Contest: Product Review: Skein of hand-dyed wool: Purchased from 'The Gentle Soul' at the Homesteaders Co-op.

in homesteaderscoop •  4 months ago  (edited)

In this wondrous world.
A myriad of stunning plant species.
Give their subtle hues to my hand-dyed yarns.

~The Gentle Soul.


In my article Find and Review a Homesteader's Shop. Homegrown and Handmade Dried Flower Arrangements by Idyllwild, I introduced you to the Homesteaders Co-op, here at Steemit as well as one of the Vendors at the Co-op, Idyllwild and her homegrown and handcrafted dried flower arrangements.

The Homesteaders Coop Store.

The Homesteaders Co-op is a community marketplace where homesteaders around the world offer their handmade and sustainable goods in exchange for USD, STEEM and SBD. Homesteaders Co-op.

In this way, the Homesteaders Co-op Store is bridging the gap between conventional money and an alternative economy where both the producer and the consumer of goods, hold economic sway. Homesteaders Co-op.


The Homesteaders Co-op website now has:

  • 22 vendors from all over the world: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and the United States. Handmade Heart Art.
  • Offering just under 140 different products that include honey, plants and seeds, eBooks on raising chickens and worm farming, beer bottle candles, floral art sculptures and wood decor, dreamcatchers and wreaths, organic herbs, tinctures and oils, vegan soaps, creams and salves, hand-dyed cotton and wool yarns, clothing, sea glass and silver jewelry, wallets and accessories, handmade paper sheets and tags, journals and diaries, colouring books and stickers. Handmade Heart Art.
To find out more about the Homesteaders Co-op and how you can become a vendor or support the current vendors read @homesteaderscoop's Introductory Article: Supporting a Steem Community Economy: Intention, values and ethics in our products.


Product Review after Shopping at the Homesteaders Co-op.

And now I'd like to present a Product Review of another product on the Homesteaders Co-op for the Contest: Product Review after Shopping at the Homesteaders Co-op.

The Vendor: The Gentle Soul.

The Gentle Soul's online store at the Homesteaders Co-op is so beautifully designed. The header image instantly shows you the variety of plants and the mordants that are used to give their natural colouring to different textiles: Wool yarns and other fabrics.


The Product Page: A skein of Hand-dyed Wool Yarn.

Each skein is 137 yards in length and ideal for number 10 and 11 knitting needles or 6mm to 8mm. The Gentle Soul: Overview.


The Product: A skein of Hand-dyed Wool Yarn.

The soft green tones of The Gentle Soul's wool were created by dyeing the wool yarn with black hollyhock flowers which were harvested from a farm in Washington. The Gentle Soul: Overview.


The uniqueness of natural dyes.

Natural colors derived from organic dyes are one of a kind and can have slight variations in each skein. The Gentle Soul: Overview.

From just one plant, many shades can be possible. Hollyhock produces various shades of greens as well as blues. These three variations of hollyhock dye were achieved by using different 'fixatives' after the yarn had been dyed such as vinegar (acidic) and soda ash (alkaline). The Gentle Soul: Overview.


My purchasing experience.

Details of purchased a skein of Hand-dyed Wool Yarn produced by The Gentle Soul.

  • January 13, 2019: I created a Homesteaders Co-op Account and placed my order for one skein of soft green Hand Dyed Wool Yarn dyed with Hollyhock.
  • January 13, 2019: I immediately received a Welcome email giving me all the details of how to access my account area in order to view my order.
  • January 13, 2019: I received a Notification email that my order had been received and was on-hold until my payment had been confirmed. I was thanked for my order and given the details of what I had ordered: Hand Dyed Wool Yarn - Hollyhock and the details of the Vendor: The Gentle Soul with the order number and date of the order (January 13, 2019.)
  • January 15, 2019: I received a Notification email that my payment had been confirmed and that my order was now being processed.
  • January 19, 2019: I received a Notification email that a note had been added to my order: Providing the Shipping provider: USPS International First Class, the Shipping number and the Shipped date. (January 15, 2019.)
  • January 19, 2019: I received a Notification email that my Homesteaders Co-op order had been marked complete on the Homesteaders Co-op side.
All the details of my order were included with every Notification email. The emails were always simple and clear to read with all the essential details of the order.

