People often ask me, "How did you start Atelieh?"
And I have to laugh when I respond.
"It all started with Zac Efron."
It was during the Summer of 2020 when the world (especially Canada) was shut down. I spent my days as most people did: at home watching Netflix. I had been temporarily laid off of work and didn't have much to do, so I had taken up old hobbies-- cross-stitching, paint-by-number (I am no Bob Ross), crocheting, and knitting.
One day I was looking for my next Netflix binge and I came across the new documentary "Down to Earth with Zac Efron." Now, I have never seen High School Musical; I am not a Zac Efron fan by any stretch. But I love documentaries and others had mentioned that it was worth watching, so I put it on and picked up my crocheting. I did my usual "kind-of-pay-attention-and-crochet" until I got to episode 7. This episode was about plastic litter in London.
Suddenly a thought hit me and I set down my crocheting and stared at it.
"What is the yarn I'm using made of?"
I had just assumed that yarn = wool or cotton. I checked the label of what I was using and read acrylic.
"What is acrylic?"
I paused the show and Googled it.
"Acrylic yarn is a synthetic, man-made material made from plastic."
I put my phone down and stared at the fibres on my lap. All of the cute creations and blankets I had made in the past... was made from plastic. My heart sank. But I picked up my phone again and typed Wool Yarn.
I had many results from the main craft stores, but SO many of them were acrylic blends. I changed my search to Canadian wool yarn.
And let me tell you, I was thrilled to find Upper Canada Fibreshed as a resource on where to buy local, natural yarns.
Yes! Success! I could keep crocheting guilt-free!
Until I saw the price.
Anywhere from $20-$35 for one skein (ball) of yarn. To compare, Acrylic yarn starts at $3-$7 per skein.
My heart sank again.
I walked into my bedroom where my husband was and said, "Oh my gosh. There's got to be a better way to crochet with local, Canadian wool...."
And so Atelieh was born.
My goal with Atelieh from the start has been to design projects and sell them, making money to then buy more wool and support local farmers.
I hope that others will join me on this journey to lessen the amount of acrylic yarn in our water sources and landfills.