By Katherine Burnett
About a year ago I drove east to Belfast to a delightful yarn shop called Fleece and Harmony. Jennifer and Kim asked me to share my tea experience on their podcast which reaches knitters and yarn lovers all around the world. In so doing, I discovered that knitters and tea lovers are companions!
Fleece and Harmony welcomes many artisans and fans especially in the summer months here. Their sheep are sheared and the wool is spun, dyed and plied to send out around the world. And it is with pleasure that my tea team packages one cup samples of some of our favourite teas to tuck in with the yarns on their journey! Ken, of Fleece and Harmony recently told us that a group is working on the first ever Fiber Festival to be held in September here.
I used to knit a lot in my late teens. It came naturally as my grandmother and mother, when sitting, would pick up their knitting projects and as I think about it, a pot of tea was usually there too.
Just before Christmas I received an email from Donna of Black Mountain Yarn Shop in North Carolina. She and a group of knitters are traveling to PEI in the late summer. She found my business on google and they want to visit my shop. She and her 22 knitter friends travel every year to a destination where they can discover yarns and tea! Of course, when I visited my son in Asheville, NC over the holidays, I told him about the email because I discovered that Black Mountain neighbours Asheville. Off we went and found a delightful shop with ladies sitting around a table knitting together. When I told them who I was, there were exclamations of glee and we hugged as if old friends with a common passion.
It is sweet to know that the Black Mountain gals will meet the Fleece and Harmony gals as well as many other artisans as they tour from tip to tip!
Fleece & Harmony's vibrant, colourful yarns
You can imagine my surprise when digging out some old TeaTime magazines, I found the January/February issue of 2015 (Vol. 12 No. 1) featuring Tea and Yarn Shops of the Northwest (US). I read the article again with a bigger smile, making the connection of my recent visit to Black Mountain!
As of that year, 4 yarn shop owners had turned their establishments into havens for knitters who love tea. Here are a few quotes from the shop owners:
“Knitting and tea just seem to go together…I’m drawn to Aran knitting and Fair Isle knitting and I grew up having tea in china tea cups.”
(Her knitting classes are always accompanied by a cup of tea from a china cup and saucer!)
“Knitting and drinking tea were such Victorian activities…Tea is such a natural fit with knitting…it’s another one of those activities that is warm and cozy…it’s a nice relaxing thing to do.”
“My creative mind starts working.”
“Whenever I would sit down with my friends to knit, we’d always have a pot of tea.”
“I wanted to create a place for everyday tea…our tea isn’t fancy…it’s more ‘let’s have a cuppa’…That fits really nicely with ‘let’s sit down and knit for an hour’.”
I must admit that after reading these articles I really want to start knitting again. Alas, it may not be as easy as it was, since developing some difficulty with arthritic fingers. Those teen years were just yesterday, weren’t they?
Our last blog by Lori was about her passion, reading. Reading and tea are also cozy and warm activities. We’ve shared blogs in the past that convey the joy of reading and writing with the calmness of sipping tea. And Shawny recently shared her love of Chair Yoga and the tea experience that follows.
Synonyms of passion like ardour, enthusiasm and zeal are words that come to mind when I think back to the beginnings of my tea business catering to the home-bound and elderly. It truly was a dream-come-true at that time in my life.
What is your passion? You may have several. Can you think how, in some way, you can enhance your passion with tea? Our tea-m here at the Tea Abbey, in Prince Edward Island, loves to hear back from our readers.
There's a simple Chinese Proverb, Drink tea and make friends!