The Package.

When I first saw the package, I wondered what it was. Before opening it, I looked to see who the sender was and suddenly realized it was from Ann, The Gentle Soul. I was so excited. My Hand Dyed Wool Yarn had arrived in just under two weeks. Such an AMAZINGLY fast service.


The Hand Dyed Wool Yarn.

I quickly opened the package to find that my Hand Dyed Wool Yarn had travelled all the way across the Pacific Ocean from Oregon in the United States to Sydney in Australia, completely unscathed.

I delighted in the colour of the wool yarn. It was a really close match to the photographs displayed on The Gentle Soul's store on the Homesteaders Co-op. A soft and muted green: But even more magical than the photographs because unlike commercially dyed wool yarns with their consistent colour batches, this wool had different nuances of soft muted green. The wool was also beautifully bound with natural jute and completed with an elegant signature card.


Unraveling the Hand Dyed Wool Yarn.

Unlike other wools that can sometimes be course or slightly prickly, this wool felt so soft and the almost meditative action of unwinding it to form a ball of wool was most enjoyable.



I didn't have a chair with a back to hold the skein in place while I rolled the wool into a ball. And it wasn't long before the wool inevitably became quite tangled.

I was reminded of a book I had read shortly after coming to Sydney: Reshad Feild's The Last Barrier.

Somewhere in his travels, he encounters a young woman who is completely and utterly mesmerized by untangling a skein of wool. I can hardly remember anything else in the book ~ Yet that one image really stands out. Strange how images come back to you like that.


Although it was enjoyable weaving in and out of the yarn, eventually, unlike the young woman in Reshad's story, I cut off the small ball that had already formed ~ And started knitting.

I haven't knitted anything for a very long time and so before plunging into making The Hat, I made this small sample of 21 stitches using 7 mm needles. Like riding a bicycle, once you've mastered the wobbles of your childhood, it all comes back quite naturally.


Wool and Feathers.

I loved the shape and the lines the wool was forming. The creative photographer wanted to play now and placed some wild duck feathers onto the wool.


And keep playing.

If there hadn't been a deadline for this Contest, I would have braved what must have been one of the hottest days we've had so far this summer and found some flowers to add to this arrangement.


And playing.

Completely bewitched by the way the wool was unwinding now so gracefully.


Until finally the wool has been wound up into a very solid ball



There are a number of reasons why I decided to buy a skein of The Gentle Soul's Hand Dyed Wool Yarn. One of them being that I have a weakness for pale muted greens.

Another reason was that because I love to spend time out-of-doors in winter, I need some really warm accessories so I won't get too cold this winter. And after looking at hand-knitted natural wool hats at our local Organic Farmers' Market last winter ~ And the price tags on them ~ I'd already decided that I needed to buy some wool and knit my own hat and leg warmers.

The Gentle Soul sources sustainable fibers as much as possible and only uses the best quality materials in her products. Her Hand-dyed Wool Yarns are super soft and 100% wool.

The natural softness of wool fiber combined with a heavier weight makes this yarn a wonderful fiber for knitting wool garments and accessories. The Gentle Soul: Overview.
This is my little sample close up now. Have to admit I'm feeling rather proud of it right now. However now that I've shown it to you, I'll undo it and start knitting The Hat.


Hanging paper baskets/containers.

And while I've been unravelling wool, I've been visited by a few other ideas for what to do with this wool.

One of the products I've been making in preparation for stocking my own store on the Homesteaders Co-op is a range of small baskets/containers made of Japanese Rice papers embedded with natural elements.

I'd already make this small container which could be used to hold feathers or pencils or a dried flower arrangement. But it still needed 'something.'

The colour of the wool yarn was a perfect match for the pale green lichens embedded into the Rice Paper. And the holder can now double as a hanging basket.


Same basket. Different angle.

A nice surprise for anyone who can tell me what recycled object was used to make the frame/structure of this basket.


