited the coffee farm that we inherited in Colombia. As we walked the farm, my first thought was: “We do not pay enough for our daily cup of coffee.”
I’m a midwestern girl. So, before my visit, I envisioned our farm as something like an apple orchard with neat rows of trees and room for trucks or tractors to transport people and produce. In contrast, coffee beans are planted on the sides of breathtakingly, steep mountains with no paths for people, much less a vehicle.
Coffee is picked by hand and carried in baskets up the mountain to the mule that takes the “cherries” to the farmhouse, where it is washed and peeled and dried and loaded into a truck and taken down the mountain to town. Then, it is sold and transported and sold again and transported again and eventually roasted and ground and made into that drink so many depend on.
Since that trip, as I take my first sip of coffee in the morning, I imagine the people that worked so hard to bring me this moment.
It is a little like that for yarn. There are a LOT of steps from sheep to skein. As the yarn moves through your fingers, I encourage you to imagine the farmers that care for the sheep, the shearers, the mill workers, and the dyers that created it for you. When you imagine all those people getting paid a fair wage, it doesn’t feel so expensive after all.