September 08, 2010

Handspun's Like Food, Apart from Being Unobtainable

I am going to try to sell customers at a farmers' market on the idea of handspinning, but I keep bumping into the problem of accessibility.

With food, at the farmers' market the food is right there. Quite a lot of it is even prepared for you, like jam or bread or sausage. With the food that is unprocessed, even a lot of that can be eaten out of hand, like carrots or apples. The food is accessible.

With handspun, there's a gap.

Even if shepherds did come to a farmers' market with their wool, which they don't often do, you can't just drape a bunch of roving around your neck and call it a scarf. At least not for long.

I've seen knitters and designers of sewn goods sell hand-made products at farmers' markets, and I've seen spinners sell handspun, but I have not seen handspun articles made of local materials that are complete and ready to go. Like, a hat made of local wool is just not there.

I don't really expect these are going to appear either, because the value of the labour involved in production is so high compared to what the market would bear.

What I have to say to interested people when they ask is, the raw materials for handspinning are out there. The tools are out there. When you buy them, almost always you are supporting independent small business. I can show you where to start, and I think you will find handspinning rewarding, but to produce wearable stuff out of local fiber will cost you time and effort. It's not like buying a jar of jam.

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