Going back to the reasons why I wanted to purchase a skein of The Gentle Soul's Hand Dyed Wool Yarn. The main reason was to verify that it was possible to receive a package from an individual in the United States to Australia.

My experience has affirmed that it IS possible to receive mailed products, intact, through international post, in a relatively short time frame. And as a 'would-be' Vendor the prospect of me sending small objects through international post, isn't nearly as intimidating now as it had been.

Homesteaders Co-op Fundition.

The Homesteaders Co-op was given birth to through the dedication, talent and energy of Idyllwild and @sagescrub

Vendors and others in the Steemit community can now support the development of this worthwhile and much-needed community project through Fundition. Details can be found at Communities, Onboarding and Gift Economy: Fundition Proposal for Homesteaders Co-op.

This article has been presented for the Contest:
Product Review Product Review after Shopping at the Homesteaders Co-op.
Conducted by @sagescrub

Photography: ©Alison Lee Cousland.
As well as @idyllwild and @sagescrub

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I really enjoyed reading this review! I was already interested in checking out @homesteaderscoop and even more so now! The yarn you chose is beautiful, I can tell how soft it is! Your patch of knit work is lovely too. I would love for you to share your hat with the @needleworkmonday community for #needleworkmonday! You can even share with us as you work on it.

I would love to support the work of this coop and eventually maybe even sell my own handmade crocheted items. It’s just finding the time to set things up and get things made. I’ll have to browse the site to see if there are things I can purchase.

Thank you for this review and making us aware of the friendly and professional service they offer :)


Thanks so much @crosheille.

I unraveled the sample and I'm starting to re-knit the wool into my hat now. I already had some multicoloured yarns and I'm combining the two. I'm a VERY slow knitter but I'd love to share the progression of my hat with the @needleworkmonday community for #needleworkmonday.

I'm setting up my own store at the Homesteaders Co-op at the moment and hope to have something there towards the end of this week now.

I don't crochet but I imagine The Gentle Soul's wools would be just as lovely to crochet with. Her wools are dyed in a variety of natural shades and maybe you would find something at her store that would suit what you are looking for. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎



You are so welcome!

You would fit in just fine with the @needleworkmonday community. We love watching and sharing the process of our works coming to life. We actually encourage it ;D
This would be a great way to advertise what you are selling in your shop as well!! I am so excited for you that you are close to opening up your shop! How many items are you going to start with? I was wondering what was a good starting number.

Oh yes I would love to get my hands on some of her hand dyed wool. I need more STEEM! 😩 Hopefully when I open my shop it does well and I can start to support other vendors with purchases!

My husband and I both love trying new soaps so I think my first purchase will be from Sunscape’s soap shop ;D

Your review post is so thorough, Ally! I definitely get a good feel about buying experience from Homesteaders Coop Store since you detailed everything so nicely and professionally.
And I'm glad that you're happy with the whole experience and the products. The photos that you take are so well done, as always, even if you took them just for review XD.


The whole buying experience was so smooth @scrawly. It's great to have the option of using USD as well as Steem and SBD. It's not possible for all the Vendors to send their products by International Post so I was really happy that Idyllwild can do that.

There aren't many Aussie Vendors at the HSCO yet, but it's very early days. I've been planting 'seeds' at our local organic farmers market, as it's such a great opportunity for artisans working in eco-friendly ways and anyone already living and producing 'on the land.'

I'm really pleased you like the images too. Was fun to arrange the wool into 'water like streams.' ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


Oh this is a fantastic thing! I am going to check these guys out right now! Thanks for letting me know about them! :)

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You will be made to feel most welcome If you have an interest in homesteading or need to know anything about it, the Homesteaders Co-op is a wonderful group of people brought together by @sagescrub to share their knowledge, produce and some really wonderful 'yarns.'

A good article to read is @homesteaderscoop's Introductory Article: Supporting a Steem Community Economy: Intention, values and ethics in our products.

