Exciting news for Sow’s Ear customers – even if you live too far away to visit in person!

‘Jubilee’ is June’s color of the month from Leading Men Fiber Arts! We had the chance to reconnect with Steve and Andy at a trade show in Chicago last month, and are delighted to announce that we have their yarn on our shelves again! Every month we will have a limited supply of their Color of the Month, AND we are going to be hosting them for a trunk show from 1-5 PM on Saturday July 13th!

Go ahead and mark your calendar now, but watch social media (and subscribe to our newsletter) to get all the details as they develop.

It’s always a joy to get to meet and buy directly from the creative folks whose hands actually made these beautiful yarns that we all love. If you haven’t had the chance to attend a festival or a trunk show, we especially hope you’ll make time to come down and meet Steve and Andy!

But if you don’t live close enough to visit, never fear! We are planning to host our first-ever Instagram Live Sale!

Our yarn manager Sara is experienced at hosting these kinds of sales from her former life in another industry, and we’re excited to try them out here at the Sow. Check out this video from a couple of days ago to get a feel for the experience – this wasn’t a live sale, but it’s similar in the way that Sara will introduce the different Leading Men yarn bases and colorways that are available, and as you’re watching if you see something you like you can call dibs by commenting with your email address. We’ll use that to bill you, and as soon as we receive your payment we’ll ship the yarn to you – no extra charge for shipping!

As always when we try new things we appreciate your patience with us as we work out the kinks! We expect to start this Live Sale at 3:00PM, but as I said watch our social media to get the most up-to-date info.

Pictured below center, Steve of Leading Men Fiber Arts showing off the knit version of the Pride and Progress cowl designed by Carissa Browning and made from a kit of LMFA mini-skeins. Below left and right: Jubilee! The color of the month on their premium sock base Showstopper, paired with a teal mini-skein! Going forward we’ll have these available online, this month we only have a few left so they are in-store only. Hurry in to check them out!

What a good word, Jubilee. From Merriam-Webster:

Jubilee usually refers to a special anniversary or a celebration of such an anniversary. It can also refer generally to a season of celebration or act of rejoicing, or to a religious song of African Americans referring to a time of future happiness. […] while jubilee is often used generally to refer to an anniversary or celebration of an anniversary, its history is intertwined with the idea of emancipation.

That was the M-W word of the day on Juneteenth, which was when I sat down to write this blog post, but then life got busy and it’s been almost ten days of thoughts rattling around in my distracted brain, finally coming full circle to something I read several weeks ago:

“Celebrating who we are is part of taking care of our mental health.”

When I read those words in an Instagram comment at the start of June, my brain lit up as connections began zinging back and forth between a bunch of different topics that had been on my mind.

So what do Taylor Swift, Leading Men Fiber Arts, Juneteenth and the word ‘Jubilee’, the months of May and June, and Knit In Public Day all have to do with each other? Well, everything and nothing, depending on how you look at it – life is one big game of Six Degrees of Separation, right?

The calendar is packed with days, weeks, and whole months dedicated to raising awareness of specific issues, celebration and remembrance of various ethnic and marginalized groups, and honoring those who live with different conditions. As it happens, May was Mental Health Awareness Month and June is Pride Month.  

(Here’s a useful list of Heritage days broken down by month.
Note: I (Rose)/The Sow’s Ear is not specifically endorsing this business or their products, I just like their easy-to-use calendar)

The comment about the link between mental health and celebrating who we are was on this Pride Month post by Tom Daley, a British Olympic diver and TV/internet personality who campaigns for LGBTQ+ safety and equality, and who – like so many of us – took up knitting and crochet during the pandemic lockdown.

June has long been celebrated as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall uprising in 1969 (today, June 28th, is actually the 55th anniversary of Stonewall). And while it’s only been a federal holiday since 2021, June 19th has been recognized since 1865 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

The word jubilee is a powerful one, with its associations of joyfulness as we look both forward and backward, acknowledging where we’ve come from and keeping stories and traditions alive as we move forward together. To find the June colorway with its artfully speckled rainbow hues called Jubilee, and then to read more about the word Jubilee on Juneteenth, felt like a beautiful instance of intersectionality that brought home once again how interconnected we all are, and how important it is to celebrate all the aspects of our identities – and all our neighbors’ identities! I’ve started thinking about it like a birthday party: imagine if we refused to show up because ‘It’s not my birthday’! The way we show up to celebrate the people around us is what makes it a party.

