Although it hasn’t been something I’ve been actively working towards, I would like to make more friends and connections through the fiber and knitting world. I’m very lucky that I stumbled across the FibreShare yarn swap on Instagram. For a small fee, you are paired with two people: one to send yarn to and one who sends yarn to you. It’s so dang exciting to get your matches. You get to peer into a new friend’s life a little to learn about what they like to make, what kinds of yarn they like to use, what environment they like to knit in, and a bit about their personal lives (if they’re so gracious to share!). You can choose your preference on whether you’d like to send to someone domestically or internationally, but I think your other preferences take precedence over shipping. Full disclosure: I chose domestic solely based on shipping costs, but both of my partners were international – and it was awesome!
Sending to My Netherlands Friend
I had a lot of fun putting together a package to send all the way to the Netherlands from Ohio! My FibreShare match loves to drink tea, bake, has cats, gardens, and most importantly is a vegan who only uses vegan yarn! That means I had almost everything in common with her. Obviously the big challenge for me was choosing yarn that was plant fiber only. This meant no wool, mohair, cashmere, silk, etc. But really, there are actually a lot of vegan fiber options that are natural fibers: cotton, hemp, linen, lyocell, soy, banana silk, nettle, etc.
7. A bar of chocolate from Trader Joe’s – organic and fair trade, is so smooth, but NO dairy! Score!
6. Cat toys – I sewed these up with organic cotton fabric that I used to make Scottie and Maggie’s jammies and stuffed them with cotton balls and organic catnip. Now our fluffy friends are practically pen pals.
5. Seeds for the garden – Some veggies and some flowers. I hope they grow okay in her climate :).
4. Graham cracker bunnies – I asked what kind of snacks we have in the US that she doesn’t have in the Netherlands that she wanted to try, and graham crackers were on the list. If you’ve had them, you know a common ingredient is honey, which is decidedly not vegan! However, I did manage to find some snickerdoodle-flavored gluten-free graham cracker bunnies that did not have honey in them. Oddly, the same-ish flavor of the original ones did have honey, but the gluten-free did not. Strange, but tasty!
3. Chai tea sample pack – I have several loose teas that I like to add my homemade chai spice blend to, along with some little tea bags. I think I included English Breakfast and Green Rooibos since my new friend likes to drink tea in the morning and some herbal in the afternoon. I’m obsessed with this chai spice blend.
2. Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme DK Seaspray from my LYS – I really wanted to support my local yarn shop The Artful Yarn and find something that couldn’t be found in the Netherlands. It’s a DK weight, which is bulkier than she usually knits with, but I was intrigued by the way it was dyed and how it knit up.
1. Vegan Yarn Regulus Lace – This was the one item that she was drooling over lately, and I was happy to oblige! It’s a laceweight yarn made entirely of Tencel. And I personally really loved the beautiful dark red color.
I so hope my recipient was as pleased as I was to put this together. And now that I’ve done it once, I’m definitely going to spoil my next partner even more!
Receiving from My England Friend
I was so excited when my other FibreShare partner reached out to me from across the pond in London! The anticipation was really exciting since she only knows as much about me as I wrote on the FibreShare preferences form (and of course social media stalking, which is encouraged in FibreShare <3). Despite my mailman not telling me my package was at the post office, I was so blown away when I opened my package.
She explained to me what everything was in a typed out note. I totally don’t deserve her.
- Hand lotion – This immediately went into my purse and I use it practically every day.
- A coaster with my initial on it – Such a nice personal touch, though Scottie keeps hiding it in the couch cushions!
- A postcard from London – I love this and need to put it somewhere as a keepsake.
- Green & Blacks orange and almond chocolate bar – This was so tasty! And Scottie definitely took a giant hunk of it as a morning snack one day.
- Gleener – I was so excited to get this to remove pills from my knitwear and other clothing!
- Handmade project bag – She made this with special fabrics she had bought in India and Japan.
- Blacker Yarns Mohair Blends 4-Ply – This was on my list of yarns to try this year – she did her homework!
- Cotswold 4-Ply – This is the deep magenta yarn. I’m really excited to incorporate this into a project as a pop of color!
- Stylecraft Ethical Twist – This is the deep blue skein. It’ll be perfect to incorporate into a sweater that I need several colors of DK weigh yarn.
- Gotland handspun (!) – This one is the big light gray skein. I feel so special to receive a handspun gift, and I can’t wait to choose a project to honor the work that went into it.
There was a tiny snafu during shipping. If I may direct your attention to the photos below, it would appear that a critter of sorts chewed all the way through the box, HANDMADE BAG UGH, and wrappings to get to the bar of chocolate. I just snapped of the affected parts of the chocolate bar and kept the rest, but of course, OMG HOW COULD YOU, CRITTER?! It gnawed a giant hole in the project bag. I have plans to sew a patch on it, but I am a total novice at sewing, so we’ll see how it goes. It even ate through the goddamn zipper, I mean really.
So silly. But the yarn is okay. And now I have a story – a cautionary tale of treats flying across the Atlantic.
Anywho, if this sounds like fun to you, DO IT! I can’t recommend it highly enough. <3