My Fiber Journey
May 14, 2020

My Fiber Journey

Hi, I'm Rachel, and I'm a yarn, knitting, notions addict.  I didn't start out this way, but once I touched yarn it was unstopable.  In all seriousness, this is a little about how I got started on this wonderful, wierd, and colorful journey. 

About 10 years ago I finished graduate school.   The previous two years had been a fairly unstable time in my life.  I had gone through a divorce, decided to go back to school for my master's degree, and completely change careers from a deaf education teacher, to a Speech Language Pathologist.   The two and a half years in graduate school were some of the absolute most brutal times in my life.  I ate very little, and slept even less.  However, I made it out, and quite successfully I might add.  But at the end of that two and a half years I was lost as to what to do with myself.   I had dabbled in crochet, but it never really clicked in my mind.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the flingin-flangin hook to do what I wanted it to and make the things look like they were supposed to.   Being a determined human I was not giving up!  Anyway, after graduate school, as previously stated, I was lost with what to do.  I decided to pick up crochet again and see if I could make a go of it.   For me, it was always pick it up, put it down and walk away, usually with some unladylike swear words following.  I was in a bit of a put it down and walk away swearing phase when my boyfriend at the time deployed to Afghanistan.  He had let me know that it was very cold where he was at and that he would like a scarf, a nice wool one that would help keep him warm.   Okay!  Challange accepted! 

I began hunting for wool yarn.   Where exactly would one find wool yarn?  There was a little shop, a yarn shop, ( I didn't even know there was such a place) there in town.  I called and, of course, she had wool.  After work I drove out there and there was more  yarn than I had ever seen in my life in there.  The owner asked what it was I was making and I let her know I was going to crochet a scarf for my boyfriend and asked for some good luck vibes because I wasn't very good at crochet.   "Ever try knitting she asked?"!  If I suck with one hook how am I going to manage two needles.   She grabbed a ratty looking swatch and did a couple of stitches and was like "What, so that's hard?"   Fine!  Challange 2 accepted.  I bought some pretty blue wool, a set of needles and walked out with a mistake rib pattern written on a post-it note.   

When I got home I plopped down, my bulldog Bruce beside me snoring happily and began my journey.  I must have cast on that scarf a thousand times that night until I  could long tail cast on as fast as the ladies in the video and make it look good too.  Boom! Next the knit and purl stitch because it was a mistake rib and I had to do both of them.  This...this is where the magic happened.  It was like my brain understood knitting and it all worked and translated to my hands.  It was love at first stitch.  Three days later I went back to the shop with a full scarf and asked if that was how it was supposed to look.  Well, it was, and it was wonderful.  I met some of the most amazing people through knitting.  My best friend and I connected through knitting and through the years have grown to love each other for the things we have in common and our differences.  She has been my idea developer,  my cheerleader, and sometimes my kicker in the pants when I need it. 

Fast foward 8 years or so and I have a room full of yarn, more projects completed than I can even begin to count, more that are waiting to be completed, and I am ready to start my next fiber evolution.   Dying yarn and designing my own patterns, teaching others about this wonderful craft.  Challange 3 accepted!  There is a dying studio set up, and I'm writing a pattern now to soon be published.   It just seemed that my next steps in this wonderful, wierd, colorful journey was the opening of Paisley Purl Yarn.   This is a true labor of love for me: love of fiber, love of yarn, love of color, love of knitting, love of sharing it with others.  I hope you find your journey as wonderful and fullfilling as mine has been. 


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May 13, 2020

Totally 80's Collection

It has taken me a little bit to feel brave enough to write all of this down, as how I came up with my Totally 80's Collection is a little bit personal.    Bear with me as this story unfolds and my mind finally puts words to some thoughts and memories.   

I grew up the youngest of 8 children.  My brothers and sisters were quite a bit older than me.   My sister, Suzy, was my star.   I loved her with all of my heart, and looked up to her so much.  I thought everything about her was so cool, from her perfectly feathered hair, to her lemon yellow and lime green bedroom.   She was 13 years older than me and was so good to let me follow her around like a little puppy.  She moved out on her own when I was very, very little.   When I was a little older, I think around 6 or 7 years old, I was allowed to go to her apartment and spend the night.  She made me spaghetti....with mushrooms in it!  I had never had mushrooms, but man, oh man, I loved them so much.   She made me chocolate chip cookies, that in my child's mind and memory, were as big around as my head.  And, her perfectly feathered hair had been cut into this really rad  "Flock of Seagulls" shaggy, spiky, funky cut.  Her natural makeup was traded for some cool blue eye shadow, and I have to confess, she may have put some on me that night.  But what I remember most was the music.   The wonderful stacks of vinyl albums that she had, and the fact that we could crank the volume without anyone telling us to turn it down.  That night is a memory forever seared into my mind.   At home, I was not allowed to listen to pop music.  At Suzy's nothing was off limits.  That night I heard Prince's Purple Rain Album for the first time.  We danced on her coffee table to Kenny Loggins Foot Loose, hopped around the living room singing Come on Eilene, mumbled Heart of Glass at the tops of our lungs, and even did a little head banging to Ratt.   80's music, dancing with my sister, and that night will always be so special to me.  It changed my whole perspective on music and what I enjoyed listening to.  To this day, I still love 80's music and keep a chanel of it on my Pandora.  What is most special to me still, is my sister.  My Suzy. I think it was that night with my sister and the memory of singing and dancing with her that inspired my 80's collection.  This collection is very special to me and holds a lot of emotion in the colors.  I hope that you love the colors as much as I do, and that they are able to help you recall memories of your own, or make some new ones.   

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