Does having hobbies like spinning and weaving transform people into special folks?
Or does it take a special individual to pursue these hobbies? Super busy people, with very little time to spare, yet they take up spinning and weaving that requires a great deal of time.
These are questions that are occurring to us as we get to know more and more of our customers.
Hectic Lives, yet Pursue Hobbies That Demand Time
We are getting to know people who lead hectic lives, still pursue spinning, weaving, and crocheting as serious hobbies. What stands out is this - they are happy to share their creative world with us. They are generous with the time they take to communicate over email and share their experiences and their projects. They take time to tell their stories. Their mails radiate joy.
A few days ago, we were exchanging emails with a mother who gets a lot done in a day. In her own words “My best friend’s birthday is in July (2020), so I’m hoping to have a dress done before then! With four kids that I’m homeschooling and teaching cello lessons, crochet projects go slow for me. I am almost done with my sisters’ poncho, then will finish my mother-in-law’s tunic, then I will start the dress!”. Is that not like WOW?
We are here with a story of another such person – a customer who has a full-time position in a University, manages many things in the house and yet finds time to weave textiles and knit, and make her own garments. Amazing folks. They come across as simple, sincere and hard-working – maybe because these hobbies teach them patience and focus? Or is it the other way around, because they are simple, hard-working, patient and focused they are able to take up these hobbies?
Muezart Connects with Cathe
We, at Muezart, promoters of Eri silk, with only an online presence; bringing to the market a locally spun, very exclusive Eri silk fiber and yarn; not too well-known to the outside world; decided to be generous.
We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to feel our Eri silk fiber/yarn before they buy.
So, what do we do? For 4 months we promise to send a free sample card of our yarn and fiber to those wanting to touch and feel the product before deciding to buy. That too, we promise to mail to anywhere in the world!
Here Is Where Our Story Begins
It all started with Cathe from the South West of Michigan wanting to feel our Eri silk yarn before buying it. She opted to get the free sample card. She lives in the University town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the Muezart studio is in Shillong, in the NE of India – miles and miles away. Two remote corners on the globe.
“Even though we are halfway around the world we want to connect with creators like you who want to try a NEW fiber that is ethical and slow-made.” wrote back Joanna, a promoter of the company and a working Associate of Muezart. Chillibreeze, the parent company of Muezart, and all its business units have scrapped designations - everyone is an Associate. That is another story. For now, let us focus on Muezart’s customer Cathe.
Our Eri silk yarn and fiber from Meghalaya has a genuine local story. Muezart’s vision is to regenerate, through business, the entire eco-system around our local Eri silk. We have seen non-profit agencies deplete our people of innovation and creativity. We believe business causes people to flourish.
“If you didn’t know” added Joanna, in her email to Cathe “All the supply chain (rearing, spinning, dyeing, weaving) happens within a village = local sustainability!”
We can’t wait for you to receive the sample CARD of Eri silk fiber. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could bring our Muezart silk story all the way into your creations?”
While Cathe waited for the sample, a friendship grew between Cathe and Joanna. Questions were exchanged to find out more about each other. Replies they shared brought out interesting facts. How come someone who has a full-time position as an Assistant Director of integrated program review and accreditation of a well-known University finds time to pursue a hobby like spinning and weaving? What are the garments she created - from yarn to finish? What motivates her? Where does Muezart source its silk from? And so on.
An Interview with Cathe – A Natural Next Step
“You are such a professional! It would be an honor to know more from you about using Eri silk. We are fascinated by the clothes you are making. Would you be interested in doing an interview with us? We would like to tell some of your stories/experiences using Eri silk while making. You represent a conscious maker, and it would be fun to interact and connect this way” said Joanna and Cathe sportingly agreed.
An Interview with Cathe: Part 1
Q: Social Media shy - How did you discover Muezart?
“There’s a bit of a story,” said Cathe.
“This was the first time I purchased Eri silk, in any form. Typically, I purchase my fiber from The Woolery and have been looking at the five selections they offer for Eri silk: white sliver, white top, yellow top, red sliver, and red top. But, a friend of mine gave me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas, so I thought I would see if anyone on Amazon was selling Eri silk. That's when I came across the offers of Eri silk sliver, and Eri silk top. I thought I would get the sliver, as my project doesn't require a glossy finish.
Q: With a full-time job, how do you find the time to follow hobbies such as spinning and weaving? What motivated you? When did you start?
True, not easy, but the joy it gives makes up for everything. When I began spinning, I was working full-time, raising a child (who is now married and has two children herself!), and working on my degree. Not surprising that spinning was relegated to hobby status.
I’ve been interested in working with natural fibers since I first learned to spin.
When did I start spinning?
I guess the love for it was embedded in my conscience when I was little, thanks to my maternal grandparents. Having survived the Great Depression, my grandparents instilled in my family a need to be self-sufficient. And, women of those times had to learn textiles and home crafts. I grew up in an environment that provided me the opportunity to observe and internalize the value of these handicrafts. I have been actively crocheting since I was eight years old and have always been interested in yarn-crafts. This includes a lifetime of embroidery and cross-stitch. It just took me until 2006 to learn how to knit.
Q: When did you learn to spin and weave?
In the spring of 2003, an awakening happened. I took spinning and weaving classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, taught by members of the Kalamazoo Spinners and Weavers Guild. The guild furnished us with Louet single-treadle “castle wheels” to take home and practice on, and we also learned to scour raw wool and card it into rolags for spinning. The Institute provided four-harness floor looms that we could visit as often as we wanted, for as long as we wanted, during the duration of the class. Thus began my journey in spinning and weaving. It was only in 2006 that I started to knit (my mother tried very hard to teach me).
My interest in spinning and weaving gradually deepened.
Life nudged Cathe on to spin, knit and weave her own fabric
As I got older, and as the economy and the environment worsened, my thoughts kept returning to youthful daydreams of being able to grow and make everything I would ever need. I also began noticing that I was becoming sensitive to certain synthetic fibers.
So, I started combing the internet for information on different fibers and began putting a list together of what my ideal yarn stash would look like. The more I researched, the more conscious I became of the impact that my choices will make on the environment, and the world around me.
It was during the heat of last summer that it became apparent that I was having a reaction to synthetic fibers. So, I decided to replace, those articles of clothing that came in direct contact with my skin. I started with Socks.
Socks were the first things Cathe knitted and continues to enjoy knitting them
Here are two examples of her weaving prowess.
Cotton Dish Towel woven by Cathe a decade ago. Cathe is now testing Eri silk for her weaving projects
Woven wool-silk mantle cloth
Curious to know what model of loom she uses? Which is her preferred yarn, her experience with the Eri silk fiber she bought from Muezart and much more? You will read all about these in the next post.
Are you a weaver and spinner? Want to test Muezart’s Eri Silk yarn for your next project and share your story? Contact us.