In The Spirit of the Season

As is probably true for many of you, this week has been one commitment after another. All good things — volunteering, visiting friends, getting our home ready for friends to visit — but non-stop nonetheless. Today, I’m carving time out of my no-less-crazy day to share a story with you that is dear to my heart. I invite you to take the next five or ten minutes to put your feet up, take a deep breath, and spend just a little time here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fiber arts community lately for a lot of reasons — reflecting on the past year, looking forward to the next, and just plain being thankful for this craft that does so much for so many of us. To say this community is made up of some of the best people I’ve ever met would be the understatement of the century. This collection of men and women are kind and generous in ways that are always beyond expectation and often in quiet, anonymous ways. One thing I’ve come to whole-heartedly appreciate is that when one of us is in need, we all step-up with support in whatever way we can.

In this spirit I wanted to share the story of Samantha Troia.

Over the years, many of you have seen projects I’ve spun and knit with yarns from Bumblebee Acres Farm. They are regular vendors at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival which is where I met them. I’m not sure when they started attending or how many years back I have shopped there, but my first real memory of interacting with the ladies behind the farm was in their festival booth. I remember that I was there with my mom and daughter on a Friday. It was quiet because the weather wasn’t spectacular and one of the girls happily chatted with my daughter while I shopped. I was so thankful for their kindness and patience with my little girl. I left with what would become the first of many gorgeous hand-blended batts and rolags I would buy over the years and my daughter left feeling so special. It was an interaction that made an impression on me and one I’ve never forgotten.

As I’m always curious about where my fibers come from, I went on to learn about this farm shop. Theirs is a story rich in history beginning in rural Latvia in the early 1900s and extending all the way to the present at a little place called Bumblebee Acres Farm in Northern Illinois (you can get the full story here). It’s run by Carissa and her four children — Sarah, Samantha, Hailianna, and Joey. Their fibers are as beautiful and wonderful to work with as the individuals in this family and I’ll admit to hoarding their batts and rolags. My absolute favorite treat when shopping in their store is to match one batt with a set of rolags and spin each onto a bobbin and then ply them. It’s just so much fun!

But I digress…

Early this week, I received a special newsletter from the Bees. They were asking for help. This is Sam.

Photo courtesy of Bumblebee Acres Farm

Sam handles much of the farms’ social media accounts and regularly designs knitting patterns to showcase the beautiful yarns offered. I’m also convinced she’s literally one of the nicest people on Earth. Sam also has Type 1 diabetes and is in need of a new insulin pump. Like so many small business owners, this medical necessity isn’t covered by insurance and is very expensive. The “Bees” are asking for help to get Sam this device.

As soon as I read her story, all I could think was, what if this was my daughter? And that was quickly followed by, how can I help?

So how can you help?

  1. You can purchase Sam new “Joyful & Cozy” pattern right here. It’s just $5 and includes 2 cup cozy patterns.
    Photo courtesy of Bumblebee Acres Farm

    All proceeds from this PDF pattern will go toward Sam’s new insulin pump. They would be make great gifts knit up. I also asked about purchasing additional patterns and having them sent to knitting friends as gifts and you can totally do that, too! Just purchase the number of copies you’d like and in the notes section of the check-out, include let the Bees know that you’d like to send the additional copies as gifts and a list the email addresses where you’d like them sent. Easy-peasy! (And don’t forget you can certainly grab lots of fun mini-skeins for this patternin their shop, too, they’re right here — just remember to grab the Squishy DK option in the drop-down menu of each set).

  2. Donate here through Sam’s fundraising page. You fill in the amount, so you can send whatever amount works for your budget — from $1 to the sky’s the limit.
  3. Share Sam’s fundraising page with your own family, friends, & community.
  4. Continue to shop in their wonderful online shop and visit them at shows!
  5. Follow Bumblebee Acres Farm on Facebook,  Instagram, Ravelry, and their new Podcast, Caught in the Wool (hosted by Sam!) to stay up with the latest from the farm.

I will say that I had planned to purchase the pattern as gifts for the ladies in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry group only to find that as soon as I went to make the purchase (I was actually at a volunteering shift when I got the newsletter), I thought to check the group first. It had literally been less than 2 hours and these amazing ladies had already shared the letter, the links, and many had already purchased the pattern and some yarn as well. I purchased patterns for my remaining friends there and made a cash donation in honor of the rest. It’s just one example of how incredible this community is — really & truly!

I know we are all stretched thin this time of year for time and funds alike, but I hope you’ll consider sending Sam and the Bees what support you can — a donation, some social media love and sharing, or even just a kind note, thoughts, or prayers. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you so much for helping support these wonderful people in the fiber arts world!

6 thoughts on “In The Spirit of the Season”

  1. Happy to help as a way of thanking you for you for your blog which I love 💖 It is a reminder that Christmas is a time for giving in many different ways.

  2. Thanks for sharing this with your audience, TKS. This one of the MOST wonderful vendors and nicest of people. I’ve long since purchased the pattern and contributed. They are beyond worthy.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, although it’s dangerous territory for me. I’m on a ‘stash diet’ this month and not allowed to buy any yarn… and Bumblebee Acres has some gorgeous yarns! I’ve made a donation though and now I’m going to go work very hard at forgetting I ever saw their website – at least until January 1st rolls around. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. I just posted the info from the newsletter, but am going to go back and add a link to your post on mine. You know them personally, and that speaks volumes more than my just sharing the post can do. Knitters (and spinners) ROCK! Hopefully, we will get Sam all set before too much longer.

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