Are you interested in becoming a Vendor? I'm not actually a Vendor yet, but hope to be very soon now. But if you have any questions feel free to ask. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎



I will check them out. Not a vendor, no. I needle felt so am always interested in wool, etc. I wonder if @mariannewest knows about the homesteaders co-op. She is into sustainable living.

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I'm not sure if Marianne knows about the Co-op. I've seen her chickens and know she's very supportive of sustainable living. I'll let her know. Or if you are chatting, feel free to mention the Co-op to her. Actually she might like to interview @sagescrub. He's been on a few radio shows lately, talking about the HSCO. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


@allyinspirit that is a great idea! I have to contact him.

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Wonderful. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


I know about it and I think your felt products would be a great fit!

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What a wonderful review! I had only just recently checked out the co-op page, but it is absolutely stunning. Everyone on there has done a fabulous job of marketing their goods so beautifully. I need to keep checking back on there to see if there are things I would enjoy purchasing , as well. Happy knitting to you!


Thanks so much @plantstoplanks. There are new vendors and products arriving at the Co-op all the time now. Have you seen @sunscape's soaps? Really lovely.

I unraveled the sample and I'm starting to knit my hat now ~ Don't get much of a chance to knit, but I take it with me when I catch a train or bus and sometimes at night just before going to bed ~ A great way to wind down from being online.

I'm setting my own store up at the moment ~ Hope it will be ready this week now. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎



Hhhmm, not sure if I checked out @sunscape's shop, but thank you for the suggestion! Perhaps I'll jump back over there today to look around some more! I have lots of birthdays in the family right now, so I might be able to find a few gifts. I can't wait to see your store when you get it up!

I so want to start knitting again!!! Loved your description and how detailed you were.

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Thanks so much Marianne. I've been wanting to knit some very basic things, just to keep warm in winter ~ Easy things like scarves and knee warmers. I've started knitting my hat now. Beautiful wool to knit with ~ So soft. When the time is right for you, I'd highly recommend The Gentle Soul's wool. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


What a wonderfully detailed write up @allyinspirit!

I have not knit in years either, but seeing this and the colours of the beautiful yarn tempts me.... but alas, I won't go there, lol!

Really beautiful, and your homemade basket is just as delightful, and you are right, the yarn colour suits it perfectly!

Thanks for providing such a finely detailed report of @homesteaderscoop and your personal experience with it.


Thanks so very much Heather.

The wool was so beautifully soft to be knitting with. I have a friend who I never would have picked for being a 'knitter' but she knits before going to bed as part of her meditative wind down for the day routine.

I wonder where I'll find the time to actually knit enough to actually finish something. But maybe if I do a little as part of my meditative wind down for the day routine too, I may produce a hat in a few weeks. I was going to say a year, but I'd love to actually finish something with this wool now.

I'm so pleased you like the little hanging basket. I've started making my wands now ~ May share the first one today or tomorrow or the next day ~ I haven't used Idyllwilds' wool in the first one but I will in the next one.

Have you set up your store yet? That's my next step now. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎



I have been setting up my store, but it is all in draft... still being cautious about shipping, but I guess I just need to do it... hopefully very soon! (taking photos is the worst part right now too, the pictures turn out blurry and I can't tell until I publish them.... the old eyes ain't what they used to be, lol)


I guess if you work out your pricing for now, it can always be changed if you need to increase or decrease it.

Maybe you can use the Steemit editor to see what your images look like before you load them up to the HSCO website. I use the Steemit editor a lot to see what my images look like before posting them to nTopaz now for example.

The photographs I've seen before of your purses looked beautiful and they would be something you could photograph in different ways ~ Different angles and close-ups. Again, I imagine you'll be able to change all this on the website if you need to.

I HAVE to get my application in and get started now. I've finally finished my first wand ~ So it's time. Looking forward to seeing your store now Heather. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

Thanks so much for showing this to me as well @allyinspirit (as well as the amazing OZ artist you linked on my post)

I am definitely going to get some seeds from here for Spring planting and so many wonderful things. I am doing over a little out building this Spring and I am want to design wallpaper/fabric etc for it, so being able to get some things 'locally' (i.e. our Steemit community) that are hand-made will be wonderful.