Last month, Ruby and Roses’ Taylor Swift collection hit LYS shelves all over the country – including ours! The colorways, inspired by Taylor Swift songs across all her eras, are incredibly lovely, and even if you know nothing about TS you can appreciate the way the colors just sing out in testament of how the dyer was so deeply inspired by something she loves.

I went live on instagram to talk about the fact that I had been struggling to find an “in” to get excited about talking about this new yarn since I myself am not a Swiftie, but had lightning strike earlier in the day after I, a nearly-40-year-old person, had a delightful moment of connection with a teenage cashier over our mutual love of The Beatles.

In that video I linked above, I went on to talk about how uplifting it is to experience those moments of connection and how important it is to celebrate them. I don’t intend to come off as frivolous or imply that I’m equating ‘being a fan of the Beatles’ with ‘being Black in America’, but rather that I’m trying to draw together many different threads under the umbrella of “Celebrating who we are is part of taking care of our mental health.”

Being loud about who we are, where we come from, and how we love, being jubilant about the things that spark joy for us, can be a beautiful way to take care of ourselves. To feel free to stand up and say “This is important because it makes me happy” is a powerful way to remind ourselves that our happiness matters and we are allowed to take up space with our joy. The cherry on top of that is the way that community tends to form around people who have a common interest, love, or heritage.

Being a cafe and yarn store, the Sow’s Ear sits at an intersection where we see a LOT of people coming through our doors, and many of you come to us seeking fuel for your creative lives.

We talk a LOT about how important it is to honor our artistic impulses, how meaningful it is to be able to create things with our hands that fit our bodies perfectly in this moment and this shape and size that we’re in, and also about taking the time to enjoy the process of hand-crafting as meaningful in itself, not just as a race to a finished product. Hand-crafting can be an antidote to fast fashion and the cycle of consumerism that doesn’t see or celebrate each of us as the beautiful individuals that we are.

We are always striving to create a space here at the Sow’s Ear where everyone feels safe and welcome and celebrated – and that’s why we do things like throw a party every year on Worldwide Knit In Public Day (click here or on the photo below to see a slideshow of our 2024 party which was one for the books!)

We recognize the fact that we are incredibly fortunate to have this thriving local fiber craft community, and we don’t take it for granted. Especially when we think about the fact that in a time of profound isolation during the pandemic lockdown, so many new crafters took up knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc – and many others returned to it after years or decades away – we think it’s pretty miraculous that our community has a place like the Sow’s Ear to welcome crafters of all stripes, ages, and backgrounds.

And so, to wrap up this very long, rambling blog post…

I’d like to leave you with a beautiful thought from Lauren McElroy, also known in crafting spaces as Mother of Purl:

The act of creation is the courage to follow your inner voice, and make something that only exists inside of you.

In the process creating makes you into who you were destined to be. Rippling beyond space and time to call all into the best versions of themselves, crucial for this world that so dearly needs us to step into our highest potential.

Creation is everything that has and will ever exist, and by participating in this act we are directly engaging in the highest call we can. When creating I aim to make something that waters the seeds of compassion, light and peace within others, so they too may be inspired to take courage and create what comes from their souls.

See Lauren’s full post here, then explore their website to learn more about them. In their own words: “Lauren McElroy is a queer, Black, experimental fiber artist currently working in knitwear design, dyeing, punch needle embroidery, and on themselves. It is Lauren’s highest intention that their work be meaningful, healing, and to ease suffering in the world. With their work they work with and support communities, sustainable agriculture, and people doing good work.”

Who are some of your favorite fiber artists who are using their words and their craft and their platform to make the world a better place? I finally figured out how to enable comments on the blog, though they are screened to prevent spam, so we’d love to hear from you via the comment form below!

Take good care everyone, remember to stop by and check out the last few skeins of Jubilee from Leading Men Fiber Arts, and put July 13th on your calendars for the LMFA trunk show!

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