Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Story of Caledon Hills Yarn

A while back, Alex decided that we should have our own exclusive line of yarn; one that provided really good value in a high quality fiber. We thought about it a long time, and Alex started searching for exactly the right yarn to buy.

As he was doing the real work, I was very busy thinking of what we should call it. We needed something romantic, something versatile, something that conjured up imagery of a myriad of beautiful colors. Something profound and glorious! Well, maybe just glorious. I'm not good with profound. (But I'm quite accomplished with profane.)

As I was thinking about it, I was also planning a visit to see my Mom and Step-father in Canada. They live just north of Toronto in a place so peaceful, pretty and picturesque that even the Happy Hooker used to live there. (I kid you not. My Mom showed me which house. See how easy it is for the profane to sneak in even when I'm writing about yarn?)

These days, Elton John and his partner from Toronto have a home hidden somewhere in the rolling countryside of Caledon Hills. There are also a lot of people who've escaped from the hustle and bustle of the city and who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area's rivers, meadows and woodlands. And the privacy. And the lack of decent Internet access because Bell Canada doesn't think that anybody outside the 416 area code deserves to be online.

You know, there are no humans at Bell Canada...just phone options for recorded voices. Invariably, those voices put you into a loop from which people rarely escape. But the very few, and the very lucky, if they are willing to wait on hold for a week or two are connected to some guy in India who I think actually IS Bell Canada. He pretends he doesn't know what you're talking about when you complain, "My telephone has been cut off for six days and I have no access to it or the crappy Internet dial-up which is all you'll give me because my area code isn't 416." But I digress...and rant on behalf of my Mom whose phone line was cut by road workers who said the Bell Canada guy in India had refused to tell them where he'd buried her phone line. And she can't get decent access to the Internet even though the Bell Canada guy was happy to sell her a satellite receiver that couldn't receive signals unless she held it in her hands pointing it out her bedroom window.

I wish the Canadian government would take Bell Canada away from that guy in India and give it to someone else. Maybe they could give it to the guy in Spain who owns Highway 407, the world's first all-electronic, barrier-free toll highway. He seems to be doing a fine job with it, and I figure he must be making a profit because I promptly receive a bill for about $30 every time I drive on it...and he has to track me down here in Ohio which has got to be a challenge for a guy living in Spain operating a Canadian highway. I wonder if he knows how to get in touch with Elton John? Surely, he and his partner use 407 to get to their house, and they're rich enough to use it any time they want!

Sorry...sometimes I go off on a tangent.

Anyway, the more I thought about Caledon Hills and how pretty it is, the more it made sense for yarn colors reminiscent of the plants, trees, streams, rocky moraine, and breath-taking vistas. Because we knew that very few people would be familiar with the area, we commissioned one of our staff, Sharon Will, to do a watercolor that depicted the spectacular landscape.

Sharon is really talented and we were delighted when she brought us her masterpiece. She has a studio in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, OH that she shares with some other talented local artists. Sharon and her friends have just finished up some other commissioned works for us that I'll tell you about in another posting -- when we're ready to launch another new line of yarns.

Once we had Sharon's painting and Alex's gorgeous worsted wool yarn in 39 colors, Susan created a really nice label for the Caledon Hills yarn collection while Patsy and Michele came up with some perfect color names based on the region. They used the Internet to see the pretty parklands and strange rocky formations and protected conservation areas that have made Caledon Hills such a popular destination.

Then, our friend Barbara Rottman got to work creating patterns for us. We love the felted bags she designed. She told us that the yarn is not only wonderful for any worsted wool project, it felts beautifully! (And, best of all, it's a fantastic value at only $5.85 a ball.)

We're really thrilled by how popular this line has become...not only because it's our own brand, but because so many different people here at Yarnmarket were an integral part of the development process. We had so much fun creating this line that we're now working on two others that promise to be really interesting -- for us and for our knitters. Stay tuned...because we'll soon be launching another exclusive line.

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