I love our steemit village!


I'm so pleased that you'll be able to buy your seeds from the Homesteaders Co-op Donna. Such a great way to be able to get them now.

If you have a look at The Gentle Soul's store she also dyes fabrics. If you contact her she may be able to custom design something for you.

I find it so exciting that after all this time we can now use our Steemit currency to actually purchase products with. I have a feeling that the HSCO will become such a popular place for people to shop for so many items. Yes, it's like our own little village isn't it?

So pleased you liked the article on Wendy Whiteley too. I took a friend to her garden last week-end. I was expecting it to be a tad browned-off after all our summer heat but the garden has been created in such a way that's it's like a green tropical oasis. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


Woohoo! Glad you were able to get the product and get up a review in time!

About time we get to judging :) I imagine we'll have a decision and results by the end of the week.


Thanks so much Nate. Two weeks, from the time of ordering to receiving an international package like this is quite out of the ordinary. Or at least it strikes me as such when I've waited up to 8 weeks for books I've ordered online to arrive.

Going through the process was really necessary for me, before setting up my own store with the Homesteaders Co-op. Having seen how flawless the entire process was has given me the extra confidence that I need to do that.

When I was painting on silk there were galleries in the US that were interested in having my work. But I found the idea of sending work that I valued through the post to be really daunting. I guess that's continued to be one of my internal 'blocks.' So having gone through the process like this has been such a major personal breakthrough for me.

And I love everything about Idyllwild's products and how she has presented them on her own HSCO store. Great to have a 'role model' like that.

I think in a contest like this, regardless of outcomes, we are ALL winners. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎


great review, awesome that you got it in 2 weeks. I hope the Homesteaders Co-op continues to grow, its fantastic for steem


Thanks so much @Paulag. I wasn't expecting to receive the wool yarn quite so soon, so it was a fabulous surprise.

I think it's just the very beginning for the Homesteaders Co-op. I'm sure there are many others like myself who want to purchase products with their Steem/SBD but till now there hasn't been anything that comes up to the superb quality and functionality of @sagescrub's Homesteaders Co-op. It's fantastic for all concerned: Sellers and buyers and the entire Steemit community. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎



there are many many that would like to use the steem/sbd for other stuff they see as value. you are right. I love your pictures by the way


My main interest in cryptocurrency is how it can be used in the direct exchange of products and services. It surprises me, knowing that many people here would dearly love to have such a service, that there really hasn't been one until now.

Before the Homesteaders Co-op was formed, I'd seen someone set up something similar to an eBay for Steemians. It was more a designated Steemit account where people could bid on products ~ Which didn't appeal to me all that much and I'm not sure if it's still around.

But hopefully, the HSCO can be used as a model now for people who have other products they wish to buy and sell. I'm sure it's just the beginning @paulag. ♥︎♥︎⚖️♥︎♥︎

I'm so glad the yarn arrived to you in time for your review! May be it arrived so quickly because it was in an Amazon Prime envelope? Haha.

I understand your concerns about international shipping. I still feel the same nervousness every time I send out an international package. I had a really hard time sending a package to Canada once. It was returned to me twice - once because the post didn't recognize the address and then a second time because they didn't recognize the person's name. Since then, I would triple check the address and name, but in many countries, streets, provinces, and zips are written differently so you just really never know.

Most of my international shipments have gone through without a hitch, so to me it's still worth the few hiccups. As long as you stay in communication with the customer, it will all work out :).

But now let's talk about something lighter, like your review! Wow! I'm so honored. Thank you thank you! I love the different ways you are using the yarn, from knitting to making handles for your gorgeous rice paper basket. It's so cool! I sometimes incorporate yarn into wreaths too and it's so fun to play with it in different ways. I'm so glad that you love the color. It's one of my favorites too because it's so unique and also very surprising that it comes from black hollyhock flowers. Thank you again for sharing your experience of Homesteaders Co-op and of my shop & yarn. I appreciate all the time and energy you devote to supporting artisans and helping our community to grow!

I really look forward to seeing your products on Homesteader's Coop so I can get my hands on one of